Rubbish crisis shuts down Beirut port

Work in the port of Beirut stopped on August 13 as workers staged a cautionary strike over serious health and safety concerns following the dumping of rubbish near the port.

“We will not accept our port becoming the capital’s dumping ground. The health of all who enter the port is at risk, workers, visitors and customers. We want the port authorities to talk to the union; we want to avoid further escalation to open-ended strike,” said Bchara Asmar, president of the Union of Beirut port employees.

Rubbish collection in Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, halted in July following commercial dispute between Sukleen and the government which raised people’s concerns on health and safety.

The union reports that the Lebanese government has not provided viable long-term waste management solutions to date and the municipalities have resorted to temporary solutions, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

This potential environmental crisis affects the general public in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. Reports state some 20 tons of rubbish have been dumped in the streets in the searing heat.

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