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.