Beirut facing major health disaster

Lebanon’s health minister stated that country’s failure to collect rubbish is on the brink of causing major disaster

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A man walks past the garbage dumps on the streets of capital Beirut, on July 21, 2015.

Lebanese Health Minister Wael Abu Faour warned that the capital will suffer a "major health catastrophe" if the problem is not addressed immediately. In reference to the rubbish disposal crises the country is facing.

Abu Faour was quoted in the Lebanon Daily Star as saying that a ”drastic measure” should be taken as soon as possible.

He added that Lebanon’s environment, including sea, water and air, is threatened with contamination, due to the huge piles of trash left on the streets. Saying that ‘emergency measures’ need to be implemented quickly.

It was not immediately disclosed, what kind of measures Beirut needs to implement to fully contain the environmental threat.

Waste management company Sukleen stated on July 20 that it had halted collecting garbage in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and won't resume until authorities secure a new dumping ground after the closure of the Naameh landfill, on July 17.

Political fall-out in recent weeks has prevented the government from finding a solution for the problem, according to BBC.

Residents need to put up with the foul smell of 20,000 tonnes of rubbish on the streets of Beirut during the hottest time of the year.

Some have sought protection by wearing masks in an attempt to shield themselves from the strong stench while thousands have expressed their anger through social media.

The shutting down of the capital's main landfill site, which was appointed to receive 2 million tons of waste but has instead taken in over 15 million, caused huge amounts of rubbish to mount across Beirut for the last month.

Debates raged over what is the best and quickest way to tackle the problem.

The crisis has now become so severe that some residents have turned to burning rubbish on the streets as a fast approach to the problem, which in turn, resulted in toxic fumes encasing parts of Beirut.


TRTWorld and agencies