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Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb (left) meets with Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail in Beirut, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. (The Daily Star/Dalati & Nohra, HO)

Lebanon: Finding landfills remains chief obstacle to waste crisis

The Levant News — BEIRUT: Finding landfills for Beirut and Mount Lebanon waste remains the major obstacle to the implementation of a comprehensive trash plan, Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb announced Thursday.

“We’ve gone a long way toward fixing the problem, but there continues to be some sticking points that remain unresolved,” Chehayeb told reporters following a meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

“We need to secure landfills,” he said, adding that Hezbollah and the Amal Movement of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri have “done their part” in providing a dump in the Bekaa Valley.

This suggests that political leaders in the Metn and Kesrouan regions would still have to provide a landfill for the disposal of the waste generated from Mount Lebanon.

Chehayeb traveled from the Grand Serail in Downtown Beirut to the nearby Kataeb Party headquarters in Saifi for a meeting with party leader Sami Gemayel.

He was cheerful after the meeting, saying “Gemayel offered to establish a landfill in Kesrouan.”

Chehayeb then met with Education Minister Elias Bou Saab, who represents Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement in the government.

“All of us share everything in this country,” Bou Saab told reporters after the meeting. He said changes introduced to Chehayeb’s trash plan should be brought into force.

Chehayeb was hoping to reach a solution to the nearly four-month trash crisis by the end of the week, based on shared responsibility, an idea offered by Berri.

Berri’s proposal, which came after locals in the Bekaa Valley opposed a landfill suggested in Chehayeb’s plan, states that Hezbollah and Amal Movement deal with the waste generated from areas under their control – Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Chehayeb’s plan calls for dividing Beirut and Mount Lebanon’s trash between landfills in the northern region of Akkar, the Bekaa Valley in the east and potentially Burj Hammoud, while municipalities prepare to take responsibility for their own waste over the next 18 months.

Prime Minister Tammam Salam has accused Hezbollah of backing down on the decision to create a landfill in the western part of the Bekaa Valley and issued a strong message to political leaders in the Metn and Kesrouan regions, blaming them for the ongoing trash crisis.


Source: The Daily Star

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