We need to sort out our dysfunctional trash collection

By Thu Trang    November 14, 2023 | 04:54 pm PT
We need to sort out our dysfunctional trash collection
A worker gathers garbage in Hanoi, July 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
I sort my trash but scrap collectors mess it all up, while my neighbors just conveniently throw their trash into my bins.

My family regularly separates trash before throwing it away, though it has not been made mandatory. I never put recyclables in other household waste bags. I store them in a separate bag, waiting until there are a lot of them before giving them to the scrap collecting ladies.

But the same people who do this job always dig through the household waste bags that I leave at my front door, tearing them apart and scattering them all around.

They dig through the trash to find plastic bottles and plastic bags, even though they will never find any (because I have sorted them in advance).

I thought it would happen just once or twice, but almost every day someone comes to rummage through my trash. So, every morning I wake up and see my front door looks like a battlefield with garbage scattered all over.

I'm also curious about the trash collection hours. Honestly, I don't know what time the environment company collects trash. Sometimes it's early in the morning, sometimes it's mid-afternoon. Therefore, if we don't have trash bags ready the night before, we may miss the collection team the next morning and have to store trash until the next day. But as I leave by trash bag ready the night before, I've encountered trouble with people picking up trash as mentioned above.

My second problem involves installing bins to separate the trash. I once bought nice ones and put them in front of my house and they were immediately stolen.

I replaced them with worse-looking bins, and they were not taken away, but they became the trash collection point for my neighbors, or people from all over.

One day, I saw people carrying a tattered cotton blanket or a huge bunch of tree branches and throwing them in the garbage area in front of my house. Of course, the sanitation workers were not willing to collect such trash, so my family had to give them a little money to help take them away.

My family is aware of the importance of sorting our trash, but our efforts have been returned with unnecessary troubles.

The authorities are planning to make people to sort trash, but it won't be a simple one-step thing. A lot of other matters of public awareness need to be fixed first.

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