Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sanitation Engineering

I don't think rubbish, especially en masse, is beautiful. However, when I rounded a bend on my way to Tortuga on Sunday and saw this totally unexpected expanse of rubbish, my first reaction was "Wow!" In the moment it struck me as having a strange beauty. It was early in the morning, just after seven, the atmosphere was cool and moist, pleasantly sunny and I was feeling peaceful, having had a breezy cruise down the highway with no traffic. This solid sea of colours stretched before me in an area greater than my camera was able to capture. Men in tractors and bulldozers and on foot were moving in slow motion through the wasteland and vultures were gliding above and around them. There could almost have been beautiful music playing in the background.

I have never seen such a vast amount of rubbish in one place. Had it been a hot, miserable day, I would most likely not have seen it in the same way. I would have been horrified. To think that it looks like so much, yet it's not even a dot in the grand scheme of rubbish which we human beings produce on a daily basis worldwide.

I have a silent fascination with garbage collectors. Whenever I see them hanging onto the backs of grimy trucks, constantly inhaling the fumes of people's waste, I marvel at how they do it. Most of all I wonder who they are when they get home and wash off the day. When people ask them what they do for a living, what do they say? Do they say it with pride? How did they get into the job as a 'sanitation engineer'? How much money do they earn? Do they love what they do?

I will hopefully be doing some 'sanitation engineering' of my own today. It's that time again when I need to throw away/give away some things and create space.


Lynn Cohen said...

I went to the city dump with my husband for the first time this past year to get rid of garbage from our garage. It was NOT beautiful. It stunk to high heaven!
I could not leave there fast enough.
You are see beauty even in the city dump!
Yes, I too wondered about the men working there all day long...
So glad I do not have to do that work. You could not pay me enough.

Anonymous said...

I often wonder the same thing. How could they inhale and touch that garbage. I guess the saying 'it takes all kinds to make a world' is true. Just think if the 'sanitation engineers' did not do that work what a terrible kind of place especially T&T would be, judging from the mounds of rubbish people are throwing out during this 'clean up campaign' to rid the place of mosquitoes. A big thank you to them and beautiful picture.

Anonymous said...

Met too! I have wondered about sanitation engineers and what their days are like. I wonder about all the things they see thrown out and what thoughts and feelings they have about it all.