May 11, 2011 02:09 AM (Last updated: May 11, 2011 08:40 AM)
By Mohammed Zaatari
The Daily Star

BEIRUT: Activists in Baabda and residents of eastern Sidon are up in arms about mounting environmental problems and are urging the authorities to step in to provide solutions.

Sidon residents, frustrated with mounting piles of trash and few alternatives for waste disposal, set dumpsters on fire over the weekend.
More than 10 waste containers were set on fire Sunday in the village of Abra near Sidon, as smoke and foul odors reached all the way to the city.

Although Sidon Mayor Mohammad Saudi announced Monday that an end to the city’s waste crisis would soon be reached, the city and its neighboring villages continue to face challenges.

According to Fatima Gharbi, a resident of Abra, garbage had been accumulating in front of homes and neighborhood residents feared the waste would attract stray dogs and rats.

The garbage crisis intensified in Sidon and its surrounding areas after the city’s dump exceeded its capacity a few months ago.

The Civil Defense and Fire Brigade in Sidon have received dozens of phone calls from residents asking for help with fires blazing in waste containers scattered around the village.

The damage from the fires was surveyed Monday morning and it was discovered that the flames had damaged trees lining the side of the roads.

Separately, the head of Nature without Borders, Mahmoud Ahmadieh, called on officials to protect forests in the Baabda village of Tarshish, the National News Agency reported.

Ahmadieh issued his plea to prevent trees from being cut down in the village of Tarshish for the sixth year in a row, in a conference Tuesday at the organization’s headquarters in Aley.

“Since 2005, trees have been cut illegally despite all our appeals and communication with all sides responsible for the protection of forests,” said Ahmadieh. “Massacring forests under the guise of tree trimming, and cutting down hundreds and thousands of trees is a crime … still taking place today.”

According to Ahmadieh, people are entering into wooded areas and chopping down trees in the middle of the forest, such that the deforestation can only be detected from the air.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 11, 2011, on page 2.
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::