Why Garbage Cans Disappear in India: A Story (in Pictures)

One in every 5 humans that inhabits planet earth dumps his/her garbage in India.


Hence, one would expect an organized and efficient system of garbage collection/disposal to be a fundamental condition of nation management.  However, garbage has a whole different story in India.  And here it is in pictures.

At first glance it seems that there is no special place for garbage in India! There is garbage everywhere.

It is dumped under trees like this

Empty cartons and plates from the million food vendors that one sees everywhere in India, are piled on the pavements like this

Some of it is very dangerous, like this broken glass in the middle of a pavement

Some of it very offensive, like this broken toilet discarded in the middle of another pavement

Some of it creates breeding grounds for waterborne diseases like malaria, like this giant bath-tub just left in the middle of a road

But then there is a surprise revelation.   There’s an indication that the public actually wants public garbage cans to use. 

They are using the wire caging around the city trees as garbage cans like this

So why doesn’t the government put up garbage cans?

Actually it does.  They look like little ‘huts’ like the one below with a sign on top that reads ‘USE ME’ [Note this is not an advertisement for Kinley]

Inside each garbage ‘hut’ is a bin which the garbage collector is supposed to empty out every day.  Which they often don’t.  So the garbage overflows and sometimes people pull the bin out of the hut and continue plying it with garbage like this

However, a more dire fate of the garbage hut is — it begins to disappear!

It’s made of metal and cemented solidly into the ground, so it can’t walk off or be uprooted.  But the garbage ‘hut’ – its body and container start disappearing one by one. So in places you have just a skeletal frame with nothing to throw your garbage into like this below

Sometimes people use the frame for storage, like the fruit vendor in this photo uses it to stash his fruit basket while he works

But  gradually even the frame disappears, till you are left with only the stumps!!!

Where are India’s garbage cans disappearing? 

They are going into someone’s pocket who sells them for scrap metal.  There’s a lot of money in scrap metal.  Recently, the wife of a Member of the Legislative Assembly was caught for selling scrap metal! In fact scrap metal is a multi-billion dollar global industry today, with India and China as its biggest buyers.

Corruption sure is filthy, but in India filth also breeds corruption!

Leave a comment


  1. ujjwal banthia

     /  June 6, 2012

    This survey will help me in achieving my goal of clean India

  2. Lana

     /  July 12, 2012

    I live in North America and visited India two years ago. I must say that the people are really nice and the food super delicious. However, I was disgusted with the amount of garbage littered on the streets. Garbage was piled everywhere and the smell of human excrement was overpowering. Men were shamelessly urinating anywhere they pleased!

    I saw a few school children littering on the streets, even though there was a garbage bin nearby. I called after them to pick up the candy wrappers that they dropped and asked them to deposit them in the garbage bin. They were puzzled that I asked them to do that!

    Children are the future and should be taught from a young age not to litter. I even saw billboard signs that said: “Keep India clean” and just below the sign, there were people littering.

    Another huge problem in India is the large number of stray dogs and cats and pigs that roam the streets. How about sterilization for these animals?

    India has been branded abroad as a dirty, filthy place. In order to attract more tourists to visit, India needs to do a major clean up!! While in India, I spoke to other foreign tourists, and this is their main complaint. Some of them stated that they would not return, nor would they recommend India as a travel destination to their friends at home.

    Come on India…time for a clean-up….Get the children and young people involved. Rope in the bollywood movie stars for help.


    • Rita Banerji

       /  July 13, 2012

      Thank you Lana. People are often too hesitant to say this when they visit afraid it may seem rude. But really this is concern — not just in how disgusting it can get, but I’ve often argued that if we clean up India we could clean out 50% of the diseases here without any medical care!!


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