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Garbage knows no social class, but fighting it does

Untreated trash borders on a large-scale health disaster and, undeniably, should be dealt with in a timely and urgent manner. However, as Lynn and Shant best expressed years ago, our struggles are constantly relegated to the sidelines. As young feminists, we find ourselves in the waiting rooms of “crises,” as if awaiting instructions for the “right time” to take action.

Accentuated by the scorching summer heat, the pestilential smell of rotting garbage overpowered the pollution fumes of Beirut. Blue and black plastic bags piled up in the residential areas of the capital. Mounds of garbage occupied privatized parking spaces, partially clogging the streets and occasionally burying some abandoned cars, now doused with white pesticide.

In other areas of the country, municipal authorities resorted to burning garbage on the sides of main streets at night to try to contain the situation. The surreal scenery of burning waste sent flames and dust shooting towards the surrounding residential buildings. After facing its fiercest non-sectarian uprising, the Lebanese government – which self-extended its own term twice without holding elections – agreed to collect most of the garbage, only to “hide” it by dispersing it in less privileged areas of the country, and dumping a big portion of the rubbish by the (dried up) bed of the Beirut River. With the imminence of the first rain, a privatized waste management company called Sukleen desperately tried to unblock the gutters, blanketing the roads with disintegrated and decomposing debris. Unavoidably, the torrential October rain inundated Beirut with floating trash that calmly navigated the streets, oblivious to popular outrage.

Read the full article on the AWID Young Feminist Wire website