Friday, September 24, 2010

In Praise of the Municipal Sanitation Departments of America

We are sure there are lots of sociological explanations and theories out there on why developing-world cities are often so dirty. Lack of sanitation services is an obvious guess, but surely not the only one. On the other hand, it's not like poor people have no pride or are just dirty people by nature. So despite in some way intellectually understanding it, it is still hard for your correspondent to not be just a little taken aback at the site of neighborhoods strewn with trash. It's not a syndrome that's unique to Afghanistan or even foreign to some of the less well-to-do parts of the United States.

Pictured above, from a neighborhood in Kabul not terribly far away from the Embassy, some sort of drainage ditch has widened into a pond, perhaps fifty feet across and every inch of it covered in plastic debris. I'm sure that if it were my neighborhood, I wouldn't have any more desire than the current residents do to touch the water in that pond for the sake of cleaning the trash out of it.

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