Overflowing Waste Receptacles Create an Unpleasant Environment Along Carolina MacGillavrylaan

By Adesholla Bishop

Collage by Amal

— Only about 500 meters lie between the farthest section of the dorms and the entrance of AUC’s Academic Building but, for students who make this commute on a daily basis, the trash that regularly litters the bike path – a consequence of students leaving their trash beside the frequently-overflowing waste receptacles – has made this walk a dreaded part of the day. 

Second-year Science major Laura Cossu walks this stretch of Carolina MacGillavrylaan up to six times a day, and she attests to the distaste that many students have for the current situation. “My friends and I will be walking back from class and trying to have a nice conversation, but we can’t because the trash all over the bike path smells horrible so we have to rush inside to get away from it,” she says. 

Yet, despite their aversion toward this unsightly, rancid waste, students continue to contribute to the issue by leaving their trash beside the bins. Many cite the designated waste receptacles being overstuffed as a reason for this.

“I live in the last building so I’ll go across the street and that one’s just as full,” says second-year Humanities major Izabella Martin-Kovács, recounting how the various waste receptacles along the street are often full simultaneously. 

Third-year Social Science major Bella Bourgeois describes a similar dilemma. “I went down [to the waste receptacles] so many different times to see if they were empty and I could put them [cardboard boxes] in, but literally every single time I went down they were full,” she says. Bourgeois eventually resorted to stacking her boxes beside the bins as she had seen other students do, and was later issued a fine of 95 euros by Amsterdam’s municipality for this offense. She called the municipality in response to the fine, asking “what am I supposed to do when they’re [the receptacles] always, always full?”

According to the municipality website, “[c]ontainers that are full … can be reported” via either a contact form or by calling a specific phone number. DUWO caretaker Adel El-Sabagh is well-acquainted with these processes. He consistently has to ask the municipality to collect the waste from Carolina MacGillavrylaan. Despite his regular requests, he states that it has sometimes taken up to two weeks for the municipality to empty any of the offending waste receptacles.

“Thousands of students live on Carolina MacGillavrylaan. We have a lot of trash and we live in small rooms, so nobody is going to keep their trash in their room and wait a few weeks for the bins to be empty,” Cossu says in response to this. “I totally get the purpose of the fines, but it’s not fair that we’re punished because we’re trying to live with a problem that they [the municipality] have created.”

The municipality did not respond to The Herring’s requests for comment.

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