Trash collection restarts in Beirut after landfill crisis
Protesters have closed the highway linking Beirut with southern Lebanon over the country's trash crisis
Trash collection resumed in Lebanon's capital Beirut after an almost week-long crisis that has seen streets overflowing with waste and the air filled with the smell of rotting garbage.
The collection restarted after a temporary deal was found to begin taking trash to several landfills in undisclosed locations.
"Coordination is now underway for trash to be taken from treatment plants to these places and for the restarting of street sweeping and collection of trash from the streets," the official National News Agency quoted Environment Minister Mohamed Mashnuq as saying late Saturday.
He said the resumption came "after an understanding was reached on the areas where the trash will be treated," without specifying where those areas were.
Beirut and the surrounding region have been in the grip of a trash crisis for the last six days after residents living near the country's largest landfill shut it down.
The government pledged last year that Naameh landfill would be closed on July 17 and an alternative site be found.
But the date came and went with no solution found and residents began blocking the route to the site in the mountains outside Beirut.
Initially, the city's trash collector stored waste at its facilities, but by July 20 they were at capacity and garbage began piling up in the streets.
Experts have urged Lebanon's government to devise a comprehensive waste management solution that would include more recycling and composting to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.
But so far there was no evidence of such a plan, and there was already opposition to the temporary solution.
An AFP correspondent saw dozens of protesters opposed to the use of a landfill in their area blocking the road south of Beirut in both directions a bid to prevent trash deliveries.