Instagram post by @randyolson Randy Olson

This family sorts plastic under a bridge in Dhaka that is part of an amalgamated informal plastics industry. The communities involved in plastic waste become specialized. Some have contacts with hospitals or casinos to bring plastic waste into the slums for processing. Others sort white bottles, or broken plastic buckets. Some groups have access to vehicles and can take the material to junk shops that store the waste in the same way a wheat farmer stores the grain, waiting for better pricing. And finally there are those with big trucks who take the plastic bales to ports or large local processing companies. Sometimes the plastic doesn’t make it out of the slums. There are businesses that make finished plastic objects like flip flops from the plastic waste being sorted by the business next door. #PlanetorPlastic @thephotosociety @natgeocreative
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These images are part of a multiyear effort at National Geographic to raise awareness about the global plastic waste crisis. Learn what you can do to help. Take Your Pledge: natgeo.com/environment/pledge

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