Friday, May 07, 2010

The trash is everywhere

The thing I probably dislike the most about Pointe-Noire is that there is trash everywhere. I’ll try to take pictures without looking like a gawker out on the streets, but there are piles of trash of varying composition, size, and decay in just about every slightly lower patch of ground. There’s also a lot of dust or fine dirt or sand that seems to creep into the paved streets with alarming speed, but that’s small potatoes compared to the trash problem. I’m not really sure why it’s all over the place, but I assume it is a combination of poor infrastructure for trash pick-up service, a cultural thing wherein people are not historically accustomed to non-biodegradable trash, relatively recent rise of the city (which is related to infrastructure), and habits from colonial legacy. That last one is not my idea, but one a (French) colleague postulated about since he said much of former French colonial Africa is like this when it comes to trash and he thought it was a French thing. I’m not in a position to compare this place to Ghana, Nigeria, or South Africa, but I suspect it could be a colonial thing, not simply a French colonial thing.

I am doing my best to not dislike the trash. Why? Mostly because I loathe trash on the ground. But there’s just so much of it, I’m better off, well, not exactly embracing the trash, but just accepting it as part of the landscape because it isn’t going anywhere. I’m not planning to contribute to the problem, but I really don’t know if the trash cans I diligently use actually end up somewhere appropriately dedicated for their contents.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Trash! This is trash:
Citarum River