Located on the edge of the city is a mountain of bright-coloured plastic bags, food scraps, shattered glass and everything else we throw away. Off Le Hong Phong, around 4 km from the picturesque town centre and behind a graveyard, it isn’t an easy find. It just quietly puffs grey smoke into air with a warm whiff of rotting waste, letting the ground soak up streams of slop garbage bags leak out.

Welcome to the Hoi An landfill. You might not find its postcards in giftshops and the approaching roads aren’t signposted with the World Heritage logo. The 9000㎡ dumpsite gathers around 50 tonnes of rubbish daily, collected and driven from hotels, restaurants, cafes and households in Hoi An. Local residents of Cam Ha had to abandon their wells and rely on bottled water, and face higher health risks, because of the issues we don’t get to see.

Among women collecting plastic bags near the peak, I look for the sandy beaches. Trees block my view of the nearby beach but the summit offers a great view, with a little haze of smoke. It has become a few truck-loads taller since I started photographing. The mountain could soon be seen from the beach, as it gets higher to climb everyday.

N.B. There will be an open discussion on this topic at U Cafe on Tuesday 10th July, from 6pm ish.

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