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Lebanon Unveils Temporary Trash Crisis Solution

FILE -- Garbage bags line a street in Jdeideh, east Beirut, Lebanon, March 3, 2016. The Lebanese government has announced a temporary solution for the country’s eight-month trash crisis, saying three landfills will be opened.

Facing renewed protests over its months-long trash crisis, the Lebanese government on Saturday approved an emergency plan to open three landfills near Beirut.

Information Minister Ramzi Jreij announced the four-year temporary plan as thousands of protesters marched in the capital to demand a permanent solution to the crisis, which has spawned civil unrest and widespread health warnings since trash began piling up in July 2015.

Under the deal, reached after an eight-hour cabinet meeting, Jreij said a key landfill near the city would be reopened for two months to take in thousands of tons of trash pushed to the outskirts of Beirut. He also said two other landfills would open north and south of the city.

The trash crisis began when officials last year closed the Naameh landfill south of the city with no plan in place to absorb the daily refuse from the Beirut area's 2 million residents. A plan to export the garbage was scrapped last month when no deal could be reached, and critics alleged corruption on the part of officials in Lebanon's Agriculture Ministry.

Earlier Saturday, protest organizers from the "You Stink" movement called for a nationwide strike Monday to force a government response to the crisis.

Protest organizer Ali Slim called for a boycott of schools Monday and urged workers to stay home.

Hours after the temporary plan was announced, it remained unclear whether the strike would take place.