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Press Release

Baghdad, Iraq



Contact:   Thomas J. Basile

Office of Strategic Communications





Baghdad, Iraq…August 17, 2003—All Baghdad residents, regardless of social or economic status, have access to garbage collection for the first time in city history this week.  The Coalition Provisional Authority in conjunction with the City of Baghdad is proud to announce the establishment of the first city-wide garbage collection system. 


Under the regime of Saddam Hussein only the most prominent Baghdad residents received garbage collection services.  No consistent, universal system existed except in the wealthiest areas of town.   Even then, garbage was collected only if residents tipped the city workers who came into their neighborhoods.


This week, more than 1400 trucks have begun running a series of new routes reaching every part of the city.  The trucks run two to three times per day to collect the more than 22,000 tons of waste generated every week.  It is the first time that residents will have these services regardless of social or economic status.


Faris Abdul Razaq Al-Aasam Deputy Mayor for the Municipality stated, “This is a dramatic step forward toward improving the quality of life for millions of Iraqis. Under Saddam, residents’ garbage often piled up for weeks, or was never collected.  The regime simply didn’t care about the health risks of this neglect on the city’s population.”  


Under the former regime, the vast majority of Baghdad residents, left trash along the streets, incinerated it in their yards or brought the refuse to a neighborhood location where it was continuously burned.


Trash burning and the piling up of refuse have dramatic human health effects.  The old system contributed to an environment where disease could spread.  The constant burning of refuse also released toxins into the air creating dangerous breathing conditions.   


“This was not about getting a system back up.  This was about putting a system in place for the first time,” stated Henry Bassford Senior Advisor to the CPA for Baghdad.  “Everyone deserves to live on a clean street.  This new system will help the people of Baghdad reach that goal.”


The Coalition and the City are in the process of developing a public awareness campaign about the garbage removal system to educate residents with the routes, pick-up times and days.  Plans are also underway for the creation of Iraq’s first environmentally friendly landfill and recycling facilities.




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