In Barranca, Peru, trash is collected seven days a week. We often say that the collectors should be among the highest paid employees in Peru. They make the rounds every day and are often faced with conditions that would make the rest of us run for cover. As you read the rest of this post, listen to their song (click below).
Household trash can be delivered to the truck as it drives through the neighborhood, or garbage bags can be set streetside, though there is a strong risk they’ll be shredded by loose dogs or seagulls. Large collection bins were introduced about three years ago, but the trucks are not capable of lifting and emptying them, leaving workers to spread a tarp on the ground, empty the bin on it, pitch the trash into the truck, dump the remains into the truck, and move on.
During the pandemic, people stayed indoors, and for many months were not allowed to stroll the sidewalk along the water (malecon), or to walk on the beach, at the risk of a hefty fine. Cooped up indoors, and facing fines for going out, the trash collectors had difficulty in getting people to put out their trash at the correct time. This resulted in a lot of mess on the street from broken bags and garbage strewn along the sidewalk. The city, and all of Peru, came up with a clever solution. Each community has a lively song that is played by the garbage truck as it drives through the neighborhood. It urges people to bring out their trash, place it in an appropriate bin or hand it to garbage collector, stressing this will keep the city clean and help keep everyone healthy. In prior years, a man banged a shovel on the side of the truck to announce the arrival of the garbage truck. This is much more musical, and seems to be effective.