The American-led post-war authority in Iraq has been severely criticised over delays in restoring security and basic services in Baghdad. They have announced a major cleanup of the rubbish lying on the city's streets.
The streets of Baghdad are littered with putrefying mounds of rubbish that have been accumulating since the collapse of municipal services in March, with the arrival of coalition forces. I'm standing by a massive mound right now, with tin cans, boxes, unidentifiable material and flies buzzing around everywhere. And across Baghdad there are hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of rubbish, and this is proving to be an increasingly serious health hazard. The colonel in charge of the rubbish clearing operation, Keith Schollom, told me this was literally a mountain of a problem to be dealing with.
“There was an estimated sixty thousand tonnes of waste that piled up since the system closed down during the war. Now, don't forget on top of that you've still got the day-to-day waste being generated so it's an ongoing problem.”
Clearing the rubbish is important but many Baghdadis say there's still little sign of the Americans tackling the more vital issues of improving security and fully restoring electricity and water supplies.