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An Indian rag picker collects plastic bags at an industrial area on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. The U.N. says government bans on plastic can be effective in cutting back on waste but poor planning and follow-through have left many such bans ineffective. (Photo by Channi Anand/AP Photo)

An Indian rag picker collects plastic bags at an industrial area on the outskirts of Jammu, India, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. The U.N. says government bans on plastic can be effective in cutting back on waste but poor planning and follow-through have left many such bans ineffective. (Photo by Channi Anand/AP Photo)
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08 Jun 2018 00:01:00
A woman wearing a mask walk in a street in a Yonghegong Lama temple compound seen shrouded in smog in Beijing, China, 30 November 2015. Beijing issued an orange alert for heavy smog 30 November, the highest level this year. Authorities in the Chinese capital warned of 'severe pollution' and advised the capital's 20 million inhabitants to stay indoors. (Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA)

A woman wearing a mask walk in a street in a Yonghegong Lama temple compound seen shrouded in smog in Beijing, China, 30 November 2015. Beijing issued an orange alert for heavy smog 30 November, the highest level this year. Authorities in the Chinese capital warned of 'severe pollution' and advised the capital's 20 million inhabitants to stay indoors. (Photo by How Hwee Young/EPA)
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02 Dec 2015 08:01:00
An employee sorts waste at the Wecycler recycling  centre in Ebutte Meta district in Lagos, Nigeria July 28, 2016. (Photo by Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)

An employee sorts waste at the Wecycler recycling centre in Ebutte Meta district in Lagos, Nigeria July 28, 2016. (Photo by Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters)
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29 Jul 2016 12:03:00
Children stand in a boat at the banks of the polluted Yamuna River during a dust haze as they wait to give a ride to worshippers in New Delhi during World Environment Day June 5, 2010. (Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters)

Children stand in a boat at the banks of the polluted Yamuna River during a dust haze as they wait to give a ride to worshippers in New Delhi during World Environment Day June 5, 2010. (Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters)
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10 Oct 2014 12:50:00
Fishermen row a boat in the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei, Anhui province, June 19, 2009. The country has invested 51 billion yuan ($7.4 billion) towards the construction of 2,712 projects for the treatment of eight rivers and lakes including Huaihe River, Haihe River, Liaohe River, Chaohu Lake, Dianchi Lake, Songhua River, the Three Gorges region of the Yangtze River and its upstream area, Xinhua News Agency reported. (Photo by Jianan Yu/Reuters)

Growing cities, overuse of fertilizers and factory wastewater have degraded China's water supplies to the extent that half the nation's rivers and lakes are severely polluted. China aims to spend $850 billion to improve filthy water supplies over the next decade, but even such huge outlays may do little to reverse damage caused by decades of pollution and overuse in Beijing's push for rapid economic growth. Photo: Fishermen row a boat in the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei, Anhui province, June 19, 2009. (Photo by Jianan Yu/Reuters)
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03 Aug 2014 08:01:00
In this November 18, 2014 photo, Murshida, 12, sits on the lap of her mother Marjina as the train leaves for their village in West Bengal, at a railway station in New Delhi, India. Six months ago, Marjina stepped off a train in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye. (Photo by Altaf Qadri/AP Photo)

In this November 18, 2014 photo, Murshida, 12, sits on the lap of her mother Marjina as the train leaves for their village in West Bengal, at a railway station in New Delhi, India. Six months ago, Marjina stepped off a train in New Delhi with her two children, hoping to find a better life after her husband abandoned them without so much as a goodbye. The family spent their days at a landfill picking through other people’s garbage to find salvageable bits to resell or recycle. After six months of poverty, illness and shame, they returned to that train station in New Delhi, headed back to an uncertain future to their hometown in West Bengal. (Photo by Altaf Qadri/AP Photo)
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09 Dec 2014 09:47:00
“The sustainable development goals cannot be met unless waste management is addressed as a priority”, says UK waste management charity Waste Aid. “E-waste is one of the fastest growing categories of the 7-10bn tonnes of waste produced globally every year”, adds director Mike Webster. “In our view, decent waste management is a basic right and we want governments around the world take this issue much more seriously – in 2012 only 0.2% of international aid went on improving solid waste management – it’s just not enough”. (Photo by Kai Loeffelbein/laif Agentur)

Sustainable development goal target 12.5 is to reduce waste. But with a planet increasingly dependent on technology, is that even possible? As of today, over 30m tonnes of electronic waste has been thrown out so far this year, according to the World Counts. Most e-waste is sent to landfills in Asia and Africa where it is recycled by hand, exposing the people who do it to environmental hazards. Kai Loeffelbein’s photographs of e-waste recycling in Guiyu, southern China show what happens to discarded computers. (Photo by Kai Loeffelbein/laif Agentur)
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19 Oct 2016 12:14:00
Vultures gather to eat waste in Bica beach, on the banks of the Guanabara Bay, with the Sugar Loaf mountain in background, 500 days ahead the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro March 24, 2015. (Photo by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)

Vultures gather to eat waste in Bica beach, on the banks of the Guanabara Bay, with the Sugar Loaf mountain in background, 500 days ahead the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro March 24, 2015. As part of its Olympic bid, Rio promised to clean up 80 percent of the bay for the games. But local government officials have already admitted that a cleanup by 2016 is not achievable. Despite millions of dollars of investment over the years, the bay still stinks of sewage. Sailors who visited the city for test events complained of a floating sofa and a dead dog in the water. (Photo by Ricardo Moraes/Reuters)
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26 Mar 2015 12:16:00