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

Outlook - - INTERVIEW -

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.

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