BEIRUT: Activists Friday reiterated their opposition to the government's plan to remove piles of garbage from makeshift dumps in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, calling for a mass protest in Downtown Beirut next week.
“We are not here to negotiate or bargain,” Ayman Mroueh, a spokesperson for the civil society movement which includes You Stink and We Want Accountability, said in a news conference.
“We affirm our support for the residents of Naameh and residents of the other designated dumping areas,” he added, reading from a statement.
He placed blame on the government for failing to deal with the 10-week-old trash crisis, and called for a new demonstration to be held Thursday in Riad al-Solh Square at 6 p.m. to coincide with the third national dialogue session.
“As much as we want garbage removed from outside our homes, we don’t want to dump it other areas that can pose a threat to fellow citizens’ health,” Mroueh added.
“We want the municipalities to set out a clear waste management strategy approach to tackling waste disposal.”
The statement also demanded the annulment of the contract with Lebanon's waste management company, Sukleen, and the suspension of the Council for Development and Construction’s role in monitoring the treatment and disposal of waste.
Instead, it demanded the Environment Ministry to take the lead after the resignation of Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk.
A plan approved by Cabinet last month called for the establishment of two sanitary landfills, one in the northern district of Akkar and another in the Masnaa area of the Bekaa Valley.
The plan, which was devised by Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb, would also see the reopening of the Naameh landfill for seven days, to relieve Beirut and Mount Lebanon from trash that has been mounting on the streets for two months, and would support robust waste recycling initiatives.