Sunday, February 21

More proof Middle Easterns are crazy: Dividing Lebanese garbage by religious sect

A truck drives on a highway near piled garbage in Beirut, Jan. 19, 2016. (photo by REUTERS/Aziz Taher)

Yes I'm still making a last-ditch pitch to China's oligarchs to stay out of the Middle East. From Al Monitor's howler, Will religiously divided landfills solve Lebanon's trash crisis? (November 2015):
The point of contention is the location and distribution of the landfills among the provinces, a problem that at this point has taken on a sectarian character, like the overall power structure in the country. Although Lebanon's various regions are home to a mix of sects, they are still characterized by sectarian division. The solution on the table suggests distributing waste on a regional basis, but this by nature also means on a sectarian basis.
Thus, talk of Shiite, Sunni and Christian landfills has emerged.
No sect has shown a willingness to receive waste from other areas or sects in its region. No political party, which essentially represent religious groups in the Council of Ministers, is willing to allow into its constituency the waste of other regions or religious groups.
Following much controversy, one agreement was reached in which a landfill in the Shiite area of the Bekaa Valley agreed to take in waste produced in Shiite areas elsewhere. Discussions are underway to develop a landfill in the Srar region, in Sunni-dominated Akkar, in the north. This landfill would receive and treat waste produced in Beirut, especially its Sunni areas, because efforts to develop a landfill in the densely populated capital have failed.
The waste problem from Christian areas, particularly Mount Lebanon (the Metn and Keserwan districts), stems from the old landfills being full and no possibility of creating new ones. Establishing landfills in mountainous areas is tricky given the threat posed to groundwater.
As to where things stand now in the never-ending garbage crisis, when all else fails try to export the stuff but the latest news, as of February 19, is that the plan to export the garbage to Russia fell through and what passes for a government in Lebanon can't find any country willing to accept the garbage. A small amount probably could have been received by some countries but now it's mountains of rotting garbage -- all of it untreated and unsorted.  

So Lebanese are back to square one, which is picking their way through mountains of rotting garbage and yapping at each other about religious landfills.


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