With welfare and prosperity come luxury-problems. One of these problems in one of the richer parts in Belgrade, the Old Town, is that more and more people have dogs. And these dogs shit on the street.
The government is trying to fix this problem, but is making mistake after mistake. This resulted in the fact that the cure became worse than the problem…
A few years ago, I saw the introduction of the dogshit trash cans on the streets of Belgrade. Although they didn’t look too bad, with their dark-green colour and somewhat classic design, they didn’t do the job. The shit cans have a compartment for plastic bags with the idea that people would take a bag to pick up the shit their dog leaves on the street. However, the compartments were hardly ever filled with new bags. I guess it made dog-owners think that if there are no bags, they don’t have to pick up the shit. By installing bag-compartments, the government provided a service that prevented people from bringing their own bag.
So after a few months the streets were filled with dogshit and dogshit trash cans. What to do? Shit-experts, shit-government-officials and shitizens got together to come up with the answer: place new dogshit cans! Not the stylish old green ones, but extremely ugly orange and chrome ones. Because 100 of these cans had to be placed in one go, it was decided not to waste to much time on installing them. Drilling three bolts per can in the street should be enough. It turned out to be enough for the first week, after which the first shit cans started falling over.
In this month’s issue of the ‘Old Town’ magazine the new shit cans are proudly presented. In a 2.0-style democratic way citizens could send an e-mail to suggest where to put the new shit cans. The responsible spokesperson proudly states that a grand total of 11 (!) e-mails were received which resulted in 18 shit cans placed on places the citizens wanted. Or better: where 0,01 % of citizens wanted. Some of the 0,01 % of citizens indicated that they wanted new shit cans on the same place as the old shit cans. So new shit cans were placed next to the old ones.
The other day I was trying to avoid stepping in a pile of dog-shit, which almost made me trip over an old neglected shit-can, after which I eventually hit a new neglected shit-can…
Elections are planned in May 2012, so this is the time Belgrade will see many streets getting renovated and initiatives being started. Many people in Serbia have given up on politics and even some of my most politically engaged friends who were risking their lives to bring Milosevic down now told me they will not even go vote anymore. And I understand why when I walk down my street: If Serbian politicians cannot even solve the smallest shit (even making it worse), how can you trust them to deal with the Big Shit?
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