Catching up

The Pchum Ben holidays are officially over now and society is starting to catch up–slowly. Yesterday, a Friday, was technically a post-holiday work day but probably 99% of the workers took leave to round off a full-week of holidays. One group of workers who had to come back are the garbage crews. As you can see above, there are piles of rubbish along each block of each street because the sanitation workers took off like everyone else.

With all the shops closed for the holidays, you might think there would be little garbage to pick up, but remember Phnom Penhers live in shophouses–buildings one room wide and three or four stories tall–where the first floor is a shop and the rest living quarters. The people are still living there even if the shop is closed so there’s still trash.

One of the areas where Cambodia and Phnom Penh have not caught up with the developed world is trash management. Can you imagine a capital city with no rules or regulations about setting out trash for collection. Everyone just makes a pile on the curb.