TYRE, Lebanon: Speaker Nabih Berri requested the permanent closure of the Ras al-Ain dump in Tyre, a local official announced Friday.
Abdel-Mohsen Husseini, head of the Tyre Municipalities Union, confirmed that he received a call from Berri to close the dump south of Tyre permanently.
Husseini said he informed a number of mayors that he would be heeding the request to close the dump Saturday morning.
The mayor said the local government wants to prevent trash from piling up in the Tyre area in light of the ongoing trash crisis, and that it also expressed concerns that new random unlicensed dump sites would spring up.
The dump has been operating for a quarter century and occupies a space of more than 10 dunams. The land it lies on is owned by one of Ras al-Ain’s residents.
Several municipalities including that of Tyre and Palestinian refugee camps around the area are able to dump their waste at the site by paying some money to the landowner. But toxins unleashed into the area after sporadic fires in the dump have polluted the shore and sea off Tyre.
Residents are concerned by the proximity of the site to several ponds in Ras al-Ain, which supply fresh water to the city of Tyre and surrounding areas.
A waste separation plant in Ain Baal, east of Tyre, was established with the help of USAID, but it is not yet able to sort all material.
“It’s working with all capacity,” Husseini said. “But there are certain wastes that the plant can’t absorb, such as the carcasses from slaughterhouses.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 05, 2015, on page 4.