Madang’s Rubbish Problem

Madang has a rubbish problem. That means “trash problem” for those from the US.

That’s one of the first things we heard when we arrived here. I thought…”what does that mean?” What it means is this: you never quite know when people are going to come pick up the trash. It could be this week. It could be next week. It could be in several weeks. So far, the trash truck has visited us twice since December 7th. Thus, everyone has to improvise on taking care of their own trash. And they do it in four ways: Burn it. Bury it. Recycle it. Throw it away.

Burn It


Trash Burning Area


Trash Burning Area


In the above pictures you have our trash burning area! Here is where everything that can be burned goes. As far as we can tell, this includes everything except diapers, tin cans, glass and coke cans. So paper and plastic all get burned. Living in Madang, you constantly smell burning paper, plastic and grass. (Some future blog post may be about things here that may shorten our life span…like breathing in burning plastic every day.)


Bury It


Compost Area


Compost Area


Compost Bucket


Well, I think eventually it gets buried. This is where all biodegradable items go. In the US, we call this a compost pile. At night, all the frogs love this area.

Recycle It

Coke cans, glass bottles. I’m not actually sure where these things actually go. But someone out there is usually interested in collecting them, so we place them in their own special bin.

Throw it Away

Trash Bins

Trash Bins

In our house, we have a bin for food and other biodegradable items, a bin for burnable items, a bin for “recyclable” items, and a bin for throw away items. In the US, we had two bins. Here, we have four bins. That’s twice as many bins!

But we all have to do our part to solve the rubbish problem.


  1. Trash disposal is challenging in 3rd world countries as I have come to know by visiting my wife’s Filipino family over Christmas and New Years. Trash was burning 24/7 and when I awoke in the mornings the stench filled my nostrils and effected my breathing. The toughest part was knowing that plastics were being burned which contain poisonous substances. As much as I loved being with those folks I couldn’t be more grateful when it came time for us to leave.

  2. We are praying for you and our class at CBC in Texas are praying for you! Thank you for your desire to make Jesus great among the remotest nations!!
    Also, the updates are great!


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