A Student Development Experience in a Development Context

Garbage Day in Karatu

The other morning Mal and I embarked on the 2 km walk to the CPAR office and we noticed that it was unusually smokey around town. I turned to her and joked that it must be garbage day in Karatu. I wasn’t wrong. In Karatu there is no municipal garbage collection service. People collect garbage in a pit or in a pile in their yards and burn it. The garbage that gathers in the streets and the tarmac ditches (see the pictures from “Tanzanian Tobogganing” for a visual of the ditches) is collected and placed in piles on street corners or in the “garbage dump” (see photo) where it is burned. Everything is burned – plastic bags, batteries, tinfoil, you name it.

As you read this I can imagine that you are saying “eww” to yourself. But it really isn’t that bad. There isn’t really that much garbage around Karatu. People don’t have a lot, so they don’t waste a lot. There is far less throughput in this society. Personally I like the trade off. I don’t mind dealing with a little bit of smoke in the morning knowing that less trash is produced in the first place.


The "dump" - right across from our favourite chips mayai stop, Camp David.


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