This undated file picture shows a man taking note next to a barrel of toxic waste in an undisclosed location in Lebanon. (Photo by Pierre Malychef)
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When Speaker Nabih Berri filed a lawsuit Thursday against merchants for importing toxic waste into Lebanon, he made a point of doing it both as a Lebanese citizen, as well as in his governmental role, judicial sources told The Daily Star.However, it is not the first time that Lebanon has been used a dumping site for toxic waste.In 1987, in the midst of the Civil War, members of the Lebanese Forces militia were paid $22 million by Italian mafia groups to dispose of 15,800 barrels and 20 containers of toxic waste. The Health Minister at the time, Joseph al-Hashem, assembled a crack team of scientists to investigate the ramifications of the case: Dr. Milad Jarjoui, Dr. Wilson Rizk and Dr. Pierre Malychef. Their initial investigations found that much of the toxic waste had been burned and dumped in public waste sites. Malychef was arrested and detained for two weeks for giving "false testimony" on the scandal. The day before his arrest, on national television, he said that toxic waste was scattered all across Lebanon. Today, Hamdan and Rizk say they are convinced that there is no longer any toxic waste remaining from the Italian shipment in Lebanon.The latest scandal is an example of Lebanon's inability to deal with issues of toxic waste.
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