Somjit and fellow garbage
collectors at work, picking up refuse to be carted away.
Others may think his job stinks, but Somjit Sukviset says
being a garbage man is about more than just picking up trash.
Short and muscular, Somjit maintains he is helping a
small bit toward reducing global warming. Each day from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m., he
rides around the city with a crew picking up garbage bags. His job is to
sort out cans, bottles and other recyclables people throw away and bring
them to be processed. He earns his salary with the proceeds from recycling.
It’s not consistent, but it’s enough.
In fact, Somjit said, he loves his job. Firstly, no one
else wants it. They don’t understand the benefits of his work, he says,
including having ample amounts of free time to spend with his family or do
what he likes.
It’s also a job for people watching, Somjit said.
Starting before dawn, he sees both responsible people heading out for jobs
and drunks and hungover partiers straggling home. He also is a witness to
Pattaya’s growing homeless problem.
His only regret is that people don’t respect him or his
work, Somjit said. Garbage collectors and sorters keep the city clean and
help the reputation. He doesn’t expect people to throw him a parade, but the
occasional smile would be nice, he said.