Friday, March 29, 2013

What a load of rubbish!

The saddest, the most frustrating and the worst aspect of living in Amman is the rubbish!  It's terrible and is a real problem that isn't being addressed effectively.  My mum's recent trip here really highlighted this problem to me.  I mean, I could see it, smell it and ignore it with the attitude of, 'oh well, this is a developing country and they just haven't developed their rubbish organisation yet'.  But now, I feel like my winker blinkers are finally off and the sight and smell of the rubbish is bothering me.  Before, I just accepted it with a complacent attitude, but now, I want to get active.

One of the issues is that some families love to go picnicking, usually on the side of the road or in a forest or in some really cool, ancient place. They bring with them all sorts of delicious treats all wrapped in plastic.  When they are done, they leave all the rubbish behind, creating an awful mess that is just an eye sore!  We sometimes see men throwing rubbish on the ground or people throwing rubbish out of their car!  Is the problem lack of education, stupidity or just plain ignorance?

A regular sight on the streets of Amman.

A rubbish dumb right outside some really nice apartments.

I often see dead, decaying alley cats around the dumps.  

And then you walk down nice streets.  Just behind this picture is the dump.

I believe education and building awareness are the keys to solving this problem, but also the government needs to take a stand and make it their priority to clean up Jordan.  I do feel very lucky to be working in an environment where they are taking this issue very seriously.  My colleague's mum has even published a children's book in the effort to educate young children on the effects of littering.

Anzeh Al-azeeza Protects the Forests

Anzeh Al-azeeza Cleans Up Petra.

Both books are written from the perspective of a Jordanian wild goat, Anzeh, who is suffering from stomach problems due to humans leaving behind plastic crap which her and her family are consuming.  They make signs and place them in public places asking people kindly to take their rubbish home with them or dispose of them sensibly.  I have purchased both books and I have read them to my students.

There are other initiatives happening in the city.  I just found this one with 2 photographers wanting to 'Let's clean Amman'.  They rightly say that it is not solely up to the government to take action and that citizens have a crucial role to play.

I'm not sure what I am going to do about this or how I can help, but watch this space.  Amman is our home now and we want to keep it beautiful.  I'm wondering if we can get some t-shirts designed and wear them like the 'Keep NZ Beautiful' ones?

These T-shirts are really cool, simple, tasteful and effective - it gets the message across.  NZ is a beautiful, clean country.


  1. Hi there,
    Have you seen the facebook page Stop Dumping on Jordan. I know it's not much but it's at least something. I find the best thing for me to do is lead by example, but it's a bit easier for me as I live in Wadi Musa/Petra. But every now and then I walk around the area where we live (not heaps of houses) and pick up the rubbish. I get people asking me what I'm doing and I tell them that I'm making it a more beautiful place to live. I also get comments from people that have noticed that there's no rubbish lying around. I also used to go around at the end of a picnic with my husbands family and pick up all the rubbish. Now they do it themselves and don't leave any there - well at least when I'm there they don't. But it's a start.

  2. That is great to hear Andrea! You are being such a great role model to your husbands family. I am loving reading your blog and your experiences - it' so interesting! Thanks for reading mine.