This year’s World Press Photo winners were announced at a ceremony in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
In the same category of the Environment in the singles, the first place was awarded to the South African photojournalist Brent Stirton, with a picture of the training in Zimbabwe of a woman from the Akashinga, a women’s group that fights against illegal hunting in natural reserves.
The second place was for US photojournalist Wally Skalij from the Los Angeles Times, with the picture of two horses tied to a post and rescued from the flames of a violent fire that struck California, US, in November.
The image by Mário Cruz depicts a child who makes a living collecting material for recycling, lying on a mattress that is surrounded by rubbish floating on the River Pasig, which was declared biologically dead as long ago as the 1990s.
For Cruz, this picture “is an appeal that deserves a rapid reaction.”
“We see images of beaches with rubbish in the sand and we feel disturbed, but these people in Manila [the capital of the Philippines] have been surrounded by rubbish every day, for many years now, and this deserves our rapid reaction,” Cruz said.
The inhabitants of those communities tried unsuccessfully to move to the capital of the Philippines and eventually created illegal buildings by the river, where they now live without sanitation, and many of them live from the recycled rubbish that is thrown away.
This award-winning picture is part of Cruz’s work that he developed in the Philippines, named “Living Among What’s Left Behind”, which gathers pictures that he took for a month when he visited the communities.
This is the second time that the 31-year-old photojournalist has been awarded at the World Press Photo.