Apparently, all of Colombo is under water. See, there’s a problem here with garbage…
While garbage collectors are supposed to collect garbage twice a week, it doesn’t always happen. They skip neighborhoods if they’re lazy or feel like taking the day off.
Add to that the fact that there are a lot of stray dogs, cats, goats, cows, and water buffalo around, and the problem becomes even bigger.
Picture, if you will, people putting their garbage out for collection. Most people are too poor to even consider buying garbage cans, so when garbage is put out, it’s in plastic bags. Plastic bags which aforementioned stray dogs tear into in the first five minutes after garbage is put out. Then the cats, cows, and other animals show up and take whatever the dogs have left.
The end result is garbage strewn over the road and sides of the roads.
Add to this the fact that Sri Lanka doesn’t have a piped waste water system. Instead, it has open water drains along the sides of roads. No, not for sewage – while there’s no sewer system, houses here have septic tanks. The open drains are for other water – kitchen, laundry, sinks, showers. And rain.
When you combine strewn garbage, packed in plastic bags, that eventually falls into the open drain system, I think you can probably guess what happens next. The drains clog.
Then monsoons come, and where does the rain go?
Not through the drainage system, that’s for sure. Oh no. It stays in the streets, flooding them.
And that’s what we have. Flooded streets.
Our neighborhood is fine, and we had no problem getting to the department store for grocery shopping, unlike many, many other people in this country. We do pass over one bridge on the way, and we looked at the river underneath. Well, except that it was very nearly not underneath – the river was about a foot below the level of the bridge, which is at least six feet higher than normal.