Trash Crisis in Lebanon

What does it comes to your mind first when you think of a term ‘Crisis’?

At first I thought the crisis always includes war, terror or mass destruction. However, the fact is not. The definition of ‘Crisis’ is  1. a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or for worse, is determined; turning point. 2. a condition of instability of danger, as in social, economic, political, or international affairs, leading to a decisive change. It is a moving to change certain circumstances and the Lebanon is in crisis now which is ‘Trash Crisis.’

Garbage is piled along a highway in Beirut, Lebanon, September 3, 2015.

The Lebanon currently facing the crisis which is called ‘Trash Crisis.’ As we can see in the pictures above, trash are piled up everywhere. Then why those trash are still remaining and no one clean it up? Since the main waste-management company Sukleen announced that there is no place to dispose the garbage where they ordinarily dumped in the mountains southeast of the city, the government didn’t decide the alternative place to handle trashes. Citizens are suffering because of the gases coming out of the trash so, they could not even open windows.

This circumstances indicates not only the trash problem that Lebanon currently facing but also, a potent symbol of the political rotten Lebanon government. With the dirty smell and view of trash, protesters brought out the slogan; “You Stink.”

One of the Western diplomat said

What we’re concerned about is the continued steady erosion of the institutions, which is a fact, that’s why people take to the streets, there is a lot of inefficiency, there is no reform, and the government is not able to execute whatever decision it takes.

Even the Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam supports the ongoing nationwide protests against his own government. Which means some politicians in Lebanon are also believe something is going wrong in their country.

A protester holds up a Lebanese flag during a protest against corruption and against the government’s failure to resolve a crisis over rubbish disposal in Beirut, Lebanon August 29, 2015.

Riot police sprayed protesters with water in Beirut as demonstrations entered a second day.

Thousands of protesters joined the protest and the police tear gas guns and shot fire hoses on the crowds. According to the Red Cross, at least 30 people were hurt and police shot rubber bullets to the crowds too. Mr. Fouad al Hassan who is an actor in television comedies said

We want new blood or the country will stay same. Today, it’s too late for me, but I want it for my children. I want them to live a better life.

Based on what Mr. Hassan said, he knew that the government is not doing well in the past, but now he want to change it in for children. Then why these kind of crisis didn’t occur in the past. I believe citizens in Lebanon could realize the problem and inability of the government throughout the disgusting smell of trash. Poverty, Repression and inequality problem in Lebanon existed in the past, but these problems didn’t make people’s anger meet the 100 Celsius. However, the smell that trash made citizens distressed everyday, every moment so, it hit the 100 Celsius and burst out their anger to the government.

We will face or already faced some irrationality of the society now we are currently in and will be in. However, we don’t make voices every time with other people because the crisis need ‘People.’ To be more specific, people who can sympathize with me on a certain problem. In this ‘Trash Crisis in Lebanon’, many people agreed that something is going wrong in their country and made voices. As a result, I believe ‘Sympathy’, the ‘Sympathy’ of many people is the most critical thing that could bring crisis in the society and change the world into a better place.


10 thoughts on “Trash Crisis in Lebanon

  1. This is a very informative post because i was highly unaware of the trash problem in Lebanon. I could not imagine living in a society where garbage is piled up everywhere and the smell is unbearable. I agree that this should be considered a crisis and the government should change its ways and solve the problem.


    • Thank you for your reply. I also agree on your point. However, the one that I wanted to point out in this post was the trash problem in Lebanon worked as a trigger of Lebanon crisis. Lebanon citizens had grievance on their government, and now their anger burst out due to the trash problem. If I were there I would think like “How government couldn’t even solve the trash problem, and we are hoping them to run our country well?!” Then I would doubt about the ability of current government.


  2. What needs to be done is that the Lebanese government need to create an institution based on sanitation, with the goal of promoting recycling in order to limit the number of trash being thrown out. Also they need to burn the remaining trash in order to prevent dumping too much garbage and chemical wastes. The country’s streets reflect the government as a whole. The garbage that fill the streets of Lebanon shows the ineffectiveness and weakness of the government. This is giving the citizens an opportunity and the motivation to protest.Even the Lebanese Prime Minister supports the protests against his own government.


  3. This is very reminiscent of the trash crisis in Italy in 2008 when the streets were crowded knee deep in trash releasing toxic fumes as the result of the Camorra mafias monopoly over the waste disposal industry


  4. This is probably the most interesting post on the blog. I had no idea such a problem existed in Lebanon. Is it because it is such a small country that they have found nowhere else to dump the trash? What might be a good thing for the lebanese government to invest in is a plasma waste converter which burns at such a high intensity that there are no negative environmental factors. They are beginning to sprout up around the world and with such a trash crisis adding Lebanon to that list is a good idea


  5. I am not sure of when waste management in Lebanon started to be an issue but I think it highlights one important thing. In a lot of ways the Arab Spring can be seen as a good thing. An uprising in countries that are fed up with their government. Lebanon while it did not have a violent revolution like some of the other countries did have protests and some changes were put into effect. This crisis shows that these changes were not enough. Hopefully they can continue to protest peacefully for change in the future and avoid a civil war unlike other countries in the area.


  6. It is completely understandable that the people are upset over the trash problem. No one should have to live like that. In the same sense maybe they should take matters into their own hands and collectively come up with a way to stop the trash crisis from growing larger. I know the people are outraged because they feel that the government should be handling this but the trash is not just coming from the government, it is coming from the people as well. I do not agree with the way that the police are treating the citizens over this issue. I think it is being handled improperly though.


  7. Great post! The proper disposal of waste is typically not an issue in the developed world because there are strong institutions for sanitation and waste management so “trash” does not become a biological, political, economic, or social concern. However, trash, particularly in less-industrialized states in Africa and Asia, plays a very influential role in grass-roots economies – though clearly for worse. Severely impoverished citizens in developing countries survive, for all intents and purposes, off trash from the United States and Western Europe – specifically E-Waste which consists of electronic devices (televisions, computers, and cell phones). E-Waste is a major global health concern, according to the World Health Organization, because of direct human contact with hazardous materials, such as lead, in addition to the potential inhalation of toxic fumes, as well as the accumulation of chemicals in soil, water, and food. Below is a WHO report on electronic waste and how it disproportionately affects children in the developing world.


  8. When a government can’t handle trash in the streets it’s a clear sign something needs to change. Whether these officials are corrupt or incompetent isn’t clear in this case, but it also doesn’t matter. What matters is officials can’t/aren’t doing there jobs. This is truly disgusting and perhaps the trash on the streets is some sort of metaphor for the politicians


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