Update on the Salmiya Garbage Situation

Post by Mark

garbage1

As you can see from the picture above, the garbage situation in the sand pit behind my house still hasn’t been sorted (it’s been years of me complaining). I’m not sure why it’s so difficult to just add more bins.

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But the reason I’m posting about this today is because I wanted to see if you guys could spot something. The picture below was taken this morning after the garbage trucks came. Notice anything?

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Yeah the garbage trucks cleaned the garbage on the ground but didn’t empty the trash bins. Back in August I posted a timelapse of the garbage being cleaned up and the trucks were leaving one of the bins full while emptying the other three. Turned out that one of the bins belonged to the previous company that had the garbage contract and the new company, not to cause an issue with the previous company was leaving their garbage bins alone. Really stupid shit but now I have no idea whats going on because all four bins aren’t being emptied and the already terrible garbage situation has become worse.

I just want them to add more bins, clearly the bins in the area aren’t enough since I’ve been talking about this issue for years now. I don’t know, am I asking for too much here?

And for those of you who are going to argue back by bringing Lebanon into this, yes yes Lebanon is a big garbage dump, I know that. But, I think of Kuwait more highly and would rather compare it to the likes of Calagary, Canada’s oil capital instead of Lebanon.


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How do I solve the garbage issue in Salmiya?

Post by Mark

garbage1

There is currently a major garbage crisis in Lebanon and it made me think about the one I have in my backyard here in Kuwait. I’ve got this landfill behind my building which has been a garbage dump for years. I’ve posted about it a bunch of times (check this for example from 2010) and the issue hasn’t gotten sorted yet. I mean it gets sorted when I post about it, but then a week later it goes back to garbage overflowing everywhere. I took the picture above at 4PM, that’s just the garbage accumulated since morning, imagine how much garbage there will be by the end of the night!

So what do I need to do to get this shit solved? Do I have to post a picture on the blog everyday of the garbage dump and hope that the international embarrassment it will bring to Kuwait will get someone to act on it? Should I set up a live video stream of the dump and have it displayed in my blogs sidebar? Seriously I’m open to suggestions (don’t tell me to move or GTFO). Thankfully there is the Deera app but it gets annoying having to report this issue every single day.

The bigger issue is this has become the norm in Kuwait. It’s normal to see garbage on the floor everywhere or dumpsters overflowing. I miss the old anti littering campaigns from the 80s. They should bring those back.


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Salmiya is a Garbage Dump

Post by Mark

garbage1

Last year when I was in Dubai having lunch I started chatting with the waiter and it turned out he had just moved to Dubai from Kuwait. He was in Kuwait getting training for just a short period of time before being sent to their Dubai branch. I asked him what he thought about Kuwait in the time he had spent here and he replied saying he was surprised at how dirty it was. Usually the most common response is that Kuwait is too hot or the fact they hated it because there was no social life or alcohol but that was the first time someone had told me they thought Kuwait was dirty. That comment stuck with me ever since because it made me realize, I’ve kinda gotten immune to the garbage like I’ve gotten immune to the heat or the fact that there is sand everywhere.

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The photos in this post are my latest submission to the Deera App. All this garbage is located in a sand lot behind my apartment building, the same sand lot which at one point someone had dug a large pit to dump all the garbage in.

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The way I see it there are a few things that need to be done to solve the garbage issue:

1) Clean up the garbage. Not sure how much money is allocated to cleaning up the garbage but either they should allocate more money or work more efficiently. In this one sand lot behind my place a quick solution for now would be to add more bins. When people dug a pit in the lot to throw garbage it was because the 7 bins weren’t enough. Instead of adding more bins to solve the issue they removed two leaving just 5 so obviously the garbage is going be overflowing. But its also not just about the garbage bins, there is litter all over the floor all around Salmiya and that never gets cleaned up.

2) Educate people. A nationwide anti-littering campaign would be a good start. I can’t even remember the last time there was an anti-littering campaign in Kuwait, maybe back in the 80s.

3) Fine people for littering. This is far fetched of course because I’ve seen cops let people run red lights and not chase them so I doubt they’re going to fine people for littering.

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4) Finally put me in charge of Salmiya because whoever is in charge now obviously doesn’t give a shit about the area.

Update: Just a quick note, it took two trucks but thanks to the Deera App the garbage was all cleaned and the building that had caused most of the waste in the first photo was also fined.

cleaned


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The Garbage Walk

Post by Mark

It’s hard to write this post without expressing my emotions which are mostly composed of anger and lot of frustration, but I’ll try my best to be as neutral and professional as possible. Yesterday when I went to take photos of the bike sharing station near Marina Waves, I was caught off guard by what has to be the dumbest fucking decision ever an idea with good intentions, but poor execution.

Who thought it would be a great fucking idea to plaster bright orange garbage bins at eye level every 10 fucking meters on the side facing the sea???!. Now I am aware of the garbage situation in Kuwait and specifically Salmiya, I’ve written about it a number of times on the blog before, but I do believe this idea could have been executed better. I guess people have been throwing garbage on the floor so someone (I’m assuming at the municipality) decided to add more garbage bins all across the beautiful scenic path near Marina Waves. The issue is, the garbage bins are bright fucking orange, raised up to eye level, and most importantly, they’re placed every 10 meters on the side of the path that is closest to the sea.

The pathway is popular because the view there is spectacular. It’s a popular location for photos and its one of the most beautiful aspects of Kuwait along with the whole Gulf Road. So why ruin this amazing view by sticking bright fucking orange bins so high up on ugly poles? Why couldn’t they add more bins, but ones that blended in with the environment better instead of sticking out like a sore thumb? For the benefit of the doubt, lets assume they had a very limited budget to work with, and these cheap plastic bins were the only ones that fit into their budget. Why couldn’t they place them on the other side of the path so that the sea view isn’t blocked by hundreds of these floating orange bins? Whoever is behind this I am guessing was behind a similar stupid idea in Salmiya a few years ago where they plastered yellow bins every 10 meters on the side of Salem Mubarek Street. That idea failed because it was fucking stupid not well thought out, and these orange ideas aren’t a good solution either.

Also, do people who litter do so because the garbage bin is to far, or do they litter because they don’t know any better and just don’t care? My guess is the later, the below is taken from the City of Chicago website:

Why Do People Litter?
People litter because they do not feel responsible for public areas like streets and parks. The more they litter, the more it becomes a habit, and the worse the community looks. People usually litter outside their own neighborhood where their trash becomes someone else’s problem.

I highly doubt these garbage bins are going to stop people from littering, what we need is probably an awareness campaign that educates the public on why they shouldn’t litter, followed by strict enforcement of the littering law (which I believe we have).


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So Much for a Greener Salmiya

Post by Mark

nograss

Back in 2011 the Salmiya municipality dug up the middle sidewalk in the old souq where I live. The trees originally were surrounded by a small square dirt patch but someone in the municipality decided to enlarge that patch more than double the size and then merge all the trees with one large dirt pit. When I had spoken to one of the employees who was digging up the street back then he told me the plan was to plant the sidewalk like on the Gulf Road. I obviously knew that wasn’t going to happen since we have a major garbage situation that wasn’t getting solved so I had doubts they were planning to “beautify” Salmiya with greenery. But, a few of my readers thought I was being pessimistic and were all for a greener Salmiya.

Well just an update 5+ years later, nobody has planted shit and the dirt pit is still a dirt pit.


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Tasteful Garbage

Post by Mark

I spotted the above garbage bin outside Salhiya Complex earlier today. What grabbed my attention was the fact they’re the the exact same kind of garbage bins as the ones currently used all over Salmiya, except they didn’t look as bad. That’s because instead of the bins being painted bright yellow causing them not to blend with their environment, the Salhiya bins are tastefully painted and placed so they fit in with their surroundings.


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I repeat, put me in charge of Salmiya

Post by Mark

Back in January I posted about how they dug up the middle sidewalk in the old Salmiya. They decreased the walking space and created new dirt space around the already planted trees to add more greenery. I was against the idea since first of all they shrunk the sidewalk and second of all I knew it wasn’t going to work. The new Salmiya near Sultan Center and Al Fanar has never had a green middle sidewalk and somehow my old Salmiya was going to? A lot of you were against me and said I was being pessimistic, well the picture above is how it looks like 6 months later… very green indeed. It’s always going to be just sand exactly like how it’s always been sand in the newer Salmiya so I hope everyone now understands why I preferred to have a full proper sidewalk instead of “greenery”.

Check out the picture above. Do you know what that is? I think it was back in the late 80s or very early 90s someone decided to build a public bathroom right in the middle of Salmiya. I think it was functional for a month and then got destroyed by vandals and became so dirty that no one was using it and it just got abandoned. That was like 20 years ago, today it’s nothing. It’s not a bathroom, there are no doors, no toilets, no sinks or anything. Just a place to store red cones or whatever garbage is lying around. Recently as you can see in the picture they dug up the area around it to replace the floor tiles with newer ones but they left this abandoned ugly block of cement right in the middle. Couldn’t they have just demolished it?

Another strange thing happened recently, someone realized how much garbage was filling up the streets of Salmiya and so came up with a brilliant solution. They decided to put bright yellow garbage bins all over Salmiya and at around 10 meters apart. Check the video above I shot today. I drove maybe 200 meters and I counted around 66 bright yellow garbage bins! And that only includes the middle sidewalk and some of the sidewalk on the left but completely ignoring the right sidewalk since it was in the video. It’s the most horrifying scene since all you can see on the street now are the garbage bins. Do we really need that many bins in the middle sidewalk? [YouTube]

I’ll say it again, I love Salmiya and I want to be put in charge of it or at the very least Salem Mubarek Street. I’ll seriously make it the most beautiful place in Kuwait. I’ve been requesting this since back in 2006, so what do I need to do to make this happen? I’ve watched enough episodes of Parks and Recreation to know what it takes. Salmiya is my Pawnee.


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A greener Salmiya? Please no!

Post by Mark

The past two weeks they’ve been digging up the street in front of my house in Salmiya (the old shopping street in Salem al Mubarek street). At first I thought they were actually reducing the size of the middle sidewalk to add more parking spots which pissed me off since I walk my dog there every morning. Then yesterday I spoke to one of the workers and he told me that wasn’t the plan, it turns out they’re going to be planting the middle sidewalk like how it is on the Gulf Road.

Usually this would be a good thing. Who wouldn’t want to live on a green street? I usually would be all pro for going green but not in this case. The street is currently just one big garbage bin. It’s completely ignored, no one is taking care of it. The streets are crumbling, most of the buildings are getting ready to be demolished, there is trash everywhere, not enough garbage bins and there is a street fight practically on a daily basis because of this billiard place next to my house. A month or two ago while walking my dog at 8AM I heard a lot of shouting and screaming. When I got closer I noticed two gangs throwing rocks at each other. One group of guys looked like Emo’s, they were standing across the street yelling and throwing rocks at another group of tubby guys standing on the other side of the street screaming back. There was a shop with a broken window because it got hit by a flying brick. This was at 8 in the morning!

I’ve lived in the exact same spot now for over 30 years and I’ve seen it turn from a trendy high end street to the dump it is now. If you check the archives you’ll find a number of posts (Here is one) where I’ve asked to be put in charge of the area so I could bring it back to life (Here is another). Currently I spend my mornings picking up broken bottles and pieces of glass so that my dog doesn’t end up getting cut. No one ever cleans up the garbage and everyone seems more than happen to just throw everything onto the floor. I’m lucky that the care taker of the building next to mine cleans up the alleyway between our two buildings or else it would just be a garbage dump.

So the idea that they’re planting grass in the middle of the sidewalk in what currently is a half deserted shopping street full of garbage just doesn’t make any sense. Whats going to happen is you’ll have all this greenery with white tissue papers and chips bags dangling off them like decorations. Instead of going green, can we go clean instead? Can someone please put me in charge of Salem Mubarek Street?


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Hole full of garbage

Post by Mark

I am 100% sure this can’t be legal or healthy. I live in Salmiya in the old souk on Salem Mubarek Street. Right behind my building there is an empty sand lot which is used as a parking by people coming to shop in the street. The sand lot is also used as garbage dump. It has around 7 regular sized garbage cans… and one big hole in the ground.

A hole in the ground! For some reason it seems the local baladiya or whoever is responsible for garbage collection can’t afford new garbage bins or something and have decided instead to dig a big hole in the ground and fill it up with garbage. Every morning a bulldozer comes and digs up the garbage.

Why can’t they place a large garbage bin or two or three more regular sized ones instead of digging a hole?

First of all the lot is heavily surrounded by residential buildings. Second of all there is a mosque just 20 meters away from the hole. Finally people use the lot as a parking lot. Salmiya is over crowded and lacks ample parking and people are forced to park in the sandy lot filled with garbage. At night the lot is pitch black since there isn’t any kind of lighting and people end up parking right next to all the garbage bins and holes. That can’t be healthy.

Hopefully by me posting about this maybe something can be done about this. It’s just too disgusting, I mean it’s a frickin hole in the ground that’s being filled with garbage!


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Elect me as mayor of Salmiya

Post by Mark

Salmiya

I live in Salmiya, Salam Mubarek Street. The “old” Salmiya. I live right on the main shopping street and have been living on this street for most of my life.

Pre 1990 I was living in the building that had A&W, after 1990 I moved to the building across the street from it and thats where I have been living ever since. As you can imagine, I know the street very well. How well?

I remember The New Super Market before it closed down, I remember when Dairy Queen was open here and then shut down and Jashanmal opened instead. I remember buying my Thermos metal lunch box with the Dukes of Hazzard picture on it from there. I remember the night A&W opened with Mister Donuts right next to it. I remember when Majda el Roumi the famous singer came to open a perfume store right across the street from my building. I remember Hungry Bunny, I remember how after they renovated a cookie store opened inside it which had the best chocolate chunk cookies ever. I also remember the sad day when that cookie area inside got closed down.

I remember the high end stores like Channel, Versace and Cartier. It was a high end street and Rolex and Mercedes are still open here today serving as a reminder to what was once a beautiful street. I remember when Kids R Us opened and I remember what was there before it opened and after it closed. I remember the most popular music stores of their time, Soul II Soul, Bells and Swan Lake. I remember buying my original copy of Windows 95 from Computer World, I remember the small video game store on the ground floor of the same building, he had a NeoGeo in the display and I used to watch the Samurai Showdown demo play while I gazed through the glass hoping to own the system one day. I got my first Swatch from Fay stationary, I remember getting my Peter and Jane books from Family Bookshop. Fay shutdown, Family Bookshop is surprisingly still open.

Well my Salmiya isn’t what it used to be. All the upper scale stores shut down and everyones attention moved up to the Sultan Center area. All thats left here are low end stores all selling the same shit. The whole street has turned into a garbage dump. The sidewalk tiles are damaged, the trees look unhealthy, and the worst thing of all, Salmiya is slowly slowly losing its soul.

I was taking a late night walk just a while ago and I noticed the building that housed Swan Lake was going to get demolished. Thats when I realized I need to do something.

Why do old buildings get demolished and not refurbished? Salmiya (and Kuwait even) would look so much nicer if the old buildings were just redone up. Look at what was done with Beirut. They could have demolished everything and sprung up modern glass buildings but instead they decided to keep Beirut’s soul intact. Why can’t that be done here? My Salmiya really has a lot of history, how many other shopping streets in Kuwait can even begin to compare. No other has sidewalks wider then here nor is any other street located in such a good location. No other street has as much history! The Swan Lake building has a style, it can be cleaned up, updated and reopened but instead its going to get demolished and replaced by a cheap ass low end tiny crappy wannabe mall.

I want to be elected as the mayor of Salmiya. I would clean it up, repaint it, re-tile it and revive it. I don’t know who the mayor is now (if there is even such a position here in Kuwait) but I do know that he can’t be a true Salmiya dweller or else he wouldn’t let it die and rot like this. Vote for me, I won’t let everyone down.


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