Sana'a's Street cleaners officially hired
The street cleaners started their strike on February 2, allowing the capital city's streets to accumulate two weeks' worth of garbage. According to Ibrahim Al-Surabi, Director of Waste Management at the Cleaning Fund Project, more than 10,000 tons of garbage piled up on Sana'a's streets.
According to street cleaner Naeema Ali, the government last week promised them that they would officially be hired on March 21, one month after Yemen's early presidential Election Day. Ali claimed the promise included the hiring of 50,000 street cleaners, an increase in salaries, and Friday off from work.
She said that they were promised increased monthly salaries of no less than 30,000 rials.
Previously, street cleaners were paid at the end of each month according to the number of days worked. If they missed a day, 750 rials would be deducted from their wages.
According to Al-Surabi, the street cleaners presently face a huge burden in collecting the 10 thousand tons of garbage that accumulated during the two-week strike.
Al-Surabi said these days, following the conclusion of their strike, street cleaners are daily collecting 1,500 tons of garbage. On a normal day, they would collect a thousand tons of garbage from the municipality of Sana’a, Sana’a governorate, and Amran.
There is no recycling plan for garbage, save a few tons of paper and plastic collected by a recycling company.
"We have huge mountains of garbage in Al-Azraqeen outside Sana’a. The garbage covers an area of 3.5. kilometers, and reaches a height of 80 to 90 meters,”said Al-Surabi. He said that they now plan to expand the garbage dump.
According to Abbas Al-Sharafi, head of the Cleaning Fund Administration's operational unit, the only way to minimize the space taken up by the garbage would be to condense it, thereby allowing extracted liquid to channel into the sewage system.
The garbage is then covered with a layer of sand to stop it from polluting the air.
"Condensing the garbage is, however, not the best way to dispose of the garbage .This method affects the environment in many detrimental ways, especially when liquid extracted from the garbage leaks from the sewage and into groundwater supplies," said Al-Sharafi.