600 municipal workers killed in Bagdad in nine months
By Ammar al-Khafaji
Azzaman, February 4, 2007
The Baghdad municipality is finding it hard to recruit workers to clean the city and collect mounting garbage dumps from its streets.
The unwillingness to work, despite rampant unemployment, is due to the upsurge of violence in the city, which, according to the Mayor Saber al-Isawi, has claimed the lives of more than 600 municipal workers.
“This more than the number of U.S troops killed in the same period,” says Isawi.
He said it has become almost impossible to persuade part-time workers, the bulk of the municipality’s workforce, to take up jobs in the city particularly in very restive areas.
As a result, most Baghdad streets are littered with garbage and garbage mounds pile up in open spaces and squares.
Um Ala from the Suleikh district says garbage has been left uncollected in her area for more than a year.
Ahmad Jabbar from Mansoor, which used to be one of Bagdad’s smartest districts, said waste dumps in the area were increasing in volume in the absence of garbage trucks.
He said no waste collection vehicles have visited the area in the past four months.
Ahmad Kadhem from the Hitteen district said the garbage dumps in his area are being used by “criminals and terrorists” to perpetrate acts of violence.