By: Nour Kanso, Head of communications at Zero Waste MENA
It has been almost two years since the waste crisis hit the Lebanese regions which affected mostly the capital, Beirut. We still see the same scene where waste is piled on sidewalks of the streets where it's becoming a usual scenery for the Lebanese people. It is as if this is the new normal collection method for solid waste. If this is the case, then we are headed towards a more dangerous path. With summer approaching and the temperature increase year after year, public health is at an ever increasing risk.
Currently, big blue trucks have been seen on the streets of southern Beirut and Mount Lebanon, known as City Blu. The company has taken the activities of collection and sweeping from “Sukleen”, the old company, and launched its services on the 5th of June 2017. The trucks used by the company were described as modern and up to technology as they hold a GPS service to monitor the trucks’ movements across the regions and increase efficiency. Moreover, the company has recruited 250 Lebanese laborers, who used to work at Sukleen, to take on the activities of collection and sweeping. The company is said to be working on designing an application which enables citizens to report any areas where waste accumulation is present.
In regards to Sukleen, the company will resume its activities for six more months until Beirut municipality finalizes its tender proposal for collection and sweeping of solid waste in central Beirut. This implies that in case Beirut municipality does not finish on time, an extension may be given to Sukleen as there isn't any other alternative. The “Metn” and “Kesrouwan” provinces have been given to Lebanese company “Ramco” which launched its services for more than a week now for the sweeping and collection of waste activities.
According to the Council for Development and Reconstruction, Sukleen is expected to stop its activities by the 3rd of September of this year. Therefore, the questions that follow, will three months be enough to settle the issue of sweeping and collection in Central Beirut? or will another extension/delay be expected as this seems the most common approach taken by government officials? How long will the citizens of Beirut suffer from the lack of decisiveness towards serious public health matters?
All questions, the public must ponder and act on. Here is a little hint for you: “It’s always the little things that make a difference”.
Al Akhbar Newspaper (2017). http://www.al-akhbar.com/node/278146
Only Lebanon.(2017). https://goo.gl/tHnNDI