BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk Wednesday promised to do his utmost to address a looming garbage crisis, as the deadline for the closure of the Naameh landfill approaches with no decision yet on a substitute site. “We will not leave the people to address this problem [on their own] so that they get flooded with garbage.

We are seriously seeking a favorable outcome in the upcoming weeks,” Machnouk said after chairing a meeting of the National Environment Council. After a plan to treat the Lebanon’s waste was approved in January, the government called for tenders to manage the garbage, dividing the country into six districts.

But companies only applied for District 2, encompassing Metn, Kesrouan and Jbeil. The Naameh landfill, where trash from Beirut and Mount Lebanon is dumped, is scheduled to close on July 17.

Under the plan, contractors who win the tenders must secure the location of a landfill in their district. Relaunching the tenders in the five remaining districts, including Beirut, requires a decision from the Cabinet, currently in a state of paralysis. But Machnouk voiced hope that a suitable decision could be made in coordination with the Cabinet and a ministerial committee headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 18, 2015, on page 3.