Russia passes on trash: who will accept Lebanon's waste exports?
The accumulation of trash has forced municipalities to begin burning it, which creates other health hazards. (AFP/File)
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Following reports claiming that Russia is another suggested destination after Sierra Leone to receive Lebanon's trash, Moscow has strongly denied the allegations bringing the months long file back to square one.
A Russian diplomatic source asserted on Monday that it is impossible for Russia to receive Lebanon's waste due to high costs it entails in addition to the fact that the decomposing trash has become out-of-date for recycling.
“The possibility of transferring Lebanon's trash to the Russian Federation is absolutely out of question for two main reasons. First, because the accumulated trash is not qualified for recycling anymore and second because of the distance and the high cost of shipping,” the Russian source told the daily al-Joumhouria.
Reports said lately that the company that won a deal to export Lebanon's waste, Britain’s Chinook Urban Mining International, has obtained Russia’s approval to take in Lebanon’s trash, a claim that was soon denied by Russian authorities.
Early in January, Sierra Leone also slammed media reports claiming that the country is willing to receive Lebanon's garbage as part of a recently approved deal to tackle the country's waste management problem.
The accumulation of trash in random locations has pushed several municipalities to resort to burning in the absence of solutions.
In that regard, Health Minister Wael Abou Faour held a press conference later on Monday after a meeting of the emergency committee that was initially formed to evaluate the health hazards.
“We have referred 74 municipalities to the General Prosecution. Each municipality must offer a pledge to stop burning trash,” said Abou Faour, noting that the municipalities have been informed earlier to stop
A trash management crisis erupted in July 2015 when the Naameh landfill that received the trash of Beirut and Mount Lebanon was closed.
The government's failure to find alternatives led to the piling up of garbage on the streets and in random locations, which raised health and environmental concerns and sparked unprecedented street protests against the entire political class.
In December, the cabinet approved an export plan with representatives of Britain’s Chinook and Holland’s Howa BV which withdrew afterward.
The exportation plan was said to include the newly generated trash excluding the piles that were burnt and buried.
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