Down here in Uruguay, the natural beauty of the countryside and the lovely coastline is a great source of pride. Many signs tout the slogan "Uruguay Natural" Or "Uruguay, Pais Natural" a catchy phrase created by the Ministry of Tourism. Uruguay is not a heavily industrialized country, it's main industry is agriculture and cattle.
So, why am I talking about trash today (Hoy)? I'm discussing the subject because in my neighborhood and nearby barrios it's a hot topic of concern right now and I am a full-time resident here.
The old ways of thinking that this planet is large enough to absorb all of our waste is wisely being challenged by the newer generations. Still it's a day to day battle of wits between this younger generation and the traditional, old school of thought. I must warn you that I plan on making a 3 part blog on the subject of trash. This subject maybe somewhat boring to you, but I like taking pictures and because I'm experiencing all of this controversy in another language and country, I thought you'd like to see through pictures what I see going on around me.
Signs are going up around our neighborhood of Marindia and nearby Salinas.
Podar is the Spanish word, to prune. Podas must mean your pruning (remember, I'm just learning) So this sign is now discouraging depositing your pruning waste, for example, tree branches from being dumped along the street. This was an old habit of the people, however in the past this pile would have been gathered by the city trucks when you went and informed them of a pile pick up. The second solution to cleaning this up would have been to burn the pile of tree limbs yourself in the street, this is done a lot. Now the city is encouraging you to be responsible for your own pile and to take care of it on your own land.
The towns are trying to put an end to this
See what a nice residential street this is? This street is in the town of Salinas but has a mini trash dump on the corner because people are in the habit of hauling their pruning to the street.
Most home owners burn their piles of wood, sometimes in the middle of the street. This pile was probably added to by workers and gardeners dumping debris from various jobs and now it seems all too easy to add real trash in amongst the branches. Let's look at this next picture.
The ironic part is the sign on the tree above this pile.
The sign says it is "prohibited to throw trash" here and that it would be best to avoid the fines. Arrojar is the Spanish verb meaning, to hurl/to fling/to throw... Basura means trash/garbage.
I can understand piling up the tree trimmings it is organic and in the past was burned on the spot, trash added to it I can't understand. Unlike my old neighborhood in Seattle, Washington (USA) my neighborhood here in Marindia has twice a week trash pickup. The trucks here even pick up extra bags that I leave leaning on the can as well. In Seattle I would have been glared at or even refused the extra bags and told to wait for my next weekly pick up. You'll be happy to know, I now no longer have extra bags or even a lot of trash anymore because of learning to reuse and buy less of everything. We also have a fire ring to handle any tree branches on or own property as the new signs suggest and naturally, we burn larger pieces for heat in our wood stove. I am trying to learn how to blend the old Uruguayan ways with the new, all while trying to figure out in another language what is going on around me.
I think this little guy looks much better in the landscape of our neighborhood than all that trash anyway!
Tomorrow, I'll show you what a local town meeting looks like. That will be the part 2 of the blog on trash.