BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk announced Saturday evening that the collection of garbage will resume in Beirut and Mount Lebanon in a matter of hours after the ministry located new dumps, declaring an end to a six-day crisis that saw the capital and its suburbs buried under piles of waste.
“We are now coordinating to move the garbage from the treatment facilities to these locations, as well as resuming the collection process and removing garbage from the streets of these areas,” Machnouk said in a statement.
“Also, tonight and in the coming days, garbage will be removed” from the capital and Mount Lebanon.
The solution was reached after “intensive efforts” sponsored by Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Machnouk added.
“This is a sensitive operation, and we hope to implement it despite the tense political ambiance,” he added.
Machnouk released a separate statement earlier in the day asking the public to sort their garbage at home and in commercial shops.
Massive mounds of garbage have accumulated on streets in Beirut and Mount Lebanon since Sukleen suspended trash collection Sunday night, two days after the closure of the 17-year-old Naameh landfill.
Saturday's announcement came two hours after hundreds of people marched in Downtown Beirut to denounce the government’s failure to solve the crisis.
Many of the protesters who were still in Downtown Beirut at the time of the announcement told reporters that simply burying the trash in new landfills was not acceptable and called for a long-term solution.
Machnouk earlier this week said any new dumps that are identified will be used temporarily until new companies are found to properly treat the waste.
The Development and Reconstruction Council has recently held a call for tenders, but no companies responded with any offers to manage Beirut and Mount Lebanon's waste.