Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star

JADRA, Lebanon: Towns in the Iqlim al-Kharroub region north of Sidon have accused truck drivers of dumping waste and debris along roadsides, and the mayor of Jadra has described it as a recurring problem.

“We have come here to raise our voices against truck drivers that are transporting waste and rubble from Beirut, its suburbs and other areas close to the Iqlim al-Kharroub coast,” Mayor Joseph Azzi, who is also a priest, said during a media event Monday to raise awareness of the issue.

He added that this phenomenon was having a negative impact on the local environment and ecological tourism in the area.

“They are committing an environmental massacre against [Jadra] and the coastal Chouf region,” Azzi said, adding that the towns of Jadra, Jiyyeh, Rmeileh, Wardanieh, Sibline and Barja had been facing this problem for some time now.

“As a municipality we removed this waste two years ago and planted trees all over the sides of the road,” Azzi said, explaining that for a while this had been enough to prevent drivers from dumping their waste.

“The overall procedure cost us more than LL25 million, but unfortunately, truck owners and drivers have resumed their work.”

Jiyyeh’s mayor, Georges Nader al-Azzi, said the municipality had attempted to file a complaint against a driver who was caught illegally dumping waste, but it “did not succeed” in holding him accountable.

The representative of Barja’s municipality, Nashaat Hamieh, said that his town had recently taken action by arresting a man who was caught throwing rubble in the drainage channels between Jadra and Barja.

“We are now working on filing lawsuit with the public prosecutor in collaboration with the [region’s] municipalities,” he said.

The Mayor of the Chouf district town of Sibline, Mohammed Khaled Qaabour, called on the security forces to take the necessary measures against the drivers. “They should detain their trucks,” he said.

South Lebanon has been the site of several protracted struggles over waste disposal.

The famous Sidon dumpsite caused environmental problems for residents for more than 30 years, before being turned to a proper landfill in July.

The Naameh landfill, which was created in 1997 as a temporary solution, has also been a major source of contention among local residents.

Over the past year, residents have held protests and blocked garbage trucks from dumping for several days. They opposed the continued use of the site, which continues to receive waste from the Beirut area, despite being over capacity.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 02, 2014, on page 4.

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