Three protesters and four policemen were injured on Monday morning when police forced the protesters to open the Beirut-South Lebanon highway but they blocked the road again to stop an alleged decision to transport the trash of the capital to Iqlim al-Kharroub, a district in tMt. lebanon’s Shouf province .
Barja mayor told Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) that the protesters “will not back off.”
“Three demonstrators were injured and we will not open the road,” he said.
According to the state-run National News Agency, anti-riot police used water hoses to disperse the protesters who hurled security forces with rocks, resulting in the injury of three demonstrators.
4 other Internal Security Forces members were wounded, NNA said.
The road closure took place in Jiyeh, where thousands of commuters were stranded on Sunday, forcing security forces to divert traffic to internal roads.
The same scene was repeated during the morning rush hour on Monday.
Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq tried to appease the protesters, saying waste will not be transferred and a landfill will not be established in Iqlim al-Kharroub if no such agreement was reached with the mayors and the representatives of civil society.
He said in a statement that such a decision was reached following consultations between Prime Minister Tammam Salam, al-Mustaqbal Movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri and the head of the Progressive Socialist Party, MP Walid Jumblat.
But the protesters blocking the Jiyeh highway said al-Mashnouq should have vowed that no trash would be transported to Iqlim al-Kharroub whatsoever.
Beirut and Mount Lebanon were plunged in a waste crisis following the July 17 closure of the Naameh landfill.
The government pledged last year that the landfill would be closed and an alternative site be found. But the date came and went with no solution found.
Initially, trash collector Sukleen stored waste at its facilities, but by July 20 they were at capacity and garbage began piling up in the streets.
Abou Faour urged against burning trash
Meanwhile , Health Minister Wael Abou Faour urged citizens against burning waste that has overflowed in dumpsters, warning of cancer hazards it presents.
People have resorted to burning dumpsters after they could no longer contain the piling waste.
During a press conference Abou Faour also called against spraying the garbage with chemicals with chemicals “in a haphazard manner,” saying instead that the Sukleen waste collection company has been sprinkling a calcium powder over the garbage to help its decomposition.
The powder is not hazardous to the environment and helps prevent the spread of pests, Abou Faour explained.
The minister acknowledged the “grave shortcomings” of officials in handling the waste disposal issue, saying that Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Speaker Nabih Berri, Future Movement chief MP Saad Hariri, and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat have been carrying out contacts to reach a solution to the crisis.
“These are temporary solutions until permanent ones are reached,” he stressed, while urging the people to exercise patience in approaching the crisis.
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