Lebanon’s Garbage Crisis
January 26, 2018
A few men in Lebanon take on the plastic bags, water bottles, and pieces of wood from the Stony Beach. They work for a contractor hastily hired by Lebanese authorities to remove a carpet of rubbish that covers the coastline of Lebanon (CNN). Environmental engineer Ziad Abi Chaker says, “This is the seventeenth time this beach has been cleaned, this time by the municipality, the other 16 times by volunteers.” Stony Beach is just one of many full of garbage that has washed up in the aftermath of a string of winter storms. “Ever since 2015, Lebanon has been grappling with a nation-wide garbage crisis. Existing landfills are full to bursting, and few towns and cities want new ones built nearby. In 2015, when the tiny country’s main landfill passed its expiration date, the trash crisis came to a head (CNN).” According to CNN News, a movement called “You Stink” (in Arabic Til’it Ree’hitkom) put pressure on the government to clean up the mess. Tens of thousands of Lebanese responding to You Stink’s calls to protest took to the streets; some of the loudest chants called for the overthrow of the government, and after riots broke out, Lebanon’s military was deployed to the streets. Month after month, the smell of rotting garbage hung in the air. Once admired by its beauty, the country’s pictures of filthy beaches have multiplied on social media, are an embarrassment.