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Protesters kick up stink over Beirut's rubbish problems


Lebanon

Protesters kick up stink over Beirut's rubbish problems

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Thousands of protesters have marched to the Lebanese government headquarters in Beirut amid a mounting row over the city’s rubbish problems.

With waste mounting in the streets, the Cabinet has approved plans for two new landfill sites and the re-opening of another.

Demonstrators want a permanent recycling plan, not more waste going into the ground.

“We want to tell the ‘rubbish’ who are inside the parliament that we are staying in the streets until they go. We want both them and the rubbish to go away,” said protester Rita Hanna.

Rubbish has been piling up for seven months after the landfill site that is now being re-opened was shut, with no alternative in place.

Beirut streets have been kept relatively waste-free – which has helped pacify the public – but the rubbish is being pushed to the city’s periphery, where it piles up along the roadside and the banks of the Beirut River.

The government had been working on a plan to export the waste. But this was scrapped last month because the firm chosen failed to obtain documents showing that Russia, the intended destination, had agreed to accept it.

The government has struggled to take even basic decisions due to political conflict among the rival parties represented in it.

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