It’s a Small World!

Trash Collection in Dali Ancient Town, China – In most civilized cultures, the issue of collecting and disposing of garbage is a challenge that community leaders must face. In our own personal experience, we’ve seen good policies (Fort Collins, CO has a great system) and bad policies (let’s just say “a typical Midwest town”).

In our most recent neighborhood in Michigan, it was not uncommon to see as many as 10 Heavy-Duty Refuse Trucks drive into our cul-de-sac street each week…to collect trash from about 15 homes. Not exactly an optimized solution in terms of maintaining streets and reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions!

For a fun example of “cultural differences”, watch this entertaining video to see how trash is collected on Dali’s Ancient Town streets (depending on the speed of your connection, you may need to pause the video and allow time for the download to buffer so the music is clear):

Not only does this local trash collection method include fun and “happy” music to make trash disposal more pleasant, it is also very streamlined, since the residents get a “just-in-time” audio cue that it’s time to get rid of the trash.  As you can see, the workflow is very efficient, since there is very little wasted motion – especially for the driver!  This method also cuts down on unsightly (and smelly) trash cans on Dali’s tourist streets, and generally reduces the inventory of retail/residential trash, since the truck cruises the streets at least once each day.

Now, for the skeptics: I realize this method is not perfect – e.g., it requires that residents be “sitting around” waiting for the trash truck.  But, despite some inefficiencies, you’ve got to admit there are some benefits to this approach.

And that’s really the point – as we learn more about the language and culture here, we find many differences that require us to adapt.  Not “good” or “bad”, just different.  And some differences can be entertaining as well!

Stay tuned as other entertaining and relevant “differences” are shared in future posts!

BTW, many of you have your own “cross-cultural” experiences that these stories may prompt you to recall.  If so, I hope you will drop me a note and share some of your favorite memories.  Please Reply/Comment or send a note to:



Copyright Notice:

© Kevin Beaty, YUNEV and “Feet on the Ground…”, 2014-2015.  All rights reserved.

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