Signs of revival in "rubbish action"

IssueSeptember - November 2003

After being massively disrupted by the war, Iraqi society shows some signs of recovery, with volunteers cleaning the streets and collecting rubbish in Baghdad.

After realising that neither the city service, nor the US administration, would do it, a group of young volunteers decided to remove the rubbish piled up in the streets themselves.

The amount of rubbish has dramatically grown in the streets since the beginning of the war, increasing the danger of disease and dirty water for the five million Iraqis living in the capital.

Between 1990 and the beginning of the war, Baghdad saw the number of rubbish trucks working in the city decrease from 800 to 200 and its staff reduced to 3000 people. Since the beginning of the war many people have not had their rubbish collected at all.

The volunteers' work is made harder by the lack of safety in the city. The rubbish collection is organised in three stages. The refuse is collected from the neighbourhood before being taken to a collection area. It is then taken out of the city to a rubbish dump in a convoy of trucks to ensure greater security.

One of the major issues facing volunteers is providing protection for rubbish trucks, which are constantly at risk of being attacked. Another difficulty is finding fuel and electricity.

Topics: Iraq