The Greater Amman Municipality set morning hours for residents to get their trash out to the containers in their neighbourhoods. That is an orderly way of doing things, seeing that garbage collectors, who work hard at all hours of day and night, also need some rest from a taxing job.

GAM says it is launching an awareness campaign to inform the capital’s residents of the assigned times; they have been set between 6:00am and 11:00am Saturday through Thursday, with Tuesdays assigned for large items to be taken out, such as furniture.

Showing flexibility, GAM also announced that its measure will not be final, but will be modified depending on feedback from citizens.

It is now up to citizens to show equal consideration and flexibility for, if the GAM decision is respected, it will help improve the degree of cleanliness of the city.

Haphazard household garbage disposal has been causing hygiene problems in residential and commercial areas. Often trash bins fill up after GAM trucks have made their rounds.

The problem is aggravated by stray cats tearing off plastic bags and spreading their contents in the streets and by scavengers – some of them working for recycling businesses – trying to retrieve salvageable items, in the process scattering trash around the bins and neighbourhoods.

Coming up with a schedule is a good idea that will help keep Amman clean. But while credit is given where due, there is place for some criticism.

The city was cleaner and tidier in the not so distant past. The drop in the quality of services cannot be entirely blamed on the unnatural population growth. True, the city continues to receive new residents in the form of economic immigrants or refugees coming from neighbouring countries, but that is not the entire story. One is often witness to irresponsible behaviour of pedestrians and motorists alike: tissues, cans, cigarette packs thrown in utter disrespect for the fellow citizen and the city.

On the other hand, the capital expanded greatly over the past years, encompassing many surrounding rural areas, and this has placed an extra burden on the municipal services. Maybe if the process had been done in a more gradual manner, growth would have been qualitative rather than quantitative.

At the same time, the municipality, charged with focusing on mega-projects, sees its resources gobbled up by capital expenditures when they could be better invested in bettering services to taxpayers, providing, for example, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, parks and clean, clearly marked streets.

Some of the problems can be solved at no extra costs if heads of GAM offices around town give due attention to field work and start touring their areas, preferably on foot, to inspect services and to talk to the public.

One fine step was taken by GAM; it should be followed by others to give residents the services they deserve and to restore to the city the cleanliness we were all proud of.