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Garbage flood in Beirut

BEIRUT | - January 21, 2014, 08h08
Par Laura Hamade
A temporary agreement was reached on Monday between residents of the Naameh area and Lebanese officials, allowing the Sukleen company to deliver waste to the Naameh landfill for 48 hours. However, now that most of us have reached a conclusion that we Lebanese actually need Sukleen in our lives, let us take a moment of silence to give special thanks to their unappreciated labor.
As you may have seen, or sniffed, the numerous Sukleen garbage bins, located on nearly every corner, are now overflowing with garbage.

In a statement, the Sukleen company apologized to citizens, saying the blocking of roads leading to the Naameh landfill was preventing the collection of garbage. “The sit-in outside the Naameh landfill and the preventing of trucks from emptying garbage, led to the piling up of waste,” the statement said.

This article on Al Jazeera explains that the protest began in the town of Naameh on Friday, as residents and environmental activists staged a sit-in on the road to block access to the nearby landfill. Built in 1997, this area was supposed to be in use for 6 years and to hold 2 million tons of waste. It's been operating for 17 years now and the Wall Street Journal reported that the landfill is currently holding more than 12 million tons of waste.

Uncollected garbage in Lebanon is definitely a problem, especially when you can no longer tell what the initial colors of the bins were. I’ll admit, the first day wasn’t entirely awful, but when you have trouble strolling on a sidewalk in fear of slipping on a banana peel, you know it’s becoming a major issue.

A recent tweet by @YasmeenaElSabeh stated that “Politicians leave the country and we don’t feel the difference. But when Sukleen workers leave, everything changes.” I couldn’t agree more.

The above photo is an image of the Sukleen garbage bins on a small street in Ashrafieh on Monday afternoon. Upon being asked, passersby and store owners in the area stated that not only was the smell disturbing, but some piles of garbage were so large, that they were unable to walk on sidewalks. “I hope they find a solution soon,” said one old man, “pretty soon there won’t even be enough ground to walk on.” However, a few weren’t as affected. They clearly expressed that Lebanon has bigger issues that need resolving.

In a brief interview regarding the current situation, a representative from Green Peace Lebanon shared with us his opinion. When asked how the strike will affect the environment along with the citizens of Lebanon, he stated that “the excruciating smells that are intoxicating all areas may be malevolent to our health and safety. Citizens will not only be affected physically, but psychologically as well.” Officials and Naameh residents reached an agreement on Monday night to allow garbage delivery to Naameh for 48 hours. However, this won’t solve the issue itself. When asked if and how Green Peace Lebanon thought it would be resolved in the near future, the NGO representative said that although there is no foreseeable end, they doubt resolving it will be prolonged. The Lebanese have more issues to worry about.

A hearing with the company’s director will take place on Tuesday, claims LBC International. A meeting that took place on Sunday evening resulted in the agreement that al-Naameh road would reopen for a period of 48 hours in an attempt to find a solution for the landfill. While some may start to believe Sukleen isn’t “so clean” after all, I personally regret every time I honked and cursed at a Sukleen truck holding up traffic.
#Garbage, #Environment, #Pollution
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