by Naharnet Newsdesk 24 September 2018, 16:28

The parliament on Monday approved a controversial waste management law amid an outcry from civil society groups and the two lawmakers Paula Yacoubian and Osama Saad.

“In its legislative session held under the chairmanship of Speaker Nabih Berri, the parliament approved today the draft law included in the decree 8003 that is related to the integrated management of solid waste,” the National News Agency reported.

A group of protesters rejecting the draft law had earlier staged a sit-in outside parliament that coincided with the legislative session.

Campaigners from the Waste Management Coalition demanded that lawmakers “return and amend” the draft law, citing “public safety.”

MP Osama Saad, who took part in the sit-in, said: “The file of waste management in Lebanon is controlled by politics and mafias. It has dangerous repercussions on the health of Lebanese. The crisis must be addressed differently.”

MP Yacoubian for her part stated: “We reject legalizing incinerators through the parliament because cancerous diseases in Lebanon are spiking high. It is crucial that the draft law be rejected.”

Lebanon’s parliament had convened on Monday to study several draft laws including the one on waste management.

An unprecedented waste-management crisis had erupted in July 2015 after the closure of the central Naameh landfill. It saw streets overflowing with waste and the air filled with the smell of rotting garbage in the capital Beirut and Mount Lebanon.

The crisis sparked months of violent street protests against the entire political class, with protesters and environmentalists calling for eco-friendly solutions that do not involve incinerators and landfills.