Photographs and text by Eduardo Leal
The world consumes one million plastic bags every minute. It is considered by the Guinness World Book of Records as “the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world.”
But the ever-useful plastic bag has become the main source of pollution worldwide. It can be found everywhere on the planet, from the seaside to the bottom of the ocean to the Arctic. Even at the top of the world, on Mount Everest, you can find some plastic residue.
Since most plastic isn’t biodegradable, it will last for hundreds of years in the natural environment.
The problem is even more acute in developing countries, where waste management infrastructures are not properly developed and where the population is used to throwing everything away. This accumulation of plastic bags in the environment has caused the deterioration of the landscape, as well as the destruction of agricultural soils. It is also associated with the death of domestic and wild animals.
Plastic Trees was made to call attention to this problem. The work focuses on the spread of plastic bags on the Bolivian Altiplano, where millions of bags travel with the wind until they get entangled in native bushes, marring the beautiful landscape.
Sadly, these images don’t portray an isolated case—this phenomenon can be seen in many countries all over the world.
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