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Meera Shamma 24 Jan 2018

These Unsettling Photos Of Beirut’s Shoreline Will Break Your Heart

If you were under the impression that Lebanon’s trash crisis is a thing of the past – it’s time for a reality check. Yes, most of the trash has been removed from Beirut’s streets since the catastrophic crisis in 2016, but just because it’s out of sight, it should not be out of mind.

Over the weekend, some extremely unsettling images emerged on Lebanese social media platforms following last week’s storm. The images taken from around Lebanon show the country’s shoreline completely blanketed with trash. From Beirut to Antelias and beyond, Lebanon is being suffocated by the carelessness of its own government, and even sadder than that, its own people.

The trash that filled the country’s streets has simply been moved elsewhere, to landfills around the country that are quickly reaching their capacity – and to the sea. In addition to the lack of means that Lebanese people have for effective waste management – including the lack of a country-wide recycling system – there is also a cloud of ignorance in Lebanon in terms of the detrimental effects of being wasteful, littering, and blatantly damaging our environment and the planet.

Photo courtesy of @sohetwledna on Facebook

It is still commonplace to find people around Lebanon throwing water bottles out of their car windows, throwing cigarettes on the streets, plastic bags filled with trash into the sea, and soda cans on the streets when they’re finished drinking them. The world is not your trashcan, but if you treat it like it is, it will eventually become just that.

Photo courtesy of @sohetwledna on Facebook

Some of the trash that fills our streets moves to landfills around the country that are incapable of accommodating it, the rest of it is burned or simply thrown into the sea. All of it adds up to an extremely toxic status quo for Lebanon and its people. It’s in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the sea we (don’t) swim in (anymore). So instead of opting out of jumping into the sea next summer because it’s so toxic, maybe we should all try to protest pollution in more effective ways. Lebanon needs to learn to recycle, to condemn the use of single-use plastics, to condemn wastefulness in general, and to provide its people with effective and eco-friendly solutions for waste management in hopes that we can reverse and rectify the hazardous wasteland that we find ourselves in today.

Photo courtesy of Micha Tohme on Facebook, taken in Maameltein