I aspire to see the day when we no longer need street cleaners. Citizens in the Middle East will have a moment of enlightenment and from that day forward stuff candy bar wrappers in their pocket, or place in appropriate waste disposal bins. Until that happens, we need to better appreciate our street cleaners – the Sukleen contracted street cleaners – argues an activist in Beirut, Lebanon.
One activist there has posted flyers around the streets for people to acknowledge street cleaners. Some signs tell citizens to appreciate them. A majority of the city’s street cleaners are migrant workers, and the residents there see them as non-entities.
“People don’t say good morning to street cleaners, they don’t pay any attention to them in fact,” the activist, a designer who wishes to remain anonymous told the Daily Star.
The designer believes her Sukleen campaign will make people more aware of the rubbish they are throwing on the street: “It’s about raising awareness, about making people realize that throwing trash on the floor is something they should take into consideration, and think carefully about.
“People just expect these street cleaners to tidy up after them so they often do not see anything wrong in throwing rubbish on the ground,” she says.
“It’s just so disrespectful: It’s as if they don’t realize these staff have to do this to make the city cleaner,” she says. The activist herself makes a point of stopping to say hello when she passes a Sukleen worker picking up rubbish.
She first put up about 400 posters in the neighborhood of Hamra and then was contacted by Sukleen administration saying the posters contributed to the garbage problem.
I often the find those that need to be helped the most are the ones to least appreciate it.