Beirut Garbage Piles Up as Political Division Prevents Disposal

Lebanon’s cabinet, paralyzed by political division, failed Thursday to reach an agreement on how to dispose of more than 20,000 tons of garbage that’s been piling up for days on the streets of Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

Some trash will be distributed between several dumps outside the capital until a solution is found, Environment Minister Mohammad Mashnouk said after the cabinet meeting. Ministers will take up the issue again on Tuesday, he said.

The garbage crisis began when the capital’s main dump at Naameh closed last week before an alternative site was agreed. In some areas of Beirut, piles of trash has partially closed roads as the stinking heaps remain uncollected.

Lebanon’s institutions have been paralyzed by political impasse that’s prevented the election of a head of state since President Michel Suleiman’s term ended in May 2014. The government has been locked in a dispute with the Free Patriotic Movement, an ally of Hezbollah, over security appointments and the cabinet’s decision-making mechanism in the absence of a president.