Styrofoam is not much used for packaging food in North America and Europe but it’s alive and well here in Cambodia. There is a beginning awareness of the need to phase out practices harmful to the environment, but getting rid of styrofoam is difficult in a culture where so many people eat on the street going to and from work and school.
Many cities and towns have strict rules how garbage is to be set out for collection. In some places householders must use special containers or separate different kinds of trash or put the garbage in a special place for pickup. In Phnom Penh there are basically no rules and the garbage truck crews go around with pitchforks to pick up piles of trash on the street corners and throw it in the back of the truck. They are dedicated workers! Garbage crews in other parts of the world would not put up with people just throwing garbage anywhere.
In this area of Phnom Penh, this small street has no sidewalk or area to set garbage on the side of the road so all the residents hang it in plastic bags. It lacks aesthetic beauty but the garbage crews must love it because they don’t have to bend over and shovel but just pick plastic bags from the fence and throw them into the truck.
A few days ago, I had to go to another part of town and the tuk-tuk driver went along a stretch of Mao Tse Tung Blvd that I never seen at that time of day. The sidewalks, the area adjacent to the street, the street itself were filled with temporary fruit and vegetable sellers.