Garbage Everywhere


One of the things that bugs me about living here in Saudi Arabia is the seeming unconcern for all the trash everywhere. This is an empty lot in the middle of a developed residential section of Jeddah which is filled with villas and apartment buildings. Empty lots here are routinely used as garbage dumps. Apparently this structure of weather-beaten tarps and a wood frame was originally built to provide shaded parking. There are eyesores such as this all over Jeddah, and although there is a battalion of foreign workers hired to pick up the trash every day, it is a never-ending job since residents continue to litter with the thought that these overworked and underpaid workers will clean up after them. Making it even dirtier here is the fact that rain is so rare, so there is no natural cleansing of the landscape going on either. It’s strange that a country with so much money can be so filthy, and what’s even more ironic is that Saudi homes are spic and span – but this is probably because most Saudi women have maids.

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About SusieOfArabia

American woman now living in hubby's homeland of Saudi Arabia
This entry was posted in Buildings, contradictions, Culture, Life, Photo, Saudi Arabia and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Garbage Everywhere

  1. Dina says:

    Your “structure” reminds me of one I posted today, which also shocked me.
    Is it true that only we “Anglos” notice and care about the litter in public places? It seems to be a losing battle.

  2. alamriky says:

    The problem is that most people that live there dont even notice it they block it out without even trying to.

    Last time i went to jeddah (2006) i was amazed at how clean and nice everybody’s houses were from inside but very dirty outside, there was trash everywhere, and it smelt really bad walking to the mosque. i even took a couple pictures of the back yard because i couldn’t believed everybody just ignored the trash.

    i think when you live there you are just so use to it and you never bother to think, but then you leave and come back and it just hits you in the face and you think OMG this is bad.

    • I remember when I was a kid growing up in the US, there was a big national campaign called “Keep America Beautiful.” People used to throw trash out their car windows on the highways, but once they instituted heavy fines for littering, it stopped most of it. These two things made a huge difference. To this day, I would never ever throw anything out the car window or on the ground, but I’ve seen Saudi parents here giving a bunch of trash to their kid and telling them to just dump it outside their car. This is THEIR country and they are not instilling a sense of responsibility or pride to keep their own country clean. It’s very upsetting and disgusting every time I leave our home to have to see things like this. I just don’t get it.

  3. Yoli says:

    That is seriously sad and what a shame. From the images in this blog and others I have frequented, it is indeed a beautiful land. They should take better care of it and not be so lazy or worse entitled and abusive of the people they hire to clean. It is everyone’s responsibility to keep a place clean. By the way I love your new look! I had not stopped by here since leaving to China and I am plesantly surprised!

    • I’ve been very busy with my hubby who is on the mend too, so I am way behind on my blog hopping. A trip to China??? Does that mean a new addition to your beautiful family? How exciting!!!

  4. leif hagen says:

    Where’s the “City Beautification Committee” when you need them?!

  5. Yanbulady says:

    Good morning Susie,
    I completely agree with you! I am also amazed at the amount of trash in the streets..in the older part of Yanbu it is terrible, and some days the smell is awful. Parents here do not seem to teach their children to keep their environment clean at all..
    You certainly have a good point in stating a lot of Saudi women have a maid, nanny etc to do the cleaning.

    • Thank you for agreeing with me. I feel bad posting a photo like this, but I drive by places like this every single day and it’s just so disgusting. I have a theory about the huge buildings with small windows – maybe it’s so they don’t look out the windows and see the trash everywhere…

  6. ummadam says:

    I was told that the owners of the lots are suppose to pay for the garbage to be hauled away. For instance, if you are building a home then you need to hire a service to haul the debris away. Some corrupt people will have their debris dumped on someone elses land to avoid paying for it.

    • I was told pretty much the same thing. When a lot is being developed by the owner, the debris is simply hauled to the next closest lot, and it’s a never-ending cycle – unless they run out of empty lots one of these days.

  7. Your story made me think of something I was told recently. I think I mentioned that I new someone who was going to Jeddah for a short teaching contract. Well, he’s back now. He is an artist and was teaching an art class to girls at some private school. He said that one day he and the students were working with clay and at the end of the class he was trying to show them how to clean up their art space and put away their supplies and they all just stared at him and finally told him that someone else would clean up the mess. It wasn’t for them to do.

    • This is definitely in line with the superior attitude that many people have here – in fact, many young Saudi men are unemployed because they will not accept entry level positions since these jobs are beneath them.

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