News / Middle East

Mountain of Trash Blights Historic Lebanese City of Saida

Off the coast of Saida, Lebanon garbage spills into the Mediterranean Sea from what is known locally as "trash mountain"
Off the coast of Saida, Lebanon garbage spills into the Mediterranean Sea from what is known locally as "trash mountain"

Multimedia

Paige Kollock

The Lebanese city of Saida is known for its historic ruins dating to the 5th century BC. It also is known for its giant garbage dump, which residents call "trash mountain."  The mountain has grown steadily for more than 30 years, and city residents, tourists and environmentalists say it is a growing source of frustration to them.

Lebanon's 150-kilometer coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches, but off the coast of Saida, there are no swimmers, due to a giant heap of stinking garbage. The dump started in the 1980s, during Lebanon's civil war, when people began throwing out debris from the destruction.  Over the years, it has grown into an eyesore, an environmental hazard and source of shame for the city.

Mohammed al-Saudi, mayor of Saida, was elected on a platform of getting rid of the trash mountain.

"What we have in Saida is really pathetic, to have a mountain of rubbish, nobody can be proud of it.  We will be proud when we move it," said al-Saudi.

Environmentalists say the mountain is a threat to marine life and coastal ecosystems.  Because there is no barrier between the trash and the sea, the garbage often drifts straight into the water, killing fish and consequently the livelihoods of local fisherman.  

The dump is a health hazard, says Wael Hmaidan, executive director of Indy Act, a non-profit group that works on waste solutions.

"Saida dump burns periodically, and the direction of the wind takes all these toxic fumes into the city, Saida, so you can say on weekly basis, the people in Saida breathe this toxic air," noted Hmaidan.

Many residents doubt the government can fix the problem, but the newly elected mayor is taking action. Al-Saudi says there are plans in place to build both a waste treatment facility and a three-kilometer barrier that would keep the trash from spilling into the sea.

Saudi Arabia has already donated $20 million towards fixing the problem, and the Lebanese government has pitched in, too. The work is expected to take two to three years and will cost upwards of $30 million.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid