Saturday, November 9, 2013

Garbage Rant

This morning I cleared out some junk from my storage room. Old magazines, boxes, kitchen things, rolls of cloth that I never got around to sewing , you name it. The things that were usable I spread out on my front steps for the neighbourhood housemaids to come and choose from. They took almost everything. The real junk I put in the neighbourhood garbage bin... the big ugly metal bins that get emptied every day by municipality workers in orange. The end, right? Wrong.
Twenty minutes after my trip to the bin, I peer out the window and see four men on bicycles rummaging through the bin, pulling out my bags of garbage, ripping them up, and then picking through them. Naturally, I wanted to head down again and scream at them to piss off and leave my trash alone, but then again ... it's Salalah and these things are almost normal.
In Oman we don't really recycle things. Everything gets tossed into the big communal bins. Soon we'll have a garbage problem and the government will have to start thinking seriously about recycling, but until then the only recycling that takes place are the little bins in Shatti that someone decided to put up.
Well, and the little Asian men on their bikes in our neighbourhood and every neighbourhood who spend their days rummaging through bins with a metal pick trying to find empty soft drink cans that they crush with their feet then toss in a bag attached to their bike. Evidently they take it to the factory and get 1 or 2 Rials per sack of crushed tins. To them, it must be worth it.
But seriously, it's so annoying to not be able to throw out any trash without having it picked through by another person. They leave the trash spread around the bin for the world to see. I make a point of never throwing out anything personal (letter, photos, bank statements, anything....) without shredding them first. It's just not worth it.
Le fin.


  1. I usually find these posts to be really interesting, open and informative and I look forward to reading them - thank you Nadia. However this week I was disappointed......I'm not sure that the 'little Asian men' mentioned above really WANT to pick through rubbish. I think they do it because they are totally skint and don't have many options. If we lived in a fair and just world then these men would either be paid handsomely for the work they do, or they would stay in their own countries, with their families, where they would be able to find work to support themselves. Although it maybe 'annoying' or embarrassing to have your rubbish strewn around the floor I think we should remember why people are picking through our leftovers in the first instance.

  2. In the U.S. there is a federal law against picking through garbage because of people's sensitive information.

    However, there are homeless people who collect cans as well. It doesn't really bother me because you must people really desperate to college trash to live.

  3. With respect, come on. They do this because they're desperately poor. A bit of understanding wouldn't go amiss.

  4. I collect all my cans and give them to the wee Indian chap to save him having to go through the bins .

  5. I give my cans to the housemaid who re-sells them. And my empty water bottles to a poort family in the mountains who use them to distribute fresh milk everyday

    1. The very milk of human kindness

  6. Hi Nadia,
    I agree with you on many points but at the same time, as the first comment says, they are fellow human beings. They don't steal, they don't rob you off, or cheating. Instead, doing indecent things for decent living. What situation dictates them back home we don't know, so they resort to this sort of scavenging the garbage bearing the rotten stink for few pennies.
    God bless them too with what we are blessed with.
    They save the environments by helping in recycling.
    May I request you to watch "Home 2009"? You would not rant in this flavor.
    Yeah, I do understand your worries and embarrassments. but, for them, your photos, bank statements, letters or whatever the rubbish, is totally meaningless. than the recyclable cans and plastics.
    Netizen, Salalah.

  7. Wow what a hard life you have. I can't believe I've just read this tripe. you sound like a spoilt brat. Spend one day in those 'Asian men's' shoes and you'll soon change your views. get a grip and be thankful to Allah that you have a roof over your head and you don't have to rummage through rubbish all day, like many people around the world have to do. Sarah J