The man in the picture is collecting plastic bottles embedded in a layer of foam and film plastic trash floating on an open sewer. Look at his feet and you will see foam pads that work like snowshoes to help him not sink through.
Every step he took caused waves. It was disconcerting to watch him move and know that if he fell through he might drown in a sewer.
This picture was taken August 16th 2011 in Port Au Prince Haiti. Officially the city wide recycling of plastic bottles wasn’t in operation. But there were rumors of it coming and bottles could be redeemed at Haiti Recycling in PAP. They are worth approximately five cents per pound.
What makes me see this photo as progress is the man wouldn’t have been out on an open sewer mining for plastic bottles if they were readily available on the streets or in less hazardous locations.
The rest of that plastic trash consists of foam and film plastics. They have no value so they are thrown away and eventually end up in waterways such as this. This location is less than a kilometer from the ocean. The next storm this went into the ocean to poison creatures large and small for hundreds of years to come.
The next two photos were taken up stream from where the man is collecting plastic bottles.