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Lebanon choked by burning garbage, rights group says

Lebanon choked by burning garbage, rights group says
From Reuters - December 1, 2017

BEIRUT (Reuters) - People and municipalities have resorted to burning garbage in Lebanon as a result of government mismanagement and it may badly damage the health of nearby residents, Human Rights Watch said on Friday.

The waste crisis erupted in 2015 when the Lebanese authorities closed the main landfill site near Beirut, having arranged no alternative. Large protests broke out soon afterwards as huge mounds of rotting waste filled the streets and demonstrators chanted You stink! at the government.

Friday's report by the U.S.-basedmonitoring group underlined how Lebanon has failed to find real solutions to the issue since then. (www.hrw.org/node/311168/)

It said people living near places where rubbish was burned reported chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coughing, throat irritation, skin conditions and asthma - all consistent with frequently breathing smoke from burning waste.

The open burning of waste violates Lebanons environmental protection laws, which prohibit the emission of pollutants into the air, including harmful or disturbing smells, HRW said.

It called on the parliament to pass a law that the cabinet approved in 2012 to create a single body to make uniform national decisions about waste management.

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