Shortly before I left on my jollies this summer, I received a notice on my front gate informing me that as part of a city-wide beautification program, the traditional dumpsters were being removed and each house would be issued with a green bin and a daily collection service would be provided.
My thoughts sort of went like this:
1. Awesome! No more long walks to the dumpsters. Finally!
2. I wonder when it'll start? Probably not for ages.
3. Daily collection? Isn't that excessive?
4. I wonder what the bin cats are going to do?
I have to admit that I was surprised to discover on my return to discover that every house on our street had smart new green bins outside them, and there were no longer any dumpsters to be found. That is every house on my street, except my house.
I've no idea if I had a bin issued to the house, and it was "re-positioned" by one of my neighbours, or if I simply didn't get one as an error or something. Anyway, faced with the prospect of becoming a garbage hoarder and welcoming the neighbourhood rats and cats to move into my yard, I set about figuring out how to get a bin quickly.
I learned that I needed to call the baladiya, who's number is 1111, and let them know that I needed a bin delivered. I rang 1111 (at 7pm at night), selected English and after the menu opted to speak to an operator - it rang, and then the call was answered and then hung up on instantly. Here we go I thought, welcome back to Oman! So I called again, and this time the call was answered promptly by a very well spoken lady, who's command of English was excellent, she even managed to spell my name correctly without prompting (something I assure you is a rarity for me). I explained the problem to her and she said she'd notify the correct department and they'll be in touch. Perfect. I'd assumed that this would be a week (or more) long process. A few seconds after the call ended, I received a SMS from 1111 informing me of my case number and giving details on how to follow up. Well that was efficient I thought. I was genuinely shocked to receive a call to my cell phone at 8am the next morning from a man who told me he had a green bin for me, and he just wanted to re-confirm the address with me.
By the time I got home that afternoon, a new green bin was waiting outside my gate, and I had another text message received saying that my case had been closed and would it be possible for me to give feedback via an online questionnaire by clicking a link in the SMS?
What an amazing speed of service. I imagine trying to get the county council in the UK to issue a new green bin to me would of taken ages, and there would presumably have had to have been a number of surveys and fees to have been paid. Honestly, bravo to the people at Muscat Municipality on the 1111 service - I was truly impressed in how effective they were.
As for the green bin service, it's been great, but I'm horrified at the amount of waste my house is producing, we can quite easily fill the thing in 2 days - I must work to reduce our household waste now - quite hard when there's no recycling to speak of here!
Speaking of, does anyone know if people are still collecting aluminium cans to sell to "the takers" in India? Is there any point in continuing to bag the cans separately?
Do you have green bins yet? Have you tried calling 1111 for something?