The trashy side of Warsaw

This post is brought to you by the delightful – Lon (mochafueled) – who will be available for questions and arguments in the comments section.

Who’s Responsibility….

Lovely clear blue skies, a gentle breeze with a pleasant warm temperature I started my walk along the Wistula River this past Sunday. Starting at Poniatowski Bridge at a little after the lunch hour I started a leisurely walk north towards the Old City along the water front.

View across the Vistula to the new football stadium

I had put out of mind my experience the previous week, World Earth Day, of all the broken glass, discarded beer and wine bottles and overflowing trash cans that I saw along the way. Sadly I was greeted again by broken glass, bottles and trash every few meters along the cement steps that line the water front of the west side of the river all the way to the Old City. But what struck me most was all the people casually sitting or congregating amidst this mess and blight on the river bank. It was if I was experiencing an Emperor has no clothes moment…. All the rubbish but no one see’s or will speak up.

Overflowing trash bins. A cunning plan to make sure there's no space for bombs.

I had also just come from a walk in a park with a Polish friend. When I pointed out to her the bits of bottle caps and trash near our bench she agreed with my disgust but with one difference, she felt no obligation to help clean it up… as a tax payer she felt it was not her job, which left me wondering how many other people feel that the cleanliness of Poland is not their job. I have seen plenty of trash filled parks and roadsides in the last eight months.

Łożma Export, a unique beer with a soul - apparently.

Poland is full of people who love nature; to run, bike, hike, canoe and camp in its beauty. But yet on more than one occasion I have come across filth in public spaces while people just blindly carry on around it. Except for a Facebook post on the US Embassy page I would not have known last Sunday was World Earth Day and Poland was clearly not doing anything special to clean things up. I could put this all down to another 3rd world country too busy with living to care about its public spaces. But Poland is not a 3rd world despot and is supposedly trying to clean itself up for Euro 2012 in a few weeks… but from what I see it matters not what work the local governments do to clean up the city if the people of Warsaw do not pitch in and help. What will greet football fans who venture here will be a dirty city trying to hide its crumbling pieces and dirty parks and roads.

Beer 2 - 0 Vodka

So I ask who is responsible for a clean Warsaw and a clean Poland. Is it the government or the people? It would only take ONE person with a heart to love and clean this city to make a difference and show the world a clean and lovely landscape.

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7 thoughts on “The trashy side of Warsaw

  1. guest says:

    It is a shame Warsaw is not as clean as London, NY or LA. Really.

  2. DC says:

    If this is your belief, it’s interesting that you did not tell us how much trash you collected while you were out taking pictures of it.

    A despot is a person. Poland, of course, is a country.

  3. mochafueled says:

    Interesting comments so far. Basically attack the writer type comments or deflection… ie what about the other guy.

    How about a little insight into why Polish people seem to show little care for public places / community property. Don’t “hey what about this or that country or person”. Why not say hey look at the Swiss we should aim to be as clean in our parks and have water as safe to swim in and drink. I am spending a few days in lovely green Upper Silesia. Very green and beautiful with lovely rivers but still blighted by bottles and trash. Why? One suggestion ban glass alcohol bottles from parks (as that is 99% of the glass I have noticed)…. if you can think of banning a plastic bag while not a bottle that would go a long way.

    Of course my home country, American is not perfect either but that is not the point. Caring for your space is a job for everyone. I hope Poland could grow up and care and maybe be a little more like Zurich (

    Let’s hear some constructive thoughts?

  4. DC says:

    Are you the author of the article? Lon = mochafueled?

  5. guest says:

    Switzerland is a clean country because guys like Hussain, Bin Laden or Ghadaffi wash their dollars there.

    Clean countries are either very rich or very suppressive.

  6. scatts says:

    DC. Yes.

    By the way, I think Poland is generally a very clean country, certainly when compared to my home nation. This is partly because there are 500 million more trash bins in Warsaw than in London (a hangover from IRA days, perpetuated by other terrorists) and partly because Poles are just a hell of a lot cleaner than Brits. I know I often used to throw small bits of rubbish from the car window in the UK (because it was a drop in the ocean) but I have not and would not do so here.

    However, I do agree that Lon has a point which is in danger of being overlooked. Poland could be even better and does have a particular problem with alcohol containers – to go with the alcohol problem!

  7. A trashy side of Warsaw?!?
    Warsaw is trashy whichever way you look at it.
    Ha! Now I’ll roll over, go for my throat!
    (tongue firmly in cheek)

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