Akkar Protesters Vow to Stand in Way of Waste Trucks
Akkar anti-trash activists organized a new sit-in on Wednesday to reject government plans to set up a so-called sanitary garbage landfill in the Akkar town of Srar.
The sit-in that was held in the Akkar town of Shir Hmayrin was organized by the “Akkar is Not a Dump” campaign and other activists amid a participation by a number of municipalities and mayors from the region.
“The towns and villages in the vicinity of the Srar landfill reject the dumping of additional quantities of garbage in this site, which has caused major environmental and health hazards,” a municipal chief said at the sit-in.
Speaking in the name of the “Akkar is Not a Dump” campaign, the activist Bernard Obeid stressed that “Akkar will not be a dump and Akkar's sons will stand in the way of the trucks that will transport the garbage” from other regions.
He also declared an open-ended sit-in and pledged that all garbage trucks will be sent back to the areas they may come from, underlining that “it is unacceptable to put the burden of the garbage of entire Lebanon on Akkar's shoulders.”
A plan devised by Agriculture Minister Akram Shehayyeb and a team of experts calls for reopening the Naameh landfill, which was closed in mid-July, for seven days to dump the garbage that accumulated in random sites in Beirut and Mount Lebanon.
It also envisions converting two existing dumps, in the northern Akkar area of Srar and the eastern border area of al-Masnaa, into “sanitary landfills” capable of receiving trash for more than a year.
After he announced his plan earlier this month, the civil society and local residents of Akkar, Naameh, Majdal Anjar, and Bourj Hammoud protested against the step.
Experts have urged the government to devise a comprehensive waste management solution that would include more recycling and composting to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.
Environmentalists fear the crisis could soon degenerate to the point where garbage as well as sewage will simply overflow into the sea from riverbeds as winter rains return.
The health ministry has warned that garbage scattered by seasonal winds could also block Lebanon's drainage system.
The trash crisis has sparked angry protests that initially focused on waste management but grew to encompass frustrations with water and electricity shortages and Lebanon's chronically divided political class.
Campaigns like "You Stink" brought thousands of people into the streets in unprecedented non-partisan and non-sectarian demonstrations against the entire political class.