Trashcan City / Fernando Damaso
Posted on April 25, 2015
Fernando Damaso, 21 April 2015 — Half a century ago Havana was a clean
city with an efficient system for trash collection and streets that were
swept every day. Not only did mechanized sweepers ply the main
boulevards and avenues, after midnight these thoroughfares were also
washed down with high-pressure water hoses. In addition to the steps
taken by the city government, owners of business and covered walkways
made sure the sidewalks adjoining their buildings were clean. As though
that were not enough, both public buses and commercial transport
vehicles had to be absolutely spotless, both inside and out, in order to
When new officials came to power, the system began to decline. In its
current state the city is one big trash can.
Citizens’ demands and complaints are not being heard. The city and
district administrations provide banal excuses for their incompetence
and shoddy workmanship. The problem stems from, among other things, a
lack of resources, insufficient maintenance and repair, and unqualified
personnel. All indications are that it is impossible to find a solution
under the current system, which is marked by corruption, diversion of
funds and other illegalities.
Why not do away with these obsolete methods and turn the job over to
private or cooperative enterprises? Many cities have done this.
Businesses are now responsible for collecting, treating and recycling of
all types of waste, categorizing it from the moment it is discarded by
providing separate containers for plastic, glass, metal, cardboard and
organic products. This facilitates and humanizes the task, something the
authorities have not been able to achieve.
How long must we listen to the same old stories? The public demands more
than explanations; it wants solutions.
Source: Trashcan City / Fernando Damaso | Translating Cuba –