It is arguable that if many people were consulted, they would opt for refuse disposal sites to be situated far away from residential areas and places of business. There would be efficient garbage collection services (Meesters, 2009). However, this is not the case in many of the residential areas. The garbage collection services are inefficient either due to mismanagement or inadequacy of resources. In some residential areas, the efforts by the local authorities are complemented by private garbage collection firms (Mwangi, 2002) in order to eliminate the health hazards (Rajvaidya & Markandey, 2005).
It is this situation that justifies the choice of this theme for analysis. In exploring this theme, I will use information obtained from the interviews performed on the residents of South Henderson Community. The analysis of the information will highlight the perspectives of these residents regarding what aspects in this theme they would want changed in order to lead a more quality life. The data analysis and exploration of this theme will also underscore the challenges faced in this community with regards to rubbish and the prospective solutions to the challenges highlighted (United Nations, 2003).
I considered the concept of “rubbish” in order to get other words through which I could explore the concept in the interviews performed in the residents of South Henderson Community. The complete opposite of this theme is a clean neighborhood. In the South Henderson Community, the change would occur from the dirt created by the rubbish to the concept of clean. Using the semiotic square, a tool through which one can generates words which have either a complementary or contrasting meaning of the key word identified, I generated a continuum of “rubbish versus clean.” This continuum represents the extremes which form the boundaries of what the residents in the South Henderson Community would like to see change.
Using the semiotic square above, I generated several words through which I could explore the concept of rubbish in the South Henderson Community through the interview performed on the members of this community.
Justification of Themes
Rubbish is definitely a common theme in South Henderson Community. Besides the fact that some parts of the neighborhood are littered with rubbish, it is also evident that the residents have opinions about some of the things that they would like changed with regards to rubbish in the neighborhood. For instance, when Rachel, one of the participants was asked about some of the things she did not like in the Southern Henderson Community, she said, “The untidiness, there is a lot of litter, people just throwing there rubbish and junk food wrappers on the ground, there’s like beer cans and stuff.” From this response, one can infer that it is not just random littering. There is a lot of refuse left around/that is not collected; so much so that she describes the place as untidy. This response also gives an indication of the source of this refuse.
Her response shows that the main source of this refuse is from the other residents of the community who dispose of beer cans and the wrappers of junk food all over the compound. Her response also elicits many other questions. For instance, are there convenient garbage bins in which people can dispose the refuse? Is it that the garbage bins are conveniently placed in the community but people are unwilling to use them? When asked about specific times or places in the community where the rubbish is a menace, Rachel said, “Nah it’s just everywhere all the time, I haven’t seen any of it being picked up either.” Even though this partly answers some of the questions raised above, more information would ventilate on the situation even further. The concept of a clean environment is one with which the respondents identified. For instance, when asked about other things that she would want changed, Rachel confided,
“The greenery. My landlord has just recently last week pulled out the garden
at the side of the house and she wants to take the grass out the back where the
other houses are and lay concrete but there is already three houses there. She
wants to build a big deck around the house. I am a bit disappointed but I haven’t
told her that I want like a cleaner environment, like not all concreted and stuff.”
This corroborates the desire for a clean environment in which to rear their families. It was also important to find out who was responsible for collecting the rubbish and whether these responsibilities were being met. In this respect, Rachel said,
“You can combine I guess greenery and litter in the environment category. Like, Henderson is quite a green area, there is bush and parks but just litter everywhere which ruins it. Its green but it aint clean I guess. It’s more walking into Henderson where there are no rubbish bins, where all the rubbish is. Where there are rubbish bins it is well kept I think People just need to hold onto their rubbish and pick it up when they see it, like I would if I had gloves but some things you just don’t want to touch, definitely not with your bare hands anyway.”
“Because it’s a main back street also to miss the Henderson traffic you do get a lot of people driving past and yelling out drunk. People throwing bottles out of their cars and smashing them on the road. I had bottles smashing wake me up just before 6am last Saturday morning.”
This is a common theme showing that the residents are responsible for littering their own communities. When Jane was interviewed, she shared some perspectives on the theme of rubbish in the community. In her response she said, “And then the next day you’ve got broken bottles everywhere you’ve got rubbish everywhere and it just really gets on my nerves!” This still shows that there is irresponsibility in the disposal of wastes in the community (Singh, 2015). This has been a prevailing cause of littering in the community.
“I just hate how, unaware they are of litter and littering, especially after rubbish day neighbours. Like how can you just leave like a pile of rubbish sitting on your lawn after rubbish day, like just pick it up! Put it in the rubbish! Out on the street I am just constantly picking up rubbish.”
This shows that there is formalized garbage collection program in the community. Form her response; it is evident that this is done on regular days. Her response also shows that the residents leave their garbage on the lawns, as soon as the garbage has been collected. The evidence that there are formal garbage collection services is show by Freddy where he said,
“We have a bit for plastics that gets picked up every fortnight. We pay a fee to council once a year I think to pick up the other rubbish ahhh, it’s not very much $23 I think a year and they come and take our organic waste away once a month
This shows that garbage collection services, however inefficient they may be are still there.
The analysis has shown that the theme is prevalent in the community. In addition to this, other sub-themes have also been highlighted. The sub-themes are important in the formulation of solutions which are both practical and sustainable. Behavior change is required in order to stop the unrestricted littering of the compound. The residents also need to exercise responsibility in how they dispose their refuse. As an element in the behavior change model, it is vital for the residents to understand that by littering their community, they are electing health hazards for themselves and their children who use the open space for play. This can be institutionalized through community-based programs that ensure compliance. This is because even if the garbage collection services are improved, the residents will still be required to exercise responsibility in the disposal of wastes. The community can instate mass education in order to education the other residents. Additionally, by-laws that apply stiff penalties for littering can be used in order to motivate compliance among the residents.
Meesters, J. (2009). The meaning of activities in the dwelling and residential environment: A structural approach in people-environment relations. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
Mwangi, S. W. (2002). Challenges of urban environmental governance: Participation and partnerships in Nakuru Municipality, Kenya. Amsterdam. University of Amsterdam.
Rajvaidya, N., & Markandey, D. K. (2005). Environmental pollution control. New Delhi: A.P.H. Pub. Corp.
Singh, R. B. (2015). Urban development challenges, risks and resilience in Asian mega cities. Tokyo. Springer.
United Nations. (2003). Cities and sustainable development: Lessons and experiences from Asia and the Pacific. New York: United Nations.