Many of you may be scratching your head wondering why this is so notable. Some of you are likely considering the possibility that Dhaka has finally done me in; that I am now truly insane and babbling about absurdities. But public garbage cans are a revolutionary idea in a city as overloading with litter as Dhaka.
This affects us in a few minor ways, including being regularly exposed to nasty, unidentifiable smells, occasionally stepping in sludge we pretend is not sewage and carefully avoiding toxic, lung-searing smoke from the burning rubbish. We daily see grimy rickshaw-dumpsters laboriously traveling from one apartment to another and small crowds of grubby children sifting through piles of trash searching for recyclable prizes of glass, metal or paper. But no matter how many people we see working to collect garbage, find recyclables or sweep the streets; more trash appears to fill the recently cleaned roadways.
Bangladesh is a long way from cleaning up its cities. I understand that these tiny little public trash bins will, in the immediate future, have a negligible impact on the cleanliness of the streets. But it is exciting to have an option other than throwing my random bits of garbage on the street…there is hope! Even if few Bangladeshis use the revolutionary new trash bins, I know I will!