Industry Minister Hussein Hajj Hasan placed partial blame on Lebanese citizens Tuesday for the country's ongoing trash crisis, saying that when the state fails to find solutions for crises, the people must play a role in filling the void.
“Citizens have no right to throw their waste in rivers and valleys. ... They are a part of the problem,” the minister made clear during a talk at the Industrial Research Institute.
“The [waste] problem began in the 1990s when the government failed to carry out proper bidding to bring in companies over political differences and a lack of consensus on the matter,” he said, indirectly criticizing those who called for Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk to step down over the crisis.
Thousands of protesters had marched in Downtown Beirut over the weekend to demand Machnouk's resignation over the crisis.
Machnouk announced last week that three companies had been chosen to treat Beirut and Mount Lebanon's waste after bidding had ended, signaling a near end to the crisis.
But the protesters were not satisfied with the minister's announcement, arguing that sustainable solutions should be found to protect the environment and public health, rather than burying the waste in new landfills or shipping it outside the country.
“They wanted Minister Machnouk to resign despite the fact that the bidding process had been completed in Cabinet, and we hope for implementation soon,” Hajj Hasan said.
“The political class, municipality unions, municipalities, citizens and the media are all a part of this problem, and are responsible of keeping it at the edge.”
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