Jumblat Does Not Rule out Another Naameh Landfill Extensionإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Progressive Socialist Party chief MP Walid Jumblat did not rule out another extension for the landfill that lies in Naameh south of Beirut to find a temporary solution for Lebanon's waste management crisis.
In remarks to al-Akhbar daily published on Monday, Jumblat said that he hasn't so far seen a serious initiative to resolve the crisis which erupted when the landfill was closed on July 17 in accordance with a government decision taken earlier this year.
The landfill opened in 1997. It was meant to receive trash from the capital and Mount Lebanon for only a few years until a comprehensive solution was devised.
But the government kept extending the deadlines for its closure.
Sukleen, which is the main company in charge of collecting trash in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, stopped its work last week after it was no longer able to store waste at its facilities. Mountains of trash have collected in the capital and suburbs meanwhile.
Last week, the government postponed further discussions on the issue until Tuesday.
In his remarks to the newspaper, Jumblat did not rule out a possible extension but warned that if the authorities failed to find alternative landfills, then the road to Naameh would remain blocked.
The PSP chief said that he had approved a decision to transport the capital's waste to Iqlim al-Kharroub based upon an initiative from Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
But the solution should be temporary, he stressed.
However, sources close to Sukleen said that the PSP leader has negotiated the company's Chairman Maysarah Sukkar to own 50% of the shares in exchange for keeping the Naameh landfill open.
But Sukkar issued a statement afterward praising Jumblat and slamming media reports claiming that negotiations between the two men were underway to reach a deal.
“Jumblat wins all the credit for the cleanliness that Beirut, its suburbs and Mount Lebanon -the zone that Sukleen was responsible to collect trash from- have enjoyed over the past years,” said Sukkar.
“None of the company’s officials have touched or even hinted on any of the subjects circulated today in media outlets,” he added.
Iqlim al-Kharroub's residents have since Sunday been blocking the highway that links Beirut with the South in the town of Jiyeh to protest such a decision.
Their demonstration has caused bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan, who like Jumblat is an MP in the Chouf district, expressed his party's “absolute rejection to reopen the Naameh landfill under any excuse.”
Arslan said in a press conference he held Monday that “the Environment Ministry should have pushed for the adoption of a draft-law in parliament on waste management rather than becoming a bystander.”