Following a cabinet decision to open three landfills to remove the accumulating trash in several Lebanese areas, residents and anti-trash campaigners held sit-ins Sunday in the Naameh and Choueifat areas and declared that they would block “Beirut's entrances” on Monday morning.
“We will escalate our protests tomorrow through blocking Beirut's entrances in the morning for several hours,” civil society protesters announced from the Riad al-Solh Square, where an open-ended sit-in has been underway since Saturday evening.
“Our moves are not targeted against people and we are acting for their sake,” the protesters emphasized in a statement.
The You Stink campaign said the entrances that will be blocked are the Khalde triangle, Dora near CIT, and the Hazmieh-Beirut highway near the City Center mall.
Noting that the roads will be blocked from 6:30 till 10:00 am, the campaign urged citizens to stay home and “sacrifice a few hours of education or work” for the sake of their “health and future.”
Meanwhile, the We Want Accountability and For The Republic campaigns and other smaller groups announced that they will not take part in the road-blocking protests, citing “lack of coordination” and keenness on “the interests of citizens.”
Earlier in the day, environmentalist campaigners held a symbolic sit-in at the entrance to the controversial Naameh landfill, whose closure in July was behind the country's unprecedented garbage crisis.
“The landfill was closed in July 2015 and it will not be reopened,” said the activists.
Threatening to escalate measures, the protesters said: “We will block the road at the entrance and will prevent dump trucks from entering.”
They called on related authorities “not to drag us to escalate measures.”
The closure of the Naameh landfill in July resulted in the pile up of garbage on the streets throughout the country, sparking environmental and health warnings over the prolongation of the problem.
Later on Sunday, a popular sit-in was held in the Choueifat region to protest the government's decision to set up a garbage landfill in the Costa Brava area.
“The town refuses the utilization of any land lot or shore within its geographic boundaries for the purpose of land-filling garbage,” the protesters stressed.
The Khalde-Ouzai highway was later blocked with burning tires in protest at the same government decision.
The cabinet on Saturday decided to establish two landfills and to reactivate Naameh temporarily as part of a four-year plan to resolve the country’s waste problem despite the rejection of civil society activists who called for a general strike.
Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said two landfills – in the Bourj Hammoud and Costa Brava areas – would be established, and the Naameh landfill would reopen for two months to receive waste that has accumulated in makeshift dumps.
A landfill’s location in the Shouf and Aley areas will be determined later following consultations with the local municipalities, said Jreij in his press briefing.
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