On October 30, an alarming incident occurred on the highway known as the "Airport Road" in Baku, where a utility worker was killed as a result of a car collision. This incident once again highlighted the dangers faced by public utilities workers who work tirelessly to maintain cleanliness on the streets of the city.
After the tragic event, both the Baku City State Traffic Police Department and the Baku City Housing and Communal Services Department issued an appeal to the drivers of the city, urging them to comply with safety rules. The appeal emphasized the vital role of public utilities workers who are on duty around the clock on the city's roads, and called on drivers to exercise extreme caution.
Back in 2018, the Baku City executive announced the deployment of specialized street cleaning equipment, including about 10 German-made machines. These machines were designed to automate the process of garbage collection on the main highways and avenues of the city. However, the availability of such equipment on the streets of Baku is either scarce or completely absent.
A utility worker who wished to remain anonymous shed light on the complex and dangerous nature of their work. They showed a grueling schedule that starts at 4-5 o'clock in the morning in summer and at 5-6 o'clock in winter. They explained that such early hours were set by the administration, leaving employees no choice but to endure the cold and darkness before dawn.
The worker also highlighted the danger inherent in their task, saying: "You don't know whether to sweep the street or watch cars rushing in your direction." While some workers in the intermediate areas are lucky enough to have access to yellow safety vests, those working on the avenues face even greater challenges.
Attempts to find out the position of the Baku Department of Housing and Communal Services on these issues were unsuccessful. However, Zahid Oruj, chairman of the Milli Majlis Human Rights Committee, in an interview with Turan, downplayed suspicions of corruption in this matter. He stressed the need for a more flexible approach on the part of institutions connected to the city cleaning system.
Oruj argued that despite efforts to automate processes, human involvement remains necessary. He argued that, although technical means can cope with certain aspects, but the participation of human labor is necessary at the final stage.
In addition, Oruj suggested that this issue could be considered during the budget discussion in parliament, calling on local authorities to cooperate and enlist the support of the community.
The head of the Center for Social Strategic Studies Ilgar Huseynli joined the conversation, noting the poor condition of the road infrastructure in Baku. In an interview with Radio Azadlig, he referred to the problems associated with curbs and reinforced concrete structures that prevent the use of machine harvesting equipment.
Huseynli also drew attention to the treatment of human workers, wondering why they are being sent to work in low light conditions and without proper protective equipment. He stressed the differences in the attitude to the human factor when cleaning cities between Azerbaijan and European countries.
Finally, Huseynli stressed the need for transparent reporting and public control in solving these problems, complaining about the lack of both in the cleaning operations of Baku cities.