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Words in the News
 
Wednesday 21 May 2003
 
Clearing up the rubbish in Baghdad
 
US soldier 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.
 
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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.

 
 
Listen Listen to the words
 
littered
 
scattered (here the substance that is scattered is litter, so the word has extra significance)
 
putrefying
 
rotting
 
municipal
 
town
 
coalition forces
 
the British and American armies
 
unidentifiable material
 
a substance that is impossible to recognise
 
health hazard
 
danger to health
 
literally
 
here used to indicate that the word is being used in its most basic sense, as well as in the metaphorical sense
 
on top of that
 
as well as that
 
vital
 
very important
 
 
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