Lebanon's garbage crisis crackdown: a view from the street

Published August 23rd, 2015 - 20:38 GMT

Rate Article:

 
PRINT Send Mail
comment (0)

Lebanon’s waste war escalated yesterday when angry demonstrators tried to pull down razor-wire barricades and storm the parliament in Beirut. Riot police responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets – actions that wounded more than 35 Internal Security Forces (ISF) members and an unspecified number of protesters, according to an online statement released by Lebanon’s ISF. 

Images of live action from the streets quickly posted to social media, including several shots of bullet casings, stirring rumors that Lebanese police were using live ammunition. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq stressed that he did not order police to open fire on protesters. Continue reading below »

View as list
Thousands of protesters - including many children - gathered to decry government inability to solve the worsening waste problem. After ISF attempted to disperse the crowds with water cannon and tear gas, many of the peaceful - yet vocal - demonstrators moved to nearby Martyrs’ Square, vowing to stay the night. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 1 of 10:  1 / 10Thousands of protesters - including many children - gathered to decry government inability to solve the worsening waste problem. After ISF attempted to disperse the crowds with water cannon and tear gas, many of the peaceful - yet vocal - demonstrators moved to nearby Martyrs’ Square, vowing to stay the night. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
Lebanon has no President, and a cabinet crippled by chronic lack of consensus. The mishandling of waste by both national and local authorities seems to be the straw that broke the public’s back. Protests began over the growing mountains of rubbish, leaders are now under fire for excessive use of force against demonstrators. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 2 of 10:  2 / 10Lebanon has no President, and a cabinet crippled by chronic lack of consensus. The mishandling of waste by both national and local authorities seems to be the straw that broke the public’s back. Protests began over the growing mountains of rubbish, leaders are now under fire for excessive use of force against demonstrators. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
Protests began on July 17 in Naameh, the site of Lebanon’s largest landfill, when local residents - angered by government failure to find an alternative dumpsite - refused to allow trucks to drop new garbage. Waste collection in Beirut and Mount Lebanon governorates quickly came to a standstill, a problem worsened by summer heat. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 3 of 10:  3 / 10Protests began on July 17 in Naameh, the site of Lebanon’s largest landfill, when local residents - angered by government failure to find an alternative dumpsite - refused to allow trucks to drop new garbage. Waste collection in Beirut and Mount Lebanon governorates quickly came to a standstill, a problem worsened by summer heat. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
A group named 'You Stink!' organized the protests, inciting revolt against the trash debacle and overall state corruption. You Stink's Azza El Masri told Al Jazeera that protesters vow to stay at Riad al-Solh Square until the Minister of Environment resigns, the arrested are freed, and police are held accountable for the violence. (Twitter)
Reduce

Image 4 of 10:  4 / 10A group named "You Stink!" organized the protests, inciting revolt against the trash debacle and overall state corruption. You Stink's Azza El Masri told Al Jazeera that protesters vow to stay at Riad al-Solh Square until the Minister of Environment resigns, the arrested are freed, and police are held accountable for the violence. (Twitter)

Enlarge
Workers at the Port of Beirut staged a cautionary strike on August 13 over health and safety concerns after garbage was dumped near the port. “We will not accept our port becoming the capital’s dumping ground. The health of all who enter the port is at risk,' said Bchara Asmar, president of port employees union. (Twitter)
Reduce

Image 5 of 10:  5 / 10Workers at the Port of Beirut staged a cautionary strike on August 13 over health and safety concerns after garbage was dumped near the port. “We will not accept our port becoming the capital’s dumping ground. The health of all who enter the port is at risk," said Bchara Asmar, president of port employees union. (Twitter)

Enlarge
Small businesses – mostly restaurants - have been hit hard as curbside heaps of sun-steamed trash close roads, block pedestrian access and parking. The stench penetrates windows, doors, and air conditioners, a deadly deterrent to dining. Some bars report an uptick in business, perhaps people are looking to drown the problem? (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 6 of 10:  6 / 10Small businesses – mostly restaurants - have been hit hard as curbside heaps of sun-steamed trash close roads, block pedestrian access and parking. The stench penetrates windows, doors, and air conditioners, a deadly deterrent to dining. Some bars report an uptick in business, perhaps people are looking to drown the problem? (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
Homegrown solutions are rising in the void. Municipal workers and volunteers in the northern town of Roumieh go around the village on a regular schedule to collect organic, biodegradable garbage. The mayor says all recyclables will be sold to help fund the pick-up project until a state solution is found. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 7 of 10:  7 / 10Homegrown solutions are rising in the void. Municipal workers and volunteers in the northern town of Roumieh go around the village on a regular schedule to collect organic, biodegradable garbage. The mayor says all recyclables will be sold to help fund the pick-up project until a state solution is found. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
Holy crap? Local priests are acting upon Pope Francis’ encyclical which criticizes our 'throwaway culture' and calls for reduction of pollution. Environmental engineer Ziad Abichaker said, “[We] need to stop looking at waste as a problem and start looking at it as a resource.” (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 8 of 10:  8 / 10Holy crap? Local priests are acting upon Pope Francis’ encyclical which criticizes our 'throwaway culture' and calls for reduction of pollution. Environmental engineer Ziad Abichaker said, “[We] need to stop looking at waste as a problem and start looking at it as a resource.” (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
Transport giant Uber just launched #UberRECYCLE, an app feature that enables users to request a van to pick up their recyclable junk - for free. Uber spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif told HuffPost, “So far, the response has been incredible.” One man's trash is another's PR opportunity. (AFP/Anwar Amro)
Reduce

Image 9 of 10:  9 / 10Transport giant Uber just launched #UberRECYCLE, an app feature that enables users to request a van to pick up their recyclable junk - for free. Uber spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif told HuffPost, “So far, the response has been incredible.” One man's trash is another's PR opportunity. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Enlarge
It's reported that 20 tons of trash has been dumped in Beirut streets alone. Consider the environmental impacts and public safety concerns if 'Trash-gate' escalates. Environment Minister Mohammed el-Mashnouq said that his office was “working silently” to ease the burden of 'a tragic situation'.  We think that stinks. (Twitter)
Reduce

Image 10 of 10:  10 / 10It's reported that 20 tons of trash has been dumped in Beirut streets alone. Consider the environmental impacts and public safety concerns if 'Trash-gate' escalates. Environment Minister Mohammed el-Mashnouq said that his office was “working silently” to ease the burden of "a tragic situation". We think that stinks. (Twitter)

Enlarge

1

Thousands of protesters - including many children - gathered to decry government inability to solve the worsening waste problem. After ISF attempted to disperse the crowds with water cannon and tear gas, many of the peaceful - yet vocal - demonstrators moved to nearby Martyrs’ Square, vowing to stay the night. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 1 of 10Thousands of protesters - including many children - gathered to decry government inability to solve the worsening waste problem. After ISF attempted to disperse the crowds with water cannon and tear gas, many of the peaceful - yet vocal - demonstrators moved to nearby Martyrs’ Square, vowing to stay the night. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

2

Lebanon has no President, and a cabinet crippled by chronic lack of consensus. The mishandling of waste by both national and local authorities seems to be the straw that broke the public’s back. Protests began over the growing mountains of rubbish, leaders are now under fire for excessive use of force against demonstrators. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 2 of 10Lebanon has no President, and a cabinet crippled by chronic lack of consensus. The mishandling of waste by both national and local authorities seems to be the straw that broke the public’s back. Protests began over the growing mountains of rubbish, leaders are now under fire for excessive use of force against demonstrators. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

3

Protests began on July 17 in Naameh, the site of Lebanon’s largest landfill, when local residents - angered by government failure to find an alternative dumpsite - refused to allow trucks to drop new garbage. Waste collection in Beirut and Mount Lebanon governorates quickly came to a standstill, a problem worsened by summer heat. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 3 of 10Protests began on July 17 in Naameh, the site of Lebanon’s largest landfill, when local residents - angered by government failure to find an alternative dumpsite - refused to allow trucks to drop new garbage. Waste collection in Beirut and Mount Lebanon governorates quickly came to a standstill, a problem worsened by summer heat. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

4

A group named 'You Stink!' organized the protests, inciting revolt against the trash debacle and overall state corruption. You Stink's Azza El Masri told Al Jazeera that protesters vow to stay at Riad al-Solh Square until the Minister of Environment resigns, the arrested are freed, and police are held accountable for the violence. (Twitter)

Image 4 of 10A group named "You Stink!" organized the protests, inciting revolt against the trash debacle and overall state corruption. You Stink's Azza El Masri told Al Jazeera that protesters vow to stay at Riad al-Solh Square until the Minister of Environment resigns, the arrested are freed, and police are held accountable for the violence. (Twitter)

5

Workers at the Port of Beirut staged a cautionary strike on August 13 over health and safety concerns after garbage was dumped near the port. “We will not accept our port becoming the capital’s dumping ground. The health of all who enter the port is at risk,' said Bchara Asmar, president of port employees union. (Twitter)

Image 5 of 10Workers at the Port of Beirut staged a cautionary strike on August 13 over health and safety concerns after garbage was dumped near the port. “We will not accept our port becoming the capital’s dumping ground. The health of all who enter the port is at risk," said Bchara Asmar, president of port employees union. (Twitter)

6

Small businesses – mostly restaurants - have been hit hard as curbside heaps of sun-steamed trash close roads, block pedestrian access and parking. The stench penetrates windows, doors, and air conditioners, a deadly deterrent to dining. Some bars report an uptick in business, perhaps people are looking to drown the problem? (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 6 of 10Small businesses – mostly restaurants - have been hit hard as curbside heaps of sun-steamed trash close roads, block pedestrian access and parking. The stench penetrates windows, doors, and air conditioners, a deadly deterrent to dining. Some bars report an uptick in business, perhaps people are looking to drown the problem? (AFP/Anwar Amro)

7

Homegrown solutions are rising in the void. Municipal workers and volunteers in the northern town of Roumieh go around the village on a regular schedule to collect organic, biodegradable garbage. The mayor says all recyclables will be sold to help fund the pick-up project until a state solution is found. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 7 of 10Homegrown solutions are rising in the void. Municipal workers and volunteers in the northern town of Roumieh go around the village on a regular schedule to collect organic, biodegradable garbage. The mayor says all recyclables will be sold to help fund the pick-up project until a state solution is found. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

8

Holy crap? Local priests are acting upon Pope Francis’ encyclical which criticizes our 'throwaway culture' and calls for reduction of pollution. Environmental engineer Ziad Abichaker said, “[We] need to stop looking at waste as a problem and start looking at it as a resource.” (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 8 of 10Holy crap? Local priests are acting upon Pope Francis’ encyclical which criticizes our 'throwaway culture' and calls for reduction of pollution. Environmental engineer Ziad Abichaker said, “[We] need to stop looking at waste as a problem and start looking at it as a resource.” (AFP/Anwar Amro)

9

Transport giant Uber just launched #UberRECYCLE, an app feature that enables users to request a van to pick up their recyclable junk - for free. Uber spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif told HuffPost, “So far, the response has been incredible.” One man's trash is another's PR opportunity. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

Image 9 of 10Transport giant Uber just launched #UberRECYCLE, an app feature that enables users to request a van to pick up their recyclable junk - for free. Uber spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif told HuffPost, “So far, the response has been incredible.” One man's trash is another's PR opportunity. (AFP/Anwar Amro)

10

It's reported that 20 tons of trash has been dumped in Beirut streets alone. Consider the environmental impacts and public safety concerns if 'Trash-gate' escalates. Environment Minister Mohammed el-Mashnouq said that his office was “working silently” to ease the burden of 'a tragic situation'.  We think that stinks. (Twitter)

Image 10 of 10It's reported that 20 tons of trash has been dumped in Beirut streets alone. Consider the environmental impacts and public safety concerns if 'Trash-gate' escalates. Environment Minister Mohammed el-Mashnouq said that his office was “working silently” to ease the burden of "a tragic situation". We think that stinks. (Twitter)

Reduce

Last July, the nation once dubbed the ‘Switzerland of the East’  grabbed headlines for its new mountains of trash when Beirut's city landfill closed, and a new dumpsite designation was deferred due to political squabbling.  

Vermin-infested piles of rotting food and waste are understandably intolerable.  Add that to daily power cuts and chronic water shortages, and it's no wonder that Lebanon sits near the bottom on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index of 2014-2015, a report that assesses the ability of countries to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens.

See some of the action on the summer streets of Lebanon, without having to don a gas mask.

Advertisement

Add a new comment

 avatar