Rubbish in Jeddah

Rubbish in dumpster

Rubbish around bins, NOT in it.

When I first came to Jeddah, I was horrified to see all the rubbish laying around everywhere on the streets.  People walked around it, over it or through it. I thought my goodness what have I come to. One day I was walking down the street when this big black SUV stopped in the traffic. A man opened the door, then proceeded to empty his car of all the rubbish on to the road.  I was shocked and thought how could he do that? I almost was going to say to him “What are you doing“? I refrained as nobody seemed to notice him doing it, even though it was a busy time of the day with traffic beeping behind him. Another time Russell and I were at a top restaurant having a meal looking out of the window. A car stopped in the car park then all the doors opened and a family emptied their rubbish on to the ground of the car park. I later learned why some  people do this.

For many years the people of Jeddah had been use to gangs of foreign workers cleaning up the streets at night. So many didn’t think anything of throwing garbage outside of their houses on to the streets, because they knew it would get cleaned up. However over time the gangs ceased working at night, so the rubbish was still thrown out which caused the rubbish to pile up. Now and again it would get removed.

Lately there has been a big push to clean up the streets of Jeddah. New garbage trucks have been spotted with crews sweeping, and picking up rubbish. The streets closest to the compound have been cleaned up and had most of the rubbish removed. The skip bins are getting emptied more regularly now. It is very encouraging to see this.  It will take time to re-educate some of the people of Jeddah to put rubbish into a bin not around it, or take it home with them and then put it in a bin.


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  • Jivko says:

    This seems to be an Arab cultural trait - they love to be surrounded by rubbish. I’m in Tunisia - it’s the same, they dump their rubbish everywhere (except in their houses and cars I guess).

  • Theory X theory Y says:

    Pray it lasts.

  • Ann says:

    Hi lyn
    When I first got to Jeddah 40 years ago, people just threw their trash over the wall and left it.. which brought rats etc as you can image. There has not been a good enough drive to teach the residents NOT to litter. They are spoiled and expect someone will clean up after their mess. If there were fines and a bigger drive to make people to stop the litter maybe over time it will help.
    But as far as the trash trucks, they were in the process of changing over companies or something, so I am sure it got BAD. And in the better areas of Jeddah will higher end houses things are better than in the poor areas. Sad.

    I am enjoying your views,, keep it up!
    Ann Alhamrani

    • Thank you Ann for your incites and experience of what it is like having lived in Jeddah for a number of years. It would appear the fines won’t happen as people do not say anything.You are right about the better areas they get cleaned up much more. I was amazed when I went walking along the Cornish how people just left the rubbish behind after their picnic. Drinks and food spilled and smeared into the paving. Plastic and rubbish was in the water and on the rocks. Very sad indeed.

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