'River of Trash' in Beirut, Lebanon
Here's an extraordinary story out of Lebanon. Trash is piled high and actually snaking around streets in the Beirut suburbs. It is a very visual symbol of a months-long garbage crisis that hasn't been resolved.
Lebanon is a small country, situated in the Middle East, on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
Lebanon canceled a plan to export its trash to Russia last week -- and one official says there is no backup plan in place. Nick Paton Walsh reports from the capital city of Beirut.
--REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
WHERE ONCE FLOWED BEAUTY, NOW THE RIVER IS OF TRASH.
YES THE PICTURE DOES NEED A SECOND LOOK - IT IS NOT A FAKE.
PILED UP OVER FOUR MONTHS, THE HOUSEHOLD WASTE LEBANON'S WOEFULLY DYSFUNCTIONAL GOVERNMENT CAN'T DEAL WITH.
ALL AROUND BEIRUT IT LIES ON THE STREET, BUT HERE, ONE STAGGERING EYESORE, OF AN APPARENT TWO MILLION TONNES.
LEBANON IS GIFTED WITH EXTRAORDINARY NATURAL BEAUTY, AND YOU CAN SEE THE CEDARS JUST ABOUT THIS UNNATURAL RIVER HERE, BUT BEAR IN MIND THIS IS THE COLD OF WINTER, THE SMELL IS INTOLERABLE HERE. IMAGINE WHAT THE SUMMER SUN WILL DO TO THIS?
IN THE WINTER TOO, THE RAINS DRAIN TOXINS FROM IT AND ADD IT TO THE WATER TABLE.
SOME SAY A HEALTH CATASTROPHE IS BREWING.
ONE OFFICIAL TOLD US THOUGH: LOOK, IT'S ORGANIZED.
TELL THAT TO LOCALS.
"It's not healthy at all, it's cancer"
"Diseases , cancers , we are dying here , look what they are doing "
LAST SUMMER, ANGER AT THIS BASIC FAILURE OF THE STATE WAS JUST BEGINNING.
THE TRASH COLLECTORS LOST THEIR CONTRACT.
THE ROTTING GARBAGE A METAPHOR, PROTESTERS SAID, FOR THE DECAY IN LEADERSHIP HERE.
STILL, EVEN AFTER THIS, NOTHING WAS SOLVED.
AN ELABORATE PLAN TO SHIP IT ALL TO RUSSIA FELL APART FRIDAY.
NOW THERE IS NO PLAN. NO RECYCLING. NO END TO THE DISPOSABLES THIS TINY COUNTRY WILL CONSUME.
AND SUMMER'S BURNING HEAT IS CLOSING IN. NICK PATON WALSH CNN BEIRUT
Encyclopedia Article: World Book Kids, Beirut
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