Friday, 21 March 2008

Saida's stink

The UN news agency reports on the toxic stink generated by Saida's mountain of rubbish:

Established in 1975 as a temporary municipal tip, the rubbish mountain has grown over three decades of civil war, invasion and government neglect to become an open air dump for hundreds of thousands of tonnes of refuse from homes, factories, hospitals and slaughter houses, as well as debris from buildings destroyed in the 1982 Israeli invasion.

The mountain has repeatedly caught fire and at least three times partially collapsed into the sea, prompting complaints from Cyprus, Syria and Turkey after currents swept rubbish onto their beaches.

A collapse last month, following strong winds and an earthquake, sent about 150 tonnes of rubbish into the sea, snaring fishing lines and choking sea turtles which, environmentalists say, mistake the white plastic bags for jellyfish, their favourite food.

Air pollution from the mountain, located near schools, hospitals and apartment blocks in Lebanon's third biggest city, has meant Sidon's children suffer more from asthma than children anywhere else in Lebanon, which doctors say is directly linked to the dump.

Organically rich effluent leaching from the mountain into the soil and the sea has destroyed marine life across a radius of 500 metres out to sea.

No comments: