Sunday, September 14, 2008

At the side of the road

I hate garbage as much as anyone, and I clean the area around my home all the time. My secret desire is to take a rake and a stack of plastic garbage bags and just drive around the island and clean up all the trash.

As we foreigners all know, there are a lot of things in the streets here that really don't belong (at least to our way of thinking). Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, scraps of wood, pieces of wire or rope, shoes, bags of garbage, etc.

However, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Here's what I know:

The workers use a plastic bottle, cut in half, as a funnel. They will actively head down the road looking for a bottle carelessly tossed aside, and due to my cleanup efforts, they are forced to walk a little farther before finding one.

The children go around picking up the aluminum cans so they can take them to school for the recycling program. I've seen them down at Sac Bajo collecting cans.

Glass beer bottles are returnable. I'm not sure why there are so many tossed in the roads instead of returned?

Workers often need a scrap piece of wood, and they will head off down the road and later return with one they pulled out of the weeds from somewhere.

A huge pile of torn out chain-link fencing, left at the side of the road for months, was finally claimed and put to use to make a barrier between neighbors.

The dogs love to play with the lost shoes.

Bags of garbage, when torn open, often reveal tasty morsels for hungry animals.

The meat from a squished iguana or crab feeds the birds.

Junk cars grow pretty plants.

Maybe the next time you notice all the trash in the streets, you will remember that someone/something out there may be looking for just that particular thing. In the eye of the's not all garbage.


Life's a Beach! said...

Sue, I love your explanation! I remember being on a bike about four years ago and coming upon a bunch of clutter in the road by the high school. We quickly realized workers had put concrete blocks, palm fronds, etc... into the road as a substitute for traffic cones. Craig's even gotten in on the action. He wanted some extra security for a window when we were staying on the airport strip this year. He walked down the road aways and dug a discarded broom stick out of the brush! :)

IslaZina said...

There's always the street, like you say. And me, I am a pack rat. So if you need a wedge of cardboard under a leg of that table, or a wire to reinforce something, I've got it in the bodega.
The other day the plumber handed me brass or bronze faucets to throw away. But they have valor! Casi Mexicana, he said. Almost Mexican! Said the casia estadounidense!

Sue said...

Beck - sounds like you and Craig (or Craig, anyway), fit right in!

Zina - sometimes I think I hoard more than the Mexicans. I've rescued more than one thing that Miguel put in the trash. Sounds like between us we have it covered!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

They have non-returnable glass bottles. Boo Hiss!
We usually buy returnables, we live across the street from a Cervifrio, so it's no problem for us.

Where I live we don't have as much garbage in the streets but we do have people who stash their trash in our windows! I have even seen signs that say this is a window not a garbage can!