After living in Germany for five years, one thing that has always bothered me about living in southeast Asia is how dirty things can be. Not everything, not all the time, but generally speaking, the average KL or Bangkok street is a heck of a lot dirtier than the average street in Munich.
Unfortunately, these countries do not have the same kind of government infrastructure as many European countries do (we even had little mini street sweepers to do the sidewalks and bike lanes in Munich), nor do they have the extensive financial resources to make recycling and garbage pickup a priority (we had recycling containers for glass that included separate bins for white, green, brown, clear, and blue glass on every street corner). Plus, the education piece is still missing – many people in this region of the world (especially in rural areas) do not understand how open sewage and garbage affects the heath of people and the health of the planet.
However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t try their best to make every street as clean and safe as they can. Here in our local neighborhood, our streets are hand swept every day, and each corner has it’s own little set of cleaning supplies:
Look closely… You can see that the both the garbage basket and the broom have been handmade out of local materials. What a great way to keep the streets clean!