Environmental Un-Awareness

I remember when I was a young child and many people in the United States threw trash on the ground or out of car windows, never giving much thought to the environment.  Then there came along a “Don’t Be a Litterbug” campaign and slowly attitudes and practices changed to a strong environmental consciousness in the US today.

In Cambodia, we are still at the stage of the US 70 years ago.  Here is a picture of a small Phnom Penh street stall selling breakfast.  Notice it is the custom to throw any napkins or food scraps on the ground.  It seems counter-productive–and certainly un-hygienic and ugly–since someone has to come along and sweep up the trash a little later.  Also, in this picture notice all the single-use plastic straws in the gutter and already heading toward the sewer where they will be washed into the Mekong River and then into the sea.