Rubbish collection in Jakarta

Remember the poor - it costs nothing

> Mark Twain

Some mornings as I leave for the office, I bump into our local garbage collector, an old guy who physically has to drag the rubbish cart – I think it’s called a gerobak sampah - behind him.

Now I ain’t sure what he must have done in a past life or something, but this dude must really have the most demeaning and soul-crushing job imaginable (next to being an accountant of course).

But what gets me, is to see this unfortunate blighter picking at the rubbish with a long stick with a hook on the end of it as he tries to get the rubbish out of the cement box (there are no dustbins in Indonesia) and into his cart. He manages this in about 10 minutes compared to the dustmen in England who do the job in about 7 seconds).

And cos a lot of the rubbish ain’t put in plastic bags, it stinks like hell as all the vegetable peelings and kambing innards and whatever else rot under the tropical sun.

But why?

After all, this isn’t about money is it?

I mean, how much would it cost to supply residents with biodegradable bin bags and educate them to separate their rubbish – and even recycle stuff like glass bottles and aluminum beer cans?

I once bought up this issue with the RT (head of our residential area) but he just laughed.

Plastic bags for rubbish? Are you mad?!!!!!

The garbage collector has a terrible job? Noone cares. But shouldn't we?


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