Thursday, April 10, 2008

Basics: Trash

I have been very curious how they handle the trash here in Kampala. I have one trash can in my apartment, in the kitchen, about the size of an upended mailbox. Alex empties it every day, but what happens after that?

There's a lot of trash in the small field I walk through every day on my way to work, much of it organic in nature--banana peels and the like. Occasionally, someone burns it, as they were doing today. Not an open flame when I walked by; more of a smoldering smoky mass.

Similarly in the back area next door, which belongs to the restaurant downstairs, a pile of trash is occasionally burned. Also there is a marabou stork, carrion eater that it is, that picks through it.

But on Tuesday morning, I finally found out the first part of my question of where the trash goes after it leaves me. An open-bed truck was driving up the dirt road that runs in front of my house. Three men on the truck were piling up black plastic trash bags, about the size of a kitchen trash bag, that had been placed outside each residence. Near as I could tell, there was one bag per residence. Certainly a lot less than I see at home, which makes sense, since there's not a lot of prepackaged food around here.

What happens to the after the truck takes it away, I really couldn't tell you. I'm mighty curious, though.

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