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5.Golden Chapel, Gilded Achievement: Welcome to the Capilla del Rosario
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9.Comanche: A Great Big Film Trailer
10.China’s Village of Real-Life Rapunzels
11.Hop Onboard the Shortest Flight in the World
12.Ancient Ink Reborn: Revitalizing Traditional Inuit Tattooing
13.Grooving With California’s Last Roller Rink Organist
14.How to Run Away and Join the Circus
15.The Country King of Kenya
16.Meet Manhattan’s Turtle Lady
17.No Man’s Land: The Island Where Women Rule
18.Shalom Japan: Japanese and Jewish Cuisines Merge at this Brooklyn Restaurant
19.For 27-Time Hopi High Cross-Country Champs, Running Is Tradition
20.The Man of a Million Voices
21.House on the Rock Could Be the Oddest Place in the World
22.The Clinician Who Makes House Calls for the Homeless
23.The Most Beautiful Fruits and Vegetables You’ve Never Seen
24.How This Women's Biker Club is Helping Babies in Need
25.Miami: Matcha Pastelito
What would our world look like without plastic? From life-saving medical devices to computers to Tupperware, it’s changed the way we live, work and understand the world around us. But the same wonder material that has revolutionized so much is choking our oceans. It’s estimated that, every minute, an entire garbage truck worth of plastic hits our oceans. Otherwise put, 8 million tons of once-useful items find their way to global waters each year. There, over time, they break into tiny pieces called “microplastics,” which end up consumed by marine life.
For David Katz, fighting plastic pollution should start long before a soda bottle hits the tide. What’s more, he believes the very plastic waste that litters our shores and seas is anything but waste. In 2014, David launched the Plastic Bank, “a global network of micro-recycling markets that empower the poor to transcend poverty by cleaning the environment,” according to its website. The organization currently operates in Haiti, the Philippines, Indonesia and Brazil, and works like this: community members collect plastic waste (much of it post-consumer products like milk containers, detergent bottles and plastic bags) and bring it to Plastic Bank centers where it’s weighed and exchanged for cash. In Haiti, for example, more than 2,000 collectors have recovered around 7-million pounds of plastic since the organization arrived in 2015.
What was once considered waste can now be sold to major brands like Marks and Spencer and Henkle, who will use it to package and distribute their products in a more sustainable manner. As David Katz puts it, this “social plastic” is “empowering and precious”—something that bonds collectors in places like the Philippines and Haiti to brands and consumers around the world.
This is the second story in our latest series, “The Brave,” all about the incredible people protecting our Great Big Planet.
behind the scenes
Port-au-Prince, HaitiFull Map
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