BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk said Sunday that the dumpsite rehabilitation project in Sidon met international standards and that a public park would be built in the location.
“All the works in Sidon’s dumpsite rehabilitation project adheres to the instructions of the Environment Protection Agency and meets the French environmental standards,” a statement released by Machnouk said.
“[We will be] building a 35,000 m2 public park,” the statement added, “which will be open for the visitor’s entertainment and will include a hall and a stage for celebrative events.”
As for the landfills, Machnouk said that its waste would degrade in 10 years. Then, it will be joined to the public park, forming a green area covering 100,000 square meters of the southern coast.
The dump’s transformation was completed Tuesday, which was a relief to the city’s residents.
“I can’t believe that the dump has been removed,” nearby resident Siham al-Abed told The Daily Star. “It’s a tremendous job; we are no longer bothered by the smell or fires.”
At one time, the huge hill of trash topped 58 meters and encompassed around 6 hectares of space. Accumulated gases would sporadically erupt into fires, and the smell of the garbage would waft over the city.
Then, about a year ago, the Environment Ministry and the United Nations Development Program signed an agreement to tackle the waste crisis in cooperation with the Sidon municipality.
In total, 1.5 million cubic meters of waste was processed and deposited in three separate landfills, which form a single 8-meter-high mound. Pipelines were laid to draw out the gases released by decomposing waste.
The waste was then covered with a layer of protective plastic topped with soil. The knoll is expected to turn green over the coming year, and after seven years, it will be opened as a public park. In the meantime, a 30,000-square-meter public garden is being built next to the landfill.