On my latest article for Beirut Syndrome, I investigated the recent reopening of the Burj Hammoud landfill, exploring the potential environmental and economic consequences- all of which are very severe. Of course, I spoke to local activists and residents who shared their experiences of how the garbage crisis impacted their daily lives. The picture above was taken exactly 365 days ago, when less than 20 people rallied throughout Burj Hammoud, after the idea of opening the landfill was proposed. Below is an excerpt:
It is important to remember that prior to the garbage crisis reaching Beirut, Burj Hammoud was already suffering. And, unlike Beirut, nobody cared about Burj Hammoud. Known for its large Armenian population, the neighborhood is also home to many Syrian refugees, migrant workers from countries in Africa and South Asia, as well as a small Kurdish population.
Researcher and activist, Kathy Moughalian had lost what little hope she had left for the Lebanese state. “Before they opened the landfill, there was already a lot of trash on the streets. It was already quite unlivable, you know?” says Moughalian, who, alongside her family and neighbors, have been tolerating not only the stench of trash, but also the unbearable odor of burning garbage.
Burj Hammoud activist Carl reported that all the methods of mitigating the odors that were used last summer are futile, including masks. Carl says, “depending on the strength and direction of the wind, people can’t even open their windows anymore.”
Read the full article here.