The problem of trash removal in lower socioeconomic-status neighborhoods is a growing issue in the US and the world. Garbage and waste in many forms can be seen collecting on sidewalks, piling up on street corners, and lying around or sitting on benches in parks and public spaces. Human debris congregates on streets and in alleys. One notes the lack of efficient waste-removal services in the most under-served areas of our nation’s breeding grounds. It is understood by most human beings that garbage is unsightly and smelly, but it is also a risk to other life-forms. Animals may be endangered by human waste products which also pose a health menace to others in the vicinity. Children can be hurt by some forms of solid waste such as glass or jagged plastic and the people who strew it around. Noise pollution is also a form of audible waste which must be processed; the smell and tone of voice of most urban garbage is a powerful deterrent to enjoyment and recreation in our city spaces, and results in delinquency and greater police presence as a consequence. It is unwise to befriend garbage, or even to get too close to it in dysfunctional neighborhoods at certain hours, particularly in the heat of summer.
Lighter-colored garbage must be separated from dark in order for sustainable community growth and renewal to occur. Contrary to popular belief, all garbage is not equal, and some garbage cannot co-exist with other forms of waste matter, due to inherent differences in biodegradability and elemental/organic limitations. Before garbage can be effectively sorted and redeemed, it must be recognized and classified as truly being useless, serving no positive purpose.
Garbage that is not removed and transported to an appropriate waste rehabilitation/disposal facility can cause ghettoization of entire communities and drain additional funds that could be better spent on human issues (such as social justice and yoga/mindfulness training for law enforcement, for example). Humans need to occupy the space now monopolized by garbage, because if not, radicalized community organizers from the sanitation committee will begin to stir up the garbage and make the garbage feel justified in claiming more space for itself.
When garbage becomes aggressive, human beings need to resist. They must affirm, in the face of a mounting foul-smelling tsunami, that waste still needs to be disposed of—as before, so now and forever. Garbage is meant to be thrown out—not celebrated. A daring thought, perhaps, but one which served anterior generations well and made for clean and welcoming urban spaces.
Let’s all work together to put the garbage where it belongs.