Lebanon News

Machnouk withdraws from committee dealing with garbage crisis

Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk smiles to reporter after the meeeting, with PSP chief Walid Jumblatt and MP Akram Chehayeb in the background. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir.)

BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk Monday suspended his participation in a ministerial committee tasked with following up the trash crisis in Lebanon.

"I have informed (Prime Minister Tammam) Salam of my decision to withdraw from the committee and its secretariat," Machnouk said in a statement issued by his press office.

The minister cited the latest developments, in particular the dispute over resolving the garbage crisis, the failure to reach a breakthrough to the deteriorating situation after the closure of the Naameh landfill and the failure to approve the required waste tenders, in addition to the political powers failure to locate alternative healthy landfills, as the main reason for his resignation from the committee.

Machnouk hoped that Salam would task a figure that he "deems adequate instead of him," expressing his ministry's readiness to cooperate with him.

"I am always ready to carry out my duties when there is a necessity."

He hoped that Lebanon would reach a swift solution to end the "worsening" trash crisis.

Machnouk's stance comes after a weekend mass rally when thousands of Lebanese from across the country joined Saturday the You Stink campaign's rally in Martyrs' Square in Downtown Beirut, waving the Lebanese flag and holding banners to denounce corruption and the politicians' failure to manage the state.

The demonstrators called on Machnouk to resign for mismanaging the ongoing trash crisis that has stretched on for six weeks now.

However, the minister underscored in a statement shortly after the demonstration ended that he will not give up on his duties during the delicate stage the country is passing through.

"I will not give up on my responsibilities during this critical stage because it's something I'm not used to," Machnouk said in remarks to media outlets.

He argued that he isn't the only one responsible for the waste crisis in the country. "There is joint responsibility."

 

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