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>“There have been times I've had garbage in my hands and I've had to carry it with me all day, because there are no bins anywhere,” he remembered.

Boo hoo. Tokyo has no public trash cans and it is immaculate. The people there just care about the place they live in and don't burn shit to heat their houses.

This comment is an example of something we desperately need less of on Hacker News. It's predictable, racist, and has a complete lack of intellectual curiosity. Please do not do this here.

I was painting with a broad brush, and for that I apologize. It was a swift - perhaps too pointed - response to an exasperated whine from someone with an expectation of luxury when none was necessary, or deserved. "Why isn't there someone else to clean this up for me?" just wreaks of entitlement. Japan has its share of problems, but their culture teaches the importance and value of clean common spaces, and the individual citizen's part in keeping them that way, from childhood. [1]

1. http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/04/04/396621542/without-...

In India, dung is used as fuel, sometimes out of necessity, sometimes ritualistically.[2]

2. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/Indias-Newest-Inter...

Politics in india pits ethnic group against ethnic group, caste against caste, in order to keep power and accomplish as little as possible. The economy is improving, but it appears to be stratifying, with radical divergence between the lifestyles of the richest and poorest. The wealthy are able to live in bubbles of luxury private development, blissfully unaware of the suffering just outside the gates. [3]

3. http://ideas.ted.com/skyscrapers-but-no-sewage-system-meet-a...

I'm bringing a lot of baggage, coming from a country where labor isn't cheap and the population isn't over a billion, but there is something to the value of human life here that I thought was universal. Maybe the expectations flip around when there are so many people that it would be cruel not to offer more garbage pickup jobs.

That smells a bit like a broken window fallacy though.

Ha! Yeah, I was at a train station in Jaipur and talking with a security guard who pointed at the metre high piles of garbage between the tracks and said, "They only have one rubbish bin here, so people throw their trash wherever." I'm like, uh, there's a metre high pile of garbage. Maybe carry your shit with you.

In the distance a herd of goats crossed the piles and paused to eat every so often, so I guess there's that.

Tokyo, interestingly, has about the same nominal GDP as the whole of India.

Oh, that must be it. Indian people care less than people of other nationalities, and it has nothing to do with... say, drastic disparities in the quality of public infrastructure.

Civilization isn't a thing that just happens. You have to work for it.

While your answer is a bit flippant it should not be voted down. Lot of reasons for the pollution and sanitary conditions. You can't expect people who work 12 hours a day but sill have a tiny amount of money to be civic champions but there are plenty of middle class and above do needless anti social actions.

Just need more people to push back against things like driving on the sidewalk, queue jumping, and blatant garbage dumping. Sometimes I do and the offenders generally listen or are shamed to stop for at least a bit.

> Oh, that must be it. Indian people care less than people of other nationalities, and it has nothing to do with... say, drastic disparities in the quality of public infrastructure.

Public infrastructure in India ultimately derives from the people. India has had 60+ years of independent, democratic rule. Blame for the lack of public infrastructure can't even be shifted entirely onto the colonial rule: India had some of the earliest hydroelectric power stations and pretty good rail infrastructure set up during that period.

Different cultures assign different values to various things. India collectively has not assigned a huge value to public hygiene. This is evidenced by things like the paan chewing and spitting mentioned in this discussion. This is socially acceptable in most parts of the country.

Slowly, things may change.

At end of day someone needs to take those trash for recycling or dumping. Garbage collectors don't come to each house in most cities in India. I live i tier 2 city. Garbage collection from each house started recently. Now you garbage bins are rare. City is one of the top ten cleanest city in India. But to note that total population of city is very less, its highly educated.

What city?

Cities in Korea have no trash cans too. Clean, clean, clean. I had to carry my trash everywhere, but whatever.

Why don't they have trash cans?

Terrorism fears: they removed them after the 1995 gas attack on the subway, and never really added them back.

Uhhh... so like, what about that whole thing where, like, someone could simply disguise a deadly device as a big old pile of garbage?

Am I the first person to have that idea?

I think I see a way to get the trash cleaned up real quick. Burner phones are cheap there, right?

Not everywhere though. I was reading this comment as I got off the Yamanote line at Shinagawa and literally stared straight at trash bins. They do have see through plastic panels and see through plastic bags, for the reason you stated.

They only have trash bins at train stations because people drink and eat on the train. In the city there is nothing elsewhere.

The UK also has terrorism concerns, originating from the IRA days.

But they didn't abolish trash cans (or better, they replaced them with a metal ring and the bag stays visible)

They did abolish rubbish bins for many years. It's only about 5 years ago that the metal ring type was introduced


If this is true, I think this probably ranks high up there among the daftest of management responses for such a thing as "terrorism".

If the world and its manual processes were programs and code, these stories would be front page of the The Daily WTF.

Head hurts.

It turns out to be great for sanitation. People carry their garbage out with them and so you don't end up with overflow and rats. NYC is trialing it for the sanitation reasons alone

It's hard not to read this as "the solution to a city government abdicating its responsibilities is to abdicate them even further. Problem solved."

Like, why not just do away with all those pesky municipal services people pay taxes for? It'd be so much easier.

Except there are real examples in the world where it really works. The data is compelling.

The data is cherry-picked. Look at this very article for a counterpoint.


Without the bins in London, there was close to zero "clutter" in underground stations. That makes it much easier to monitor for suspicious packages.

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