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Sun 13 Mar 2016 09:02 AM

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Lebanese government approves plan to solve seven-month trash crisis

Two landfills will be established near Beirut, and a third one south of the city will be reopened for two months to receive trash that has piled up since July

Lebanese government approves plan to solve seven-month trash crisis
A general view shows a built up pile of waste on a street in Beiruts northern suburb of Jdeideh on February 25, 2016. Lebanon cancelled a plan to export its waste to Russia, sending Beiruts six-month garbage crisis back to square one as mountains of trash choke the citys air and streets. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Lebanese government has approved a plan to solve a seven-month garbage crisis that has fuelled protests against the dysfunctional state and raised concerns for public health.

Two landfills will be established near Beirut, and a third one south of the city will be reopened for two months to receive trash that has piled up since July, Information Minister Ramzi Jreij said after the cabinet meeting.

The Lebanese trash crisis began when the landfill south of Beirut was closed with no plan in place for an alternative.

The government had been working on a plan to export the garbage. But this was scrapped last month because the firm chosen failed to obtain documents showing that Russia, the intended destination, had agreed to accept it.

The crisis touched off an unprecedented wave of protests last year by Lebanese organising independently of the main political parties.

A picture taken on February 22, 2016 shows a constructed pile of packed waste in the harbour of the Lebanese capital, Beirut. Lebanon cancelled a plan to export its waste to Russia, sending Beirut's six-month garbage crisis back to square one as mountains of trash choke the city's air and streets. (AFP/Getty Images)

Hundreds of protesters marched through Beirut to the government's headquarters on Saturday. Wasef Haraka, one of them, said the government plan was unsustainable.

"We will continue to confront this matter in the street to find a sustainable, real, hygienic solution," he said.

The Lebanese government has struggled to take even basic decisions due to political conflict among the rival parties represented in it.

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