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‘Trash mafia’ hindering garbage solution in Lebanon: FPM minister

The Levant News — BEIRUT: Lebanese Education Minister Elias Bou Saab said he was doubtful rivals would be able to reach a solution to the garbage crisis anytime soon, blaming dominant players in the waste industry.

Speaking to Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3), he accused the “trash mafia” of having a stronger influence on the prolonged crisis than the Cabinet.

The minister, who belongs to the Free Patriotic Movement, criticized the “sides that are covering up for Sukleen for impeding any solution to the crisis.”

Sukleen and Sukomi are subsidiaries of the international contractor Averda, which is led by Lebanese businessman Maysarah Sukkar. Both manage waste in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, though they have curtailed their services since the trash started.

The crisis began on July 17, after the Environment Ministry closed an overused landfill but failed to provision a waste management plan for the day after, causing collection services to collapse.

Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb held lengthy talks Thursday with Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Bou Saab and Kataeb leader MP Sami Gemayel.

The Cabinet has yet to sign decrees appropriating funds to execute Chehayeb’s plan, which they agreed to implement as a solution to the crisis. The plan calls for opening a landfill in Akkar’s Srar and another in the Bekaa Valley. Beirut’s trash would be transferred to the Srar landfill, while Hezbollah and Amal have agreed to move waste from Beirut’s southern suburbs to the landfill in the Bekaa.

However, Chehayeb was seeking Thursday the approval of the Kataeb and FPM over the establishment of a landfill in the Metn.

“Chehayeb proposed during a Thursday meeting to let Metn and Kesrouan districts process their waste after a deal was struck with the rest of the areas, but he swiftly backed down on his suggestion,” Bou Saad said.

Source: The Daily Star

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