Trash piles add up outside Aleppo


March 9, 2014

TALKING TRASH: Amidst oil shortages and ongoing violence, trash fills entire stretches of the town of al-Bab, 15 kilometers northeast of Aleppo, in a video published by the Aleppo News Network on Saturday.

“The liberated neighborhoods of Aleppo have been shelled by barrel bombs from government forces, faced the fleeing of its population and the absence of any [public] services,” says a reporter, adding that “trash has accumulated hugely in liberated areas.”

A drive-by shot of mountains of trash appears to go on for at least a mile.

Trash accumulation in residential neighborhoods can lead to the spread of disease and can poison ground water. But local organizations are hamstrung in their efforts due to a lack of resources and amidst an ever-changing security situation.

The reporter in the video says the responsibility for trash collection normally falls on “Local Councils,” most of which are funded are by the Syrian National Coalition, the internationally backed opposition group based in Istanbul.

A “shortage of gasoline to operate the trash vehicles stopped the Local Council from removing the trash,” the correspondent says. When the Islamic State of Iraq and a-Sham captured the city on January 13, the Local Councils were further hindered in their efforts.

Trash collection “can serve as a proxy indicator for administrative effectiveness” of local governance groups, the Washington, D.C.-based strategic consulting firm Caerus reported in February.

Across the city of Aleppo, Caerus reported that, “though some areas of opposition-held Aleppo have excellent trash removal services, others remain woefully underserved.” At one point in 2013, one-third of the garbage trucks in Aleppo were operational, the report stated, citing an Aleppo-based journalist.

Video courtesy of Aleppo News Network.

March 9,2014

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