Katumba Badru, examines the use of plastic and the detrimental effects that it has on the environment especially within East Africa. On average, a person uses up to 43kg of plastic annually and according to National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Uganda alone, disposes of approximately 600 tons of Plastics daily, with 51% of the waste left uncollected and ending up in manholes, undeveloped lands, and abandoned storage houses and natural. Badru turns his lens in particular onto Nairobi, Kenya where a law has been introduced banning the use of single-use plastic altogether. Items such as plastic straws, cotton buds and food containers amongst other plastic items, have all been prohibited with the aim of reducing the amount of plastic waste as it taking decades to disintegrate, resulting in microscopic particles being found inside the bodies of fishes, birds and other animals.
“Everyone talks about plastic and its use, at the end of the day, this material can affect us and our creatures. So many people don’t know about the dangers of plastic, so I thought maybe I could start a project on it. I wanted to document how we interact with plastic and how the government reacts to this” explained Badru. Badru’s documentation of people interacting with plastic exposes certain realities that individuals find themselves in and the hazardous risks that this substance poses on one's health. The image of a young boy doing a flip mid-air above a sea bed of plastic, is a raw insight into the improper ways that people dispose of plastic and the negative effects that this has on other people and the environment.
“This was a personal project so I chose to take things easy and not rush anything. At first, I wasn’t doing research and was randomly taking pictures of trash everywhere, but now I ensure that I do proper research before going out to shoot to really strengthen my work” expressed Badru. Research before embarking on any project is extremely key and will help to influence and solidify your images adding more depth and context to your work.
Katumba’s photographic style is one that truly captures the attention of the viewer leading them to see plastic landfills in a whole different light. His technical skills are certainly to be praised as his use of composition, framing, and lighting, all work together to capture some truly magnificent landscape images. His photos possess such a hypnogogic and serene feel that when juxtaposed against the backdrop of such a brutal topic such as climate change, it certainly conveys the beauty of nature and the dangers of man-made substances, such as plastic.
Katumba Badru Sultan is an award-winning Freelance Photojournalist based in Uganda. He enjoys using photography as a medium to answer unanswered questions and call for solutions. Visit his website to view the rest of his work.