Give us your garbage, Germany tells trash-filled Lebanon

Beirut and nearby areas have faced an acute trash problem over the last couple of weeks

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Germany is to study plans to export Lebanon’s garbage, Beirut-based paper The Daily Star reported on Saturday, alleviating the tiny Middle Eastern country’s waste disposal problem.

The capital and nearby areas have faced an acute trash problem over the last couple of weeks, after the nearby landfill –which had reached full capacity - closed. Amid sweltering summer heat, trash soon began to build up in the streets, prompting an outcry from the city’s two million residents.

When nearby municipalities refused to accept Beirut’s garage, the cabinet began to mull the idea of exporting it abroad.

The German ambassador to Lebanon “welcomed the idea of exporting the garbage to Germany,” Economy Minister Alain Hakim told a local television station after meeting with the envoy. “We agreed on preparing a feasibility study which will allow us to lay a road map.”

By exporting the trash to Germany, authorities hope to be able to pay only $70-100 per ton of garbage – compared to $147 per ton paid to a previous contractor.

Local ports and businesses expect lucrative opportunities to open up, as talks focus on trash being taken away by ship.

Mohammad Qabbani, a Beirut lawmaker, told the Daily Star that international trash disposal companies would not dump the trash at sea. “These are international firms that have sites all over the world. We’re talking about very large ships – they can really take a large proportion [of the garbage],” he said.

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