Trash, as far as the eye can see.

by AmandaMcc on January 29, 2017 - 7:46pm


The article was published on January 26 2017 by Tim Arango and Hwaida Saad. The article talks about Beirut in Lebanon, more specifically about the Al Jazira beach. The Al Jazira beach used to have a beautiful view of the sea but recently the only thing that people can see is an ever-growing garbage pile on the once beautiful shore. Arango and Saad talk to a man named Hassan who told them “it used to be a beach…I used to fish” (Hassan). One of the locals, Mohammed Jradi, said that “[all] the trash had driven [all] the fish away”. A protest movement was created that is called “You Stink”, which is a crusade against the governmental classes when the waste started to pile up on the beaches of Al Jazira over two years ago. In order to counter act the garbage crisis, a “Band-Aid” solution was created. The city opened the Costa Brava landfill, which was located on the shoreline, close to the Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport. The landfill caused even more problems for the people of Beirut that came in the form of birds. The landfill attracted many birds, even ones that were “migrating from Europe and North Africa” (Arango & Saad). So the landfill became a restaurant for birds. The increase of birds on the shore caused many problems. One situation happened when an airliner with the Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines accidently hit a bird earlier in the month.  Lebanon’s trash problem swiftly became a problem of aviation safety due to the landfills location being close to the airport. The government dispatched gunmen to shot down the birds in the sky which led to anger in the environmental activists. The environmentalists stated that shooting the birds is a direct violation of the Barcelona Convention, whose purposes is to defend the wildlife in coastal regions located in the Mediterranean. They firmly believe that the government should have found other solutions, like using tranquilizer on the birds instead of killing them.  The garbage problem started shortly after the war ended in 1990’s, when the government decided to create a trash collection company that is connected to the political parties. Some activist say that the company destroyed any other solution, for example recycling. The founder of a website called the Beirut Report, Habib Battah, stated that “Lebanon is a very densely populated place […] other countries have [more room], but we don’t have that. (Battah)”. Battah believes that the garbage problems goes back to the decision to privatize trash at the end of the war. People in Lebanon are suffering which is now forcing the government to answers some difficult questions: “What do they fix first? The Garbage or the Internet? (Battah).


The problem in Lebanon seems to be getting worse and will continue to do so unless someone takes action. The trash that has been dump on the beach and into the landfill has to be disposed of in a helpful and quick way. There are a few ways that a person can help with this situation. One way to help with this problem would be to form an environmentalist group here that could help out in Lebanon. They could raise money to go travel there and help clear up the beaches and help make it safe and healthy for the people of Lebanon. A big problem that they face is the threat to airline safety. The major problem is the birds that are coming to the trash heaps on the beach and next to the airport. By getting rid of the trash, less birds will be getting shot down for no other reason than the fact that they are hungry. If that problem is taken care of, the airlines will be able to fly without the risk of colliding with a bird at some point. Also finding a way to get money to the Barcelona Convention, who as mentioned in the summary are a group of people who protect the wildlife. They fight to help the environment and in Lebanon the situation desperately needs their help. Their waters are quickly become polluted due to the increasing amount of trash to the point that fish are none existent at the beach. In order to help the people of Lebanon with their situation more organizations must become aware in order to request more help to deal with the problem before it gets any worse.  For more information on the full article, please click the link below.


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Thanks for your informative piece on this problem. We have a cottage on the beach on the Saint Lawrence River and every time I go walking I bring two bags, one for recycle and one for trash. There are always things to pick up, but nothing like the magnitude of the problem in Lebanon. I like the fact that you discuss some possible solutions, it helps me have hope!

About the author

I'm Brianna "Amanda" McCulloch and i am a Champlain college student. I am currently in my last semester studying in the Social Science program. I enjoy reading and animals. In the future, i would like to be a teacher specifically for little kids who are 5 to 10 years old.