Living Among What’s Left Behind is the photographic project of the photojournalist Mário Cruz, who spent 1 month on the margins of Manila’s river Pasig, documenting its reality.

The Philippine river was declared biologically dead in the 1990’s due to a combination of industrial pollution and waste dumped by communities that don’t have sanitation infrastructures, representing an enormous social and ecological warning for the world.

Pasig was considered one of the 20 most polluted rivers in the world and it’s the source of 63,700 tons of plastic that is deposited into the ocean each year. Although efforts are being made to clean up the river, in some parts waste is still so dense that is possible to walk on top of the garbage.

On his journey, Mário learned the reality of people living on the river margins, on sheds under the multiple highway bridges, collecting garbage and selling it for a living.

The book was meant to confront people with this reality, to create awareness, and to lead them into action. It portrays this reality from an individual’s perception, showing how small bits of trash left behind by each person led to a catastrophic situation for a whole society, whose irresponsible and unsustainable behaviors resulted in a public health issue for future generations throughout the entire planet.

We felt obligated to do more than just layout the story during its design process. However, to produce a book without creating more waste was one of the biggest challenges.
Instead of following into conventional printing production processes, we chose to develop an object that represents the roughness and aggression of this reality and, simultaneously, focus on a more positive and solution-sided approach.

☺︎ This project was designed as part of studio Degrau with the talented: João Castro, Raquel Rei e Tiago Campeã ☺︎
☺︎ Thank you to Daniel Pereira for his precious help with the map. ☺︎