Plastic Kingdom: art exhibition questions Cambodia’s rampant waste problem

An new art exhibition in Phnom Penh featuring works by Cambodian and foreign artists will raise questions about plastic use and recycling, through woodcarvings, illustrations and even a motorbike.

On first arriving in Cambodia’s ever-expanding capital Phnom Penh, one is struck by the rubbish lying on the sides of the street; order noodle soup to go, and it comes in a plastic bowl with a plastic spoon – in a plastic bag. In a country seemingly in love with plastic, the only people recycling waste are the echchay – collectors that pass by rubbish heaps to pick up items for recycling, including plastic, glass, metals and anything else salvageable.

Miguel Jeronimo, a Portuguese photographer based in Phnom Penh, finds himself drawn to photographing these people, and this attraction is the inspiration behind the new exhibition he is curating, titled Plastic Kingdom – different views on waste and ecology in Cambodia.

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