Thursday, February 11, 2010

Undeveloped countries and their garbage habits

As with every developing nation, they will go through their troubles to regulate pollution. Since there are many uneducated people in these nations, they do not know the ramifications of dumping garbage. I have seen this in Peru, Cambodia, India and China. In other developed countries such as Australia, Germany, England, Japan, garbage on the ground is hardly seen. The United States, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. It might be the cause of too many uneducated immigrants or just uneducated people.

When I was in China, I would often see people throw trash on the ground to their hearts' content. I talked to some Chinese friends about this, they replied that sooner or later street cleaners would pick up the garbage. “Besides,” they joked, “it gives the street cleaners something to do and a job.” 

That is true that under-appreciated and underpaid cleaners do eventually pick up the trash. I have seen them at work. Rain or shine, every morning they get up very early, often before 5:00 am, and pick up seemingly tons of trash and sweep the streets. Often before 7:00 am, when most people are just waking up, the streets are already clean. Nevertheless, my friends’ logic is flawed. 

If I were to arbitrarily throw trash on the floor in the home of a friend, it would be a sign of disrespect, and that friend would most deservedly give me a tongue-lashing or even show me the door, and rightfully so. In the same way, throwing trash on public ground is also very disrespectful, because public property is owned by all of society, not just by one person. In addition, littering makes an area look trashy and dirty. Sometimes it can even make a place smelly. A trashy, dirty, and smelly environment is not a harmonious and well-off one.  

I have witnessed the following situation on buses: Some people throw some garbage on the ground, and the ticket seller admonishes them, telling them to open the window and throw the trash outside! So I guess the trash bags that often hang near the doors of the buses are just for decoration.

I have also seen car drivers when driving, open their windows and throw empty cups or garbage outside. Why not just keep the trash in your car and dispose of it later? Most of the time when you buy some food or drink, it comes with a bag. Use the bag to store your garbage until you can properly dispose of it.. I have also seen people open the doors of their restaurants and just throw out dirty napkins. Basically, the thinking is as long as its not in my house, its not my problem.

When you throw something you want onto the ground, you are behaving like a baby or a spoiled brat. That is what a baby does: throw things it doesn’t want onto the ground. Because it doesn’t know any better. Now spoiled brats just do whatever they want, whether they know better or not. When they don’t want something, they just throw it on the ground, and let others do the work. Now I am sure that most of the people who litter in China are neither a baby nor a spoiled brat. So why act like one? 

Recent reports have shown that the waterways of China are extremely polluted. Regardless of the number of people picking up trash, some of the trash will end up in the waterways. The government should attempt to enforce those who just throw trash on the ground to keep it clean. Besides, China is all about having face and impressing foreigners. The World Expo is around the corner. With all the foreigners coming into Shanghai, they should start "teaching" the citizens not to throw trash on the ground.

1 comment:

  1. Singapore is supposed to be pretty clean also. Taiwan also enforced a no gum chewing policy in the trains.