Ranya Radwan

Trash, the scent of Lebanon

An overflowing Sukleen dumpster in Ashrafieh. (Ranya Radwan/NOW)
Another overflowing Sukleen dumpster in Ashrafieh. (Ranya Radwan/NOW)
Some more trash in Ashrafieh. (Ranya Radwan/NOW)
Image via Talal Khoury
Image via Kathy al-Abyad/Twitter

Finally! The Naameh landfill was closed on Friday, 17 July 2015. It only took the Lebanese government about 11 years, an extra 13 tons of waste, and several protests by residents of the area to finally shut it down.

But as we all know, our very "efficient" government is incapable of actually resolving the issues our country is faced with. For example, according to a report by LBCI, the Naameh landfill was opened in 1998 as an alternative site to the overfilled Bourj Hammoud dump. This was supposed to be a temporary solution and the Naameh landfill was scheduled for closure in 2004. But the government repeatedly postponed the closure until February 2014, when they announced that the Naameh landfill was scheduled for closure on 15 January 2015. Then that didn’t happen either.

As would follow logically, the government was supposed to identify an alternative disposal site when they decided to shut down the Naameh landfill, but they failed to do even that. So now, Sukleen, Lebanon’s waste management company, has suspended garbage collection because the Naameh landfill has been closed and there’s nowhere else to dump trash.

Now, thanks to our very proficient government, we have mini-landfills all over the country. You can find these mini-landfills at your nearest Sukleen dumpster. And to make things worse, Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk won’t be addressing the issue until Thursday, when the cabinet meets. Does the government realize that they have literally allowed the country to become a giant garbage dump? Not to mention it’s mid-July and the smelly mountains of trash that have already accumulated are nauseating!

An overflowing Sukleen dumpster in Ashrafieh. (Ranya Radwan/NOW)

thanks to our "effecient" government, we have mini-landfills all over the country.

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    It doesn't take a bad government: Before or after the closure of the Naameh dump, Lebanon is already a gigantic garbage dump, and don't blame the government: Blame the irresponsible Lebanese people themselves. They throw trash and garbage everywhere. In a mountain town where I spend some time, the municipality keeps multiplying and enlarging the signs "do not throw trash here" for years, but the mountains of garbage keep piling up on the roadside. In the Beirut suburb where I live, industrial waste is dumped under the cover of darkness by the roadside by unscrupulous building contractors (tires, glass, aluminum, etc) who don't want to pay the fee to legally dump their trash. Also in the same suburb, in the only stretch of human-friendly street, about 700 meters, where people go for their walks and their jogs, people throw all manner of trash (cans, plastic bottles, etc.) right by the rare sidewalks where they themselves walk and run. The local municipality shows up every few months and instead of actually picking up the garbage, they shove it away from the sidewalks and down into the trees and grass of the hillside. In summer, the greenery masks it so you don;t see it, but come winter, the plastic bottles, cans, and assorted garbage show up. To add insult to injury, the municipalities clean the garbage away ONLY when a sheikh or patriarch is visiting or when a religious holiday requires a procession.... that is when the garbage is hidden, not removed. What a fine testament to Lebanese civilization. Where do the Lebanese find the gall to call themselves civilized? They live in their own filth and are very happy with it, it seems, as long as - in their stupidity - they dump it 10 yards away from their own homes.

    July 21, 2015