Hariri Urges Measures to Keep Birds Away from Airport, Judge Orders Landfill Closure

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The issue of birds that threaten flight safety at the Rafik Hariri International Airport returned to the spotlight on Wednesday as Prime Minister Saad Hariri ordered measures to keep the birds away and a judge ordered the closure of the controversial Costa Brava garbage landfill.

After talks with Hariri that followed a cabinet session, Public Works and Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos said the premier instructed the Council for Development and Reconstruction during the meeting to “do everything necessary to push birds away from the airport's vicinity.”

The setting up of a garbage landfill in the Costa Brava near the airport has largely contributed to increasing the number of birds, mainly seagulls, in the area. The nearby al-Ghadir River also attracts birds to the area.

Fenianos said Hariri also asked the energy and water minister and the head of the CDR to “take immediate measures" at al-Ghadir River to "fend off this threat to flight safety.”

According to the minister, Hariri ordered increasing the number of auditory repellents in the airport's vicinity and at the Costa Brava landfill.

Fenianos also reassured that according to reports from the airport authorities, “there has been no real threat to flight safety,” noting that the auditory bird repellents “have proved effective.”

“Addressing the mouth of al-Ghadir River is an essential stop to end the problem,” he added.

The activist movement "You Stink" mocked the measures.

"What are you waiting for to close Costa Brava... for a plane to crash or an international decision to shut the airport," they wrote on Facebook.

"The solution is not to scare the birds away," they said, urging the dump be closed.

Later in the day, Mount Lebanon Urgent Matters Judge Hassan Hamdan ordered a "temporary closure of the Costa Brava landfill due to the presence of seagulls," state-run National News Agency reported.

Earlier on Wednesday, Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat called for “pushing the garbage landfill away from Beirut's airport to avoid a disaster.”

“We were about to witness the disaster yesterday,” he tweeted.

According to LBCI television, a Middle East Airlines plane had encountered “a large group of birds” as it was touching down Tuesday on the airport's western tarmac.

“This tarmac has been temporarily put out of use pending a solution to the birds issue,” LBCI added.

The Costa Brava dump was created in March 2016, as one of three "temporary" dumps intended to provide an interim solution to the closure of the main landfill receiving waste from Beirut.

Under a government plan intended to end the crisis caused by the landfill's closure, the dumps were eventually intended to have waste processing facilities, but that has not happened.

As a result, garbage has piled up in Costa Brava, on the coastline close to the runways at Beirut's international airport, reaching nine meters in some places and wafting foul odors nearby.

Environmentalists have for months warned that the dump is attracting rodents and increasing numbers of birds, posing potential risk for aviation.

In August, the Lebanese pilots' union warned of the possibility of the birds being sucked into airplane engines.

A permanent solution for the waste produced by Beirut and its surroundings has yet to be found, months after the Naameh landfill was shuttered.

The issue is one of many outstanding challenges that remain to be resolved by Lebanon's new government, formed on December 18 after some two and a half years of political paralysis.

Comments 16
Thumb barrymore 11 January 2017, 16:43

Asfraf al nass and their filth is what is making these birds a sure risk for aviation.

Thumb justin 11 January 2017, 17:45

who lives around the airport ya toll? If you ever took sometime to travel instead of spending your vacation on naharnet you would see the shias have built illegal houses meters aways from the runways under the full protection of your iranian militia. The filth they produce is breeding ground for these birds. Burying your head in the sand and pretending to take the high moral ground does not negate the facts.

Thumb justin 11 January 2017, 17:46

btw, did you say you were a Christian @'coitus interruptus'?

Thumb eagledawn 11 January 2017, 18:10

not only Christian, @justin, but a crusader from Qom, LOL.

Thumb marcus 11 January 2017, 19:33

"dahieh falls under the jurisdiction of beirut municipality"


what do you expect from an iranian troll !

Thumb barrymore 11 January 2017, 19:57

rabbishlomo 3 days ago
I disrespect Abu 3igal the Saudi of texasusa for claiming that the Orlando guy was on the phone with isis while he was in middle of his carnage, but I agree with him when he says that 99% of terrorist attacks happen at the hands of Sunni scums.


Thumb barrymore 11 January 2017, 19:58

what happened to libanobrasil 1/2/3/4/5?

Thumb ex-fpm 11 January 2017, 20:04

lol lol lol

Missing rabbishlomo 11 January 2017, 21:30

All my disrespect for marcus for exposing me as a Sectarian!
Calling someone Abu 3igal the Saudi or scum does not make me Sectarian ya zaki.
As for the other reference in regards to terrorism around the world by Sunni scums, you tell me Mr. Sectarian marcus!

Missing rabbishlomo 11 January 2017, 21:40

Is the Sectarian Barrymore asking me "What happened to lebanobrasil1/2/3/4/5"?
If so, I do not know but may one of you trolls shoul come back as lebanobrasil 6

Thumb ashtah 11 January 2017, 16:45

I was on flight coming back last week and the plane could not land because of these vultures flying so close to the runway. I actually filmed them.

Thumb marcus 11 January 2017, 17:54

they are the scum of the earth

Thumb eagledawn 11 January 2017, 18:09

I am here @terrorist :)

Thumb Puppet 11 January 2017, 18:18

I respect Mr. Saado Hariri who is now prime minister for improving things in the country and for giving orders to keep the birds away from the airport that carries his father's name.

Thumb eagledawn 11 January 2017, 20:26

"The judge of urgent matters has ordered a temporary ban on the entry of garbage trucks to the Costa Brava landfill."

The judge seems to be unaware that it is not the garbage that is causing this security risk but the filth that lives near the airport.

Thumb ashtah 11 January 2017, 20:37

typical knee-jerk decisions and reactions that lead to repercussions.....a Lebanese trait.