Column: Talking trash in America, other countries

  • Posted: 4/27/2013 1:08 PM
    6/1/2013 5:51 PM

The remarkable cleanliness by which Americans tend to live is sort of a refreshing surprise to many foreigners.

To locals, including one at Fox Creek, their opinion’s are that our society is a little more attentive and concerned about appeal and perception; therefore, when we clean, we get down to the nitty-gritty.

Yet, I would add that for Americans, it begins a little earlier. For most of us, our social conscience tells us if we have trash, put it in the garbage can. Whereas, in other countries, that awareness seems to be developed differently.

Let’s face it; America has more progressive forms of waste management than other countries. When we pull our trash can to the edge of the road, we expect that the next morning, it will be picked up. We pay taxes, it better!

Comments from friends suggest that the attention to detail put in by our local governments to keep our roads, shopping plazas and neighborhoods free of unwanted garbage is nearly unheard of in other countries.

In many Latin American countries, garbage is picked up but usually at a less consistent rate than here.

For the most part, I can agree with that statement.

Having traveled to many foreign countries and just recently returning from Costa Rica, the level of cleanliness is significantly different.

In Costa Rica’s case, though, I would not go as far as to say that it was dirty; rather that the way cleaning was handled was different.

Thinking back for a moment to the pale gray and yellow streets of San Jose, I cannot help but recall how I found the country’s capital to be clean in its own right.

San Jose is a highly congested area.

Nearly 60 percent of the countries total population lives in the central valley where Costa Rica is located. For that level of urbanization, you would expect some trash.

Primarily, though, I feel the difference seems to be with how construction of roads and buildings are dealt.

Any time there is construction, either here or anywhere, debris and excess materials seem to scoot to unwarranted areas.

When I see what I would consider to be a messy area, this is what I think of.

Every day on my way to work, I drive down Edgefield Road in front of where the patch of land where the Walmart is to be built.

To my left, next to Advance Auto Parts, I’ve noticed that some construction on that intersection is being done.

I watched the other day as one of the workers laid down a tool and stopped what he was doing to get a piece of some material off the edge of the road; something that I cannot say for certain I would have seen in Costa Rica or even Puerto Rico, where my family is from.

I am proud that our community values curb appeal and cleanliness the way it does; a value I wish so many places had.

Not to initiate a turf-war, but having grown up on the other side of the river, trips to the Palmetto State always were much more enjoyable because, as a whole, I felt it was much cleaner.

Keep it up. The efforts don’t go unnoticed.