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Lebanon's River of Human Trash

Updated on February 24, 2016
Unbelievable happens when basic human services stop for  eight months.
Unbelievable happens when basic human services stop for eight months.

It was July 2015 when the only trash dump in Beirut, Lebanon, closed for lack of space. Space needed by the millions who live in that city. With no trash pickup since, residents have simply been bagging their trash and tossing wherever they can. In most cases, in the street. Since July, residents have demonstrated and started a movement against the inept government who cannot find a way to resolve the dangerous problem. The movement, You Stink, while funny is deadly serious and some riots have resulted attacking the city mayor's office.

In September, the government found a temp solution, or thought it had by using a dump site near the town of Naahem. However, this lit up the locals and told the government- not in our back yard will Beirut's garbage be sent. They demonstrated and the solution never happened. This site, opened in 1997, had a capacity of two million tons but today it has received 15 million tons.

The country is a mess. There is no president for over a year and the government remains torn between all religious groups that make up Beirut's two million people. Its government is failing to provide simple services. When the garbage dump closed, the 3000 tons of trash daily was not picked up and this has been since July!

Finally, a solution seemed at hand. A British company had agreed to haul the tons of garbage and ship it to Russia for burial. However, this fell through recently when Russia never agreed to the arrangement!


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