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Close-Up: Taiwan's musical garbage trucks

23 January 2011 Last updated at 00:44 GMT

This BBC News series focuses on aspects of life in countries and cities around the world. What may seem ordinary and familiar to the people who live there can be surprising to those who do not.

Taiwan's way of dealing with its residents' rubbish is rather unusual. On this small, densely populated island, most families live in apartments and do not have rubbish bins next to their house for the garbage trucks to pick up once a week.

Instead, the government has implemented what is commonly known in Taiwan as a "trash doesn't touch the ground" system - and to newcomers, this can be mind-boggling.

Now, trucks appear nightly, alerting people to their arrival with a high-pitched tune. Residents gather on the streets with their bags of rubbish, and have to throw them into the trucks themselves. The system tries to make everyone responsible for every bottled soda, take-away and even chicken drumstick they consume.

Cindy Sui spent the evening in Taipei waiting for the trucks - and spoke to local veterans of the garbage disposal system, Chang Yu-an and Su Shu-hui.