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Taiwan’s Musical Garbage Trucks

Taiwan is a large island off the coast of China. For many years, it had a smelly problem. People used to throw rubbish from their homes on the streets outside. The large garbage bins supplied by the government used to overflow with rubbish. This, in turn, created a rat and cockroach problem.

Being an island with limited land space, it had little room for garbage sites. All the rubbish piled up and soon Taiwan was nicknamed “Garbage Island”. Experts warned that if nothing was done, Taiwan would face a very serious garbage problem within six years.

So, the island nation ran an ambitious recycling and rubbish collection programme. No one was allowed to throw rubbish at the roadside any more. Instead, all rubbish was to be separated into different bags and a garbage truck would come round the neighbourhoods to collect them.

These garbage trucks are painted bright orange. They have flashing lights to attract residents and to warn other motorists. Residents know the trucks are near when they hear a loud song played by the truck. Different trucks play different tunes. Some play Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” while others play Polish composer Tekla Badarzewska’s “A Maiden’s Prayer”.

The trucks move slowly through the streets. Residents line up outside their homes with their garbage bags in hand. Kitchen rubbish are thrown into the back of the truck. The bags are thrown in by the residents themselves. They line up in an orderly manner, guided by a garbage collection worker.

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limit – as far as something can go
ambitious – grand, big
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