BEIRUT: The Naameh waste landfill, long reviled by locals and the environmental community, will shut down on July 17, about 18 years after it opened, the environment minister announced Tuesday.

“The Naameh landfill will close July 17,” Mohammad Machnouk told the mayors of Al-Shahar and Al-Gharbi municipalities in Mount Lebanon, adding that the dump would be replaced by a garden, and the landfill’s gases used to generate electricity to neighboring towns.

The Naameh landfill was opened in 1997 under a six-year contract to serve the Beirut and Mount Lebanon regions but remained open 17 years later, significantly impacting those who live in close proximity to the dump. The landfill now receives 2,850 tons of waste a day, five times its intended capacity.

Locals say there is high cancer rate in their communities due to toxins emitted from the landfill.

It was originally set to close on Jan. 17, but the deadline was extended.

The local government and residents of Naameh and surrounding municipalities were outraged by the Cabinet’s decision to delay the closure of the landfill by three months.

In 2014, residents blocked the landfill in protest and demanded its closure, leaving Beirut overflowing with waste.

Protests were dismantled when politicians including Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt convinced protesters that the landfill would be closed no later than Jan. 17, 2015. But the dump has remained operational.

After prolonged discussions over several months, the Cabinet finally passed the Environment Ministry’s national plan for the treatment of solid waste in January.

The plan aims to decentralize Lebanon’s waste by dividing it into six blocks: Beirut and suburbs; the north and Akkar; the south and Nabatieh; the Bekaa Valley and Baalbek-Hermel; Baabda, Chouf, Aley and Jbeil; and Metn and Kesrouan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on May 13, 2015, on page 4.