VIDEO: Children In Paraguay Create Music Out Of Trash

Life in Cateura, Paraguay, is tough. The neighborhood is built on a landfill and the people there make their living rummaging through the garbage for things to sell or reuse.

Now they’re using their skills to turn trash into beauty. They’ve started the Recycled Orchestra, in which local children play instruments made from trash. As this video shows, it’s not just a cute pastime. The instruments sounds like proper ones and the kids show real musical talent.

Now their efforts have caught the eye of some independent filmmakers who are working on a documentary about them called Landfill Harmonic. Check out their Facebook page and Twitter feed, for more information.

These kids are growing up in the depths of poverty and yet have made something out of their bleak surroundings. One of the girls in this video says she’d have nothing without her music. As their teacher says, “People realize that we shouldn’t throw away trash carelessly. Well, we shouldn’t throw away people either.”

Tourists in Venice urged to drink the water

Collecting the trash in Venice is no easy feat. After all, it’s not like a garbage truck can just drive down the street – there aren’t any. Garbage is collected by workers with wheelbarrows and then loaded onto barges and costs about $335 million per ton to remove (compared to $84 million per ton on the mainland of Italy).

In an effort to reduce these costs, the Venetian government is asking locals and tourists to drink water from the tap instead of buying plastic bottles. The city’s tap water meets the highest purity standards, but many people are still buying bottled water from stores and in restaurants. To help promote the tap water, officials have started calling it “Acqua Veritas” and selling glass bottles labeled as such. The hope is that the fancy bottles will encourage people people to drink from the tap, reducing trash and the cost to remove it from the island.

With tourists outnumbering locals 100 to 1, visitors to Venice may have the greatest impact on the trash situation. So when in Venice, forgo the plastic and drink from the tap instead.

Finnish trash cans talk back

This summer, the garbage cans of Helsinki will have something to say … to you … in six languages. The strange people who brought you wife-carrying contests and team berry-picking (you just can’t make this stuff up) are happy to present the talking trash receptacle – which comes with a musical “thank you.” Nowhere else in the world is litter discouraged with such positive reinforcement. Maybe that’s why I didn’t see much trash on the ground when I was over there.

Last year at this time, Helsinki put four of these devices in the center of the city. They were so unbelievably successful that the Finns have doubled tripled down on the concept. Look for eight more of these contraptions in the Finnish capital this year. Simo Frangén, a popular Finnish TV personality, was kind enough to give his voice to the cause. The new trash cans will be located near Esplanadi, Senate Square, Sibelius Monument and Temppeliaukio Church.

These crazy devices will speak Finnish, Swedish, Japanese, English, German, Polish, and Russian.Also, some will provide fun musical sounds created by high school students from the Kruununhaka district of Helsinki as part of the Helsinki City Public Works youth campaign.”

Heading to Palermo, Italy? Bring an air freshener!

This is not exactly a “photo of the day“, but it is still an impressive destination photo, albeit a smelly one…

The garbage men in the Sicilian capital of Palermo are on strike – and the photo above shows the results of just one week of no garbage pickup. The situation is starting to look a lot like the mess in Naples last year.

Unfortunately for the residents of Palermo, the weather is nice and warm, so the stench is unbearable. And to make matters worse, the fire department is constantly busy putting out fires popping up in the massive piles of garbage.