The Garbage Truck in Sucre

by Stephen Nagy
(Sucre, Bolivia)

Garbage truck

Garbage truck

When I was young in Miami this same type of garbage truck would drive through the neighborhoods and commercial areas as well with guys on the back that would go into the back yards and alleys to empty those standard galvanized cans into a larger one, turning the empty upside down and placing the lid just any where as part of the cities services and man has that changed. Now people have large plastic bins they roll out to the curb and an automated truck comes and grabs it with a big arm and dumps it without getting out of the truck and commercial establishments are mandated to dumpster service at very high costs. I am talking about mostly urban areas and as time went on the "Tony Soprano's" found there was money to be made in garbage and things changed and the average American house hold pays to have the garbage picked up (profit) and the companies make even more by recycling it (more profit). Of course the systems vary from place to place but it is a very corrupt system. Now one pays property taxes which at one time paid for such services but now many cities charge one for water, sewage, and garbage which is ten times more than a Bolivian pays. But from a ground level view and perception, one thing I observed is that here in Sucre people have very little waste to get rid of, a bag or two or at best a five gallon bucket twice a week... Americans, ten times that much. So even though I come from the land of wonder and decadence I find this system here to be very proficient and cost effective. A key factor is how the people contribute on an individual basis. The truck blares on horn as it approaches and the people bring their trash to the street and then to the truck as it moves through the neighborhood. This is a collective effort with absolute results by each household taking responsibility.

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