Another nature spot sodden.

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"There's a lot of rubbish around here", my sister remarked as she held her video camera to the window while we made our way back from an outing to the east of Tehran for some tea and hubble-bubble. Damn, there's a lot of rubbish around here I thought to myself, looking left and right in shame. The semi-brown mounds cut with tarmac patiently saw our exodus as we repeatedly rearranged our convoy back to the city to conclude the weekend.

Plastic bottles, bags, cartons and wrappers seemed to keep an even distance from one another, sometimes self-consciously collecting themselves in a larger plastic-bags, maybe still deciding what next to do. "Damn, really lots of it", I regrettably agreed. Every improvised picnic since mass-production was still being enjoyed - less so higher up and more so near the roads - only good memories seemed to have been taken away.

"I was on Iran's Kish Island when first visiting, beautiful it was, white sand, clear water", I reminisced, "where the grass met the sand the Iranians had spontaneously created land fills". It was one of a catalog of moments I've witnessed. "There's a strange sense of commons with the Iranians", I continued, "inside the house they obsess about tidiness and cleanliness, yet when they leave the door the very same
parents instruct their children to discard any packaging wherever they may be". Often it's the open guttering (known as joobs) that brings the melted snow from the north to south of Tehran that bare the brunt, edging Tehran ever closer to a heart attack.

I'm sure the city blames the people and the people blame the city, like when friends complain while sat in traffic about how long their journey increasingly takes

"To be fair I guess it's difficult to distinguish where the bins are when so much of Tehran is in some state of repair", I joked referring to the pipes sticking out from the paths, pot-holes, open building sites and paving-slabs nearly all present -- yet mostly broken if so. "But it's interesting what this says about Iran and the Iranians", I speculated, "I'm sure the city blames the people and the people blame the city, like when friends complain while sat in traffic about how long their journey increasingly takes". But there can be no excuse for not taking one's rubbish away with them I thought.

"But you know, the people are rubbish, I mean they seem only aware of their own existence or enjoyment – and maybe that of their immediate family", I sighed confused at how coming from the 'West' I can say this. "Again, it's like the cars are their movable houses", I continued, loosely referring back to my comment about the inside and outside of the Iranian houses, "they are subject only to the laws of physics. I mean, if the car can physically go there, then is goes there - blocking the roads, going the wrong way and traffic lights goes unnoticed, it's the same with the rubbish".

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  • Iranian rubbishes or rubbish Iranians? I think every Iranian, no matter how responsible he may seem, has discarded rubbish in the wrong place at least once in his life; so...

    By Anonymous Azadeh, at 3:08 PM  

  • Any words from the government on these roblems, or are they too busy dealing with the idiocy of the western powers to concern themselves with such things? Iran looks like a beautiful country, shame it has to be soiled with things such as this.

    By Anonymous danielspengies, at 9:37 PM  

  • Azadeh, yes, I too have on the rare occasion discarded rubbish. But my point was more related to places outside of the city, where city cleaner don't go. I mean, these things will outlive us!

    It's interesting for me though, these attitudes and why this might be. In the UK there was a large series of campaign (as there still is) during the 80s about "keeping Britain tidy" and I think to a noticeable degree this worked. I'm keen to maybe invite such a thing in Iran and working in an advertising agency, means I have no excuse - watch this space.

    Danielspengies, Heh, the government have lots of "roblems". But the may be ways to deal with it, but as my Farsi reading skills are not so great I wouldn't have seen it mentioned. As I say above, there are city cleaners, they work through the night and seem to keep on top of most of the central places. There has also been larger bins situated throughout the city, near residential areas more so. There is a regular collection time but often citizens choose to put rubbish at the end of the road, laying in a heap and ready for rats, cockroaches and the sorts.

    By Blogger David Mohammad Yaghoobi, at 11:58 AM  

  • I think it's a problem for many countries in the region. Istanbul, with massive profits from tourism and all, is disgusting by the end of each night. Especially on the Asian side which is not looked after nearly as well as the European side. Oddly enough though, Kayseri and Bursa, both rather average cities that wouldn't garner much attention, are much cleaner. Lack of trash cans, as you've noted, are the biggest problem, I think. At times I've walked down the street in Istanbul for an hour, two hours, empty water bottle in hand, keeping an eye out for a trash can that never seems to appear. In Istanbul I generally end up stuffing my empty bottles and bags in my purse and throwing them away once I get back to my room :/ It seems they're starting a campaign there, educating folks on how/where to dispose trash, in Kayseri I even saw recycling trash cans (a bin for plastic bottles next to one for glass next to one for paper next to one for general "trash"), something I've not even seen in the U.S. I'd heard that Iran runs T.V. ads and things, encouraging people to pick up after themselves and not discard trash "wherever," but I have to assume from your entry that they're not doing much good.

    By Anonymous Tahereh, at 11:59 AM  

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