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

Photogallery Pakistani Offensive Empties Largest Town in North Waziristan

Army commander says troops have found about a dozen bomb-making facilities, underground network of tunnels; troops must clear huge amount of IEDs More

Video Israel, Hamas Trade Blame, Dig in

Both sides blame each other for provoking conflict, neither side at this point is ready to back down More

US: Cooperation with Germany Important Despite Spying Fallout

Refusing to comment on 'purported intelligence matter', White House spokeswoman says administration 'will continue to be in touch with German government in appropriate channels' 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.
Restored Papyrus Swamps Can Help Fight Pollution, Conserve Wateri
X
Faiza Elmasry
July 10, 2014 5:18 PM
Papyrus is a light but strong reed that grows well in shallow, fresh water. The plant stood at the center of the ancient Egyptian civilization. It was used as paper and the reed's shape inspired the fluted columns of ancient Greece. Most of the papyrus swamps gradually disappeared from Egypt and other parts of Africa. As VOA's Faiza Elmasry discovered, though, restoring the papyrus swamps could hold the key to solve many of today’s problems, from pollution to water wars. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Restored Papyrus Swamps Can Help Fight Pollution, Conserve Water

Papyrus is a light but strong reed that grows well in shallow, fresh water. The plant stood at the center of the ancient Egyptian civilization. It was used as paper and the reed's shape inspired the fluted columns of ancient Greece. Most of the papyrus swamps gradually disappeared from Egypt and other parts of Africa. As VOA's Faiza Elmasry discovered, though, restoring the papyrus swamps could hold the key to solve many of today’s problems, from pollution to water wars. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Virginia Site Tests Drones for FAA Rules

Blacksburg, a college town in southwestern Virginia, is one of six locations chosen by the FAA - the Federal Aviation Administration - to test drones. Researchers are sending feedback to the FAA as the agency develops national drone regulations. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti traveled to the town to check what’s up in the air there.
Video

Video Israel, Hamas Trade Blame, Dig in

The military conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, continues to escalate. As VOA’s Brian Padden reports, both sides blame each other for provoking the conflict and neither side at this point is ready to back down.
Video

Video Civilians Fear Mideast Violence Could Turn Into Full-Scale War

Violence in the Middle East is escalating at a time when there are no new peace talks in sight. Israeli and Palestinian leaders have condemned the brutal deaths of three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian teen, and have vowed to punish those responsible. But both sides also seem to be gearing up for more fighting. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video African-born Pastor Brings ‘Holy Laughter’ Revival to Washington

A South African-born televangelist based in Florida has brought his ministry to Washington for a three-week event he is calling “Celebrate America.” Rodney Howard-Browne is calling for a religious revival in the United States. But as VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports, his preaching style is far from mainstream.
Video

Video American Roadside Attraction 'Dinosaur Land' Lures Visitors

A big part of the American landscape of the middle 20th century was the roadside attraction - small zoos, amusement parks or quirky museums along the highways families traveled on their way to vacation destinations. Most of those attractions are gone, but one in Virginia, a couple of hours from Washington, called Dinosaur Land, is still going strong.
Video

Video Burma Football Friendly Brings Together Battlefield Opponents

As most of Myanmar’s ethnic armies maintain a fragile ceasefire with the government, some of the troops were able to let off a little steam, World Cup - style. Steve Sandford reports from Karen State, Myanmar, also known as Burma, on a peace initiative aimed at building trust between the opposing sides of one of the world’s longest-running conflicts.
Video

Video FIFA’s Football for Hope Tournament Kicks Off in Brazil

As excitement builds toward the final matches of football's (soccer's) World Cup, another competition has kicked-off in Brazil. The Football for Hope Festival brings together underprivileged young people from around the world for an event that is less about winning than about enjoying the game and one another. Scott Bobb reports from Rio de Janeiro.

AppleAndroid