Street cleaners have their say on city
Big cities are often strewn with litter, thrown from households, restaurants and businesses for street cleaners to clear up. Although they make their rounds at allotted times, people tend to ignore this and throw their rubbish out onto the street at any t
Leâ Thò Thuyø Trang, public sanitation service team, HCM City
My group has 10 workers and each has to clean around 10,000sq.m of road and other public spaces daily. We start working everyday at 7pm and often finish at 2am.
I feel sorry that people lack awareness of environmental protection. They do not have any idea about how to keep their environment green and clean.
The common occurrence is that people throw their rubbish anywhere and at any time they like as long as it is far away from their house. We have set the time and place to collect rubbish but we see waste thrown everywhere. My company discussed several times with local authorities about improving the situation, but the authorities were indifferent since they thought cleaning was our duty and nothing to do with them.
At shops, they throw waste even after we clean up, and we have to clean again.
But the situation is worst at restaurants because we have to avoid their business hours. If we clean pavements and roads at that time customers feel annoyed and the owners insult us.
People do not pay fees for collecting garbage. They throw away everything they do not need but refuse to pay a little money for this. I do not know what to say about these indifferent people. People's lack of awareness forces us to work harder but they do not respect our work.
Others like electricity supply and tree and park maintenance companies also leave their waste for us to collect after they complete their work.
We have to work every day of the year except on Lunar New Year days. One thing I want to remind everyone is that environmental protection is everybody's duty, not just our sanitation workers.
Traàn Leâ Daân, public sanitation service team, HCMC District 1
My work often begins at 2pm and finishes at 2am. This downtown street is full of restaurants and places where foreigners live. Therefore, environmental awareness is better than at other places. Local authorities also pay attention to keeping the streets tidy and clean.
Restaurants sign contracts with my company and fix times for garbage collection. That is very good for me since I do not need to spend time sweeping. The problem for me is that each restaurant has a different time to put out the rubbish.
The only one thing that interferes with my job is street vending. They travel along the street, do business, and chuck waste wherever and whenever they like. I really want them to have more awareness of the environment but cannot do anything; not even authorities can.
I work really hard, whether it is sunny or rainy, for six days a week around the year, but my income is meagre at just 6 million ñoàng (US$300) a month. I work and feed my wife and three-year-old son. I wish my salary increases to make life a little easier.
Ngoâ Thò Lyù, Sôn Traø Urban and Environment Company, Ñaø Naüng
My fellow workers and I toil eight hours a day in dirty and dusty streets collecting garbage and cleaning footpaths. We clean up in seven wards in Sôn Traø District. I start work at 5am and work until 9am. I carry a broom to clean the gutters and pavements, putting all the rubbish in a twowheeled cart. After a midday break, I repeat the job for another four hours later in the afternoon.
Despite protective clothing, my face gets covered in dust and my nose is full of the stinking smell of rubbish. However, it's my job and I've been doing it for 19 years. My task is to keep streets clean, creating a pleasant environment for residents.
Summer is always the hardest. I struggle against the dust, crowded traffic and the scorching sun. I wear protective clothing, including a mask, which makes me look like a Ninja warrior.
I earn about 4 million ñoàng ($180) a month and a little bonus. This provides just enough to keep my family of four going. I am not afraid to work hard in all conditions seven days a week. But we wish that residents would lift their game and share some of the responsibility for keeping streets clean.
Many throw their rubbish anywhere, even if they know a dustbin is just few metres away.
I always try to raise the awareness of local people on the importance of keeping a neighbourhood clean by following the same rules they would use in their homes. Our company has more than 100 workers who collect 70 tonnes of waste each day, 10 per cent of the city's total rubbish.
If residents were only taught to separate various types of waste – such as paper, bottles and cans – at its source, it would make our jobs much easier.
I would prefer to use a mini sweeper to collect rubbish rather than long brooms. It would make our lives easier and reduce the hazards and smells.
We have received a few electric motorbikes to pull rubbish carts, but sweepers would be perfect. However, there is a shortage of funds in the state budget. We also want higher pay because we work in a very hazardous environment. Only female workers sweep and collect rubbish in streets, while men usually collect the dustbins and take them to a collecting point at night.
We also need better protection against unhealthy garbage, including free medical treatment for occupational diseases such as sore eyes, tuberculosis, lung cancer, rhinitis and dermatitis.
I was born in Haûi Phoøng City, but I grew up in Ñaø Naüng, which plans to become a green city by 2025. My colleagues like the idea of contributing to a clean and friendly environment. We are only satisfied when the city looks fresh. Environmental workers play a key role in helping cities attract tourists.