By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – Authorities on Sunday closed down a landfill north of the capital after its owners failed to address residents’ complaints of noise and environmental pollution.

The landfill, which stretches over 50 dunums of land in Safout in Ain Al Basha, a few kilometres north of Amman, was the site of a sand quarry a half-century ago that was later transformed into a dumping site for construction waste.

According to Minister of Environment Taher Shakhshir, authorities cordoned off the site due to environmental hazards, particularly as uncovered trucks carrying construction materials to the site barrelled through residential neighbourhoods at different hours of the day, spreading debris in their wake.

In order to reduce potential environmental hazards, the ministry and Safout residents requested the landfill owners to operate only between 8:00am to 3:00pm, accept only covered trucks and pave the road leading to the site, ministry spokesperson Isa Shboul said yesterday.

“But the landfill’s owners did not abide by our conditions; trucks loaded with rubble were passing through residential areas uncovered, causing air and noise pollution,” Shboul told The Jordan Times over the phone yesterday.

Once the owners rectify the situation and abide by environment regulations, the landfill will be reopened, according to the ministry.

“The Environment Protection Law and its bylaws will be enforced and industries creating pollution and affecting the environment and public health will be held accountable,” Shakhshir said in a statement released yesterday.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Environment and environmental Rangers are set to launch a new campaign in mid-March to raise motorists’ awareness on the need to carry out regular maintenance on their vehicles to prevent the emission of excess fumes.

“The one-month campaign will target drivers of vehicles operating on diesel, which emit excessive harmful gases,” Shboul underscored.

According to environment officials and experts, these vehicles diesel emit hazardous gasses due to the “low quality of diesel” in the country.