Eating Trash

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — ??Repeated complaints have been made by residents to the Municipal Department of Community Services, but these gripes have been to no avail. The dumpster on one of the main streets in the Villa Panamericana neighborhood is often overflowing because the garbage truck doesn’t come by often enough.

As a result, this corner often becomes a “mini-dump” — a term used by that agency — which ends up promoting the spread of pests and diseases.

It wouldn’t be so bad if people were to at least throw their trash out in bags created for that purpose – but no, the garbage is simple dropped into the dumpster. Mixed together are potentially recyclable materials along with decaying organic matter, miscellaneous crap alongside sanitary pads, coffee grounds and banana peels.

We don’t have a wealth of alternatives when it comes to improving our health, but we don’t have the desire to do this either. We have ideas but we don’t put them into practice. In the end, sometimes we even lose the desire to talk about these kinds of things.

However, getting back to the issue, the worst part is that this mini-dump is just a few yards away from the sales areas of several food service establishments.

This means that complaints have been coming from more than just neighboring residents; they’ve also come from the workers in those food stands, which — incidentally — are pretty dirty places themselves.

What’s surprising is that people still buy light snacks there.

Is it that we’re now accustomed to filth, or do we simply close our eyes to it because every place is pretty much in the same condition?


One thought on “Eating Trash

  • Anyone who has spent any time in central Havana knows that the problem highlighted in this post is widespread. Particularly bothersome, owed to the ritualistic practices of Santeria, is the disposal of small and medium-size mutilated animals. Although mostly chickens, ducks, and pigeons, practitioners or santeros often also sacrifice larger goats and dump thier bodies in the open dumpsters. As imagined, these carcasses draw flies and vermin. Another self-inflicted habit that contributes to the increasing urban filth is the overabundance of dog poop left on sidewalks and in the street. Cubans do not ‘curb’ their dogs when they go out on walks and the abandoned dogs left to fend for themselves only exacerbate the problem.

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