Quirky Portraits of People and Their Dustbins Call Attention to Singapore Landfill

Melissa Breyer
Living / Culture
April 12, 2012

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Republic of Pulau Semakau

credit: Zinkie Aw

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After exhausting the landfill capacity on mainland Singapore, the city-state turned to the offshore island of Pulau Semakau in 1999 to create a landfill which can hold up to 63 million cubic meters of rubbish.

Out of sight, out of mind?

The incinerated rubbish that fills the Semaku Landfill may be hidden, but if photographer Zinkie Aw has her way, people will be paying more attention to the trash that eventually ends up there.

With her series "Republic of Pulau Semakau," Aw has created an amusing and poignant collection of portraits of people with their trash.

“It has never occurred to us where all these rubbish end up in land-scarce and over-populated Singapore,” say Aw.

“Hopefully these dustbins will form a reality check for all of us.”