This is happening in Malaysia! People are stealing rubbish from garbage bins.
Thieves used to go for anything metallic when the price of steel shoot up. When manhole covers, fences, electrical installations, water meters, pumping or electrical or telephone cables installed by public utilities started disappearing, the relevant statutory boards have to collaborate to create "I-Watch" awareness. In the campaign of "I Watch, I Report, I Prevent" they seek the public's co-operation to call "999" if they come across any suspicious activities around cables and utilities to prevent further thefts.
Rightly, we should, as it will also prevent mishaps from happening. Imagine a train running over railway lines with tracks missing or driving or walking into a manhole as its cover has been stolen.
The stolen rubbish saga came about when our Menteri Besar, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, try to stop indiscriminate dumping by mooting the "Cash for Trash" year-long programme in Meru, Klang. Residents of residential housing in that area will be paid 10 sen per kg if they send their garbage to the collection centre. This is a very cost effective idea as its success means that local council do not have to hire as many private contractors to collect rubbish.
The programme pulled off because villages in Meru are cleaner while fellow residents have been complaining that their neighbours are stealing their household garbage. Hopefully the ministry will extend this programme to other areas as well as that means that other than eying recyclables and what they should not, like our street signs and beautifully decorated grille edges gates, scavengers can now go for rubbish.