The last 6 months you would have seen pictures of trash piling up on the streets of Lebanon with disease and wildlife starting to spread throughout the cities and towns. How did it get to this you may ask?
This issue in addition to many others point back to the institutionalised corruption that instilled itself in all levels of government in 1992 (after the end of the Lebanese war).
Simply put, in the mid 90’s, Lebanon’s then Prime Minister in addition to the ruling elite made up of MP’s and Ministers (some of whom were publicly opposed to each other while behind the scenes business partners) established “Sukleen” the national waste disposal company.
The then Prime Minister and these political leaders had varying shares in the enterprise and gave themselves extended government contracts to collect, recycle and dispose of Lebanon’s garbage.
In most Western countries (where wages and expenses are higher) the cost of collecting the garbage, recycling over 80% and burying approximately 15% costs anywhere between $60 to $100 USD per tonne.
Meanwhile in Lebanon, the Government/Taxpayer was being charged $170 USD per tonne and almost 100% of the garbage was being buried (leading to another environmental disaster).
The politicians were getting huge profits and dividing it up amongst themselves at the expense of the nation and its people.
Fast-forward 20 years, the reformists came into Parliament and Government and they have been trying to prevent this kind of corruption in every ministry they can get into; this is despite enormous opposition from the corrupt political establishment and their foreign benefactors.
In July 2015 when the garbage contracts were to be scrutinised for review, the fat cat politicians decided to close the dumps and landfills causing Lebanon’s garbage crisis. When people decided to take to the streets, the protests were hijacked by operatives of these politicians in addition to operatives hired by the foreign backers of these politicians.
Every week these politicians meet and announce a new solution and scuttle it within days as it doesn’t meet their greedy needs. So continues the “Garbage Saga” in Lebanon, while the nation decays and its people bear the burden, they are faced with a choice…..allow the corrupt to continue their theft of the national treasury or let the garbage pile up.
In the coming weeks, the UALM will be exposing the names, the figures and all the players in this catastrophe.