Lebanon – Politics – Environment – Waste

Beirut Trash Clean-up Begins as Critics Cry Foul

Beirut Trash Clean-up Begins as Critics Cry Foul
Sun Mar 20, 2016 22:13:04

Workers began at the weekend removing tonnes of rubbish that have piled up around Lebanon’s capital under a government plan to end an eight-month crisis that has sparked repeated protests.

Civil society activists and environmental experts once again lashed out at the plan, warning that it does nothing to allay the ecological concerns that took them to the streets in the first place.

Beirut’s suburbs have been awash in trash for months following the closure in July of the country’s largest landfill at Naameh, just south of the Lebanese capital.

Rubbish has piled up on beaches and in forests and riverbeds elsewhere in the country.

The government last week said it would temporarily reopen the Naameh landfill to ease the crisis, but civil society activists have opposed the plan, demanding a more environmentally sound solution.

Workers could be seen Sunday at Jdeideh, a suburb north of Beirut, using front loaders to pack piles of trash into dozens of trucks.

“The stench is awful but the roads are open, everything is going well on the road, the security forces are facilitating the flow of traffic,” said Kamil Haddad, one of the workers, who wore a protective mask over his nose and mouth.

The waste, which has laid for months in the open as authorities scrambled to find a solution, will now be transported to a dump operated by Sukleen — the same private waste collection company that threw in the towel after its contract with the government expired last July.

“Things are going alright,” Haddad said, as his colleagues piled trash into trucks.

Naameh was set up in the early 1990s as a temporary measure. Activists and nearby residents have long opposed the use of the site but when it was shut in July no alternative was proposed.

Two other landfills are also planned for Burj Hammoud, a mainly Armenian suburb of northern Beirut, and Costa Brava to the south of the capital, likely for four years, AFP reported.

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