I moved to Germany almost ten years ago and from my first day onwards, it never failed to surprise me till today.
When I got the possession of my first flat the first thing I was made aware of was the importance of garbage. Its first world and still every citizen has to make sure all the garbage is packed neatly according to its classification. The organic waste is separate, glass waste is separated according to color, wood, metal and electric appliances all have specific containers. There are fixed days for garbage disposal fortnightly. The city municipality provides every household with containers for all kinds of waste.
The colour of every waste container is standard throughout the country such as for organic waste it is green, for packaging waste it is yellow and for inseparable waste it is black. You have to put the container outside on the footpath one day prior to the collection. I have never seen in all these 10 years a minute’s delay or change in the given schedule. If I have some wooden cupboards or chairs I cannot throw them randomly. I have to send the municipality a pre-provided postcard mentioning the item I have to throw away. I will get an appointment for the garbage pickup and they will come and get it free of any charges.
For the recycling and distribution of old clothes and shoes there are special containers throughout the city so that these things can be recycled and used. In our offices, we are provided for general use recycled paper for printing. I am talking about one of the richest nations in the world but I have seen they treat everything with so much care and respect that it surprises me. All the supermarkets and bakeries have a contract with the city municipality that they will not throw away any food and vegetable item close to their expiration dates and submit them to a special shop where every day registered poor people can get these food items for free. And in Germany any family of four earning less than 1800 euros (around 200,000 PKRs) is considered as poor and gets special registration card for benefits. What an irony!!!!!!!
You must wonder why of all the topics I decided to write on waste. It is because, I think those nations who cannot manage their waste cannot manage their resources. A country torn into plight and disruption due to the aftermath of causing and losing two world wars has managed to be one of the top most economies of the world. Living here for almost a decade with two growing up kids I learned how nations grow and prosper. It has nothing to do with democracy or freedom or enlightenment but it has everything to do with being responsible for what you do and how you do.
No wonder the Third world fails to understand the importance of garbage recycling and still keeps on getting filthier and filthier.
By Sumbla Sheikh, Germany