Waste management in Tunis

A city discovers recycling

Waste management in Tunis

Jörg Nauman is from Tunis’s twin city Cologne. When giving us a tour around the city, he shows us several ways Tunis attempts to tackle its waste problem.

In some suburbs, in addition to regular garbage bins, you’ll also find underground systems. These are are underground bins, whose only visible part is an opening protruding from the ground. Through this opening, the city’s inhabitants can easily dispose their waste. The containers have to be emptied by a special-purpose vehicle, which removes the large garbage bags with a crane.

The real issue, however, is recycling: only if recycling is done properly, there is a chance to reduce the amount of waste. This is why, in addition to the underground systems, there are also collection containers for PET bottles. At first, we thought that emptying these containers is also done by the city. Turns out we were wrong: waste collectors walk by with their handcarts and take the bottles from the containers so that they can sell the raw material.

“Putting up recycling containers is not enough”, says Jörg Naumann. “There is not much awareness for waste separation among the population. Containers are either ignored, or used for all kinds of waste collectively.” First of all, he says, there is the need to familiarize the people with the concept of recycling – and to present its benefits. Increasing public awareness for these topics is what Jörg Naumann considers to be his core job. Tomorrow, he’ll show us how exactly he goes about this.

People may make fun of the stereotypical German thoroughness – especially when it comes to waste separation. However, there is no denying that waste management made in Germany has become a true export hit, Tunis being happy to profit from Cologne’s experiences.

Expert on municipalities, Jörg Naumann (second from left), supports the town twinning of Cologne and Tunis.