'You stink': The fight to get rubbish off Beirut's streets

The stench rising from rubbish piled up on the streets of Beirut, the Lebanese capital, has become so bad that an online campaign telling the government "You Stink" is now trending online.

Imagine the stench of 20,000 tonnes of rubbish on the streets during the hottest time of the year. That's exactly what the residents of Beirut have been living with for more than a week.

Rubbish collection was halted early last week because one of the city's biggest landfill sites was full, and had to close. The government was supposed to find alternative sites to dump the rubbish, but a solution has not yet been found.

Meanwhile, residents are walking around wearing masks in an attempt to fend off the foul smell. Thousands are venting their anger on social media. "Beirut needs a superhero: Garbageman" a Lebanese tweeted.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption The tweet reads 'This is what planes will look like at the Rubbish International Airport #YouStink'

Fed up with the situation, some residents burnt rubbish on the streets - while hundreds joined a demonstration on Saturday calling on the government to resign over its failure to take action. Rubbish collection has now resumed in some parts of Beirut but, according to local news reports, the government has not announced where they will be taking it, and many are worried it hasn't found a long-term solution.

Image copyright Twitter

A Twitter and Facebook campaign called 'You Stink' is urging Lebanese people to join a new demonstration on Tuesday in front of the Council of Ministers' building in Beirut. The campaign is asking people to voice their concerns, and demand an environmentally-friendly solution which doesn't involve dumping, burning or throwing waste into the sea.

Image copyright Twitter

Many seem to agree that the rubbish crisis is just a symptom of a wider political problem in Lebanon. "The trash crisis in Lebanon is just a reminder of the system we live in. Stop being surprised. That's what we built," tweeted Joey Ayoub, a Lebanese blogger.

For over a year now Lebanon has been without a president. The country is run by a parliament that was elected in 2009, and had its own term extended and postponed elections until 2017. And Lebanon's population is having to deal with many other issues that affect their daily lives.

"No electricity, no water, no security, no president and on top of it all - rubbish," wrote one Lebanese woman.

But the increasing economic and political challenges facing the country have led many Lebanese people to say enough is enough.

"We are frustrated because the government's solutions are minimal,' Assad Thebian, a participant in Tuesday's demonstrations told BBC Trending. "They should have dealt with this problem before it reached this stage, they knew the landfill was shutting down, and yet they did nothing."

BBC Trending has contacted the Lebanese government, but has not yet received a response.

Image copyright Twitter

Blog by Mai Noman

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