Urgent Matters Judge of Baabda Hassan Hamdan ordered the permanent closure of the controversial Costa Brava landfill effective in four months, the National News Agency reported on Tuesday.
The judge gave four months time period for the closing date, to pave way for concerned municipalities to find an alternative for the dump that receives the trash of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, NNA said.
The landfill was purported to be permanently closed on Tuesday, January 24, pending a final verdict in the case, according to a judge ruling. But the decision was postponed.
Orders to close the landfill, which lies at the foot of the Rafik Hariri International Airport, emerged when concerns rose that the seagulls circling around the site pose a threat to aircraft safety.
Costa Brava was opened in March last year as one of three “temporary” tips intended to provide an interim solution after the closure of the main landfill receiving waste from Beirut.
The dumps were eventually intended to have waste processing facilities, but that has not happened.
As a result, garbage has piled up in Costa Brava, on the coastline close to the airport runways, reaching nine meters (30 feet) in some places.
Environmentalists have for months warned that the dump is attracting rodents and increasing numbers of birds.
In August, the Lebanese pilots’ union warned of the possibility of the birds being sucked into airplane engines.
Transport Minister Youssef Fenianos said the problem would be tackled by installing additional devices emitting high-pitched frequencies and bird of prey calls to scare away the nuisance birds.
A permanent solution for the waste produced by Beirut and its surroundings has yet to be found, months after the Naameh landfill was shuttered and garbage began piling up on the capital’s streets.
The issue is one of many outstanding challenges for Lebanon’s new government, which was formed on December 18 after two years of political deadlock.