This was the third time in a month where citizens went out with their placards demanding the resignation of Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk and a final solution of the waste management crisis.
Marie-Joe Noon, project coordinator in the local NGO Baldati explains that Lebanon has been living without a President for almost 2 years now which leads to several drawbacks, especially in the decision making process. At the same time the parliament elected in 2009 has extended its own term and postponed the next elections until 2017 imputed to instability.
So after the expiration of the contract between the main waste-management company, Sukleen and the Lebanese government a compromise was unable to be reached between the two sides. Garbage started mountaining in the neighbors turning everyday life into a smelly hell.
“You might ask: So technically Lebanon is drowning in its own garbage?
Yes, pretty much”.
“In this ongoing crisis of toxic wastes present under the sun and the burning of these wastes in certain regions, Baldati has adopted the Eco-Movement campaign “It’s time to start recycling!” says Marie-Joe. She explains that Baldati is a non-governmental environmental and cultural association that promotes rural development projects in partnership with local municipalities and NGOs. When the trash crisis erupted they came up with a simple but useful idea. Let’s just collect what we can recycle.
It’s not the first time that the organization feels that an environmental project is needed since Lebanon suffers from severe water and air contamination, lack of eco-friendly transportation and of means of green architecture, effective energy solutions, and shortage in adequate waste management just to name a few. With the large contribution of volunteers Baldati established the “Green Cities Project” where as Marie frames it “good people with good intentions aim to sustainable solutions for local communities. Hand in hand.”
Since 2002 when Baldati was established more than 200 Lebanese have been involved in one of its 50 projects. Much more have contribute voluntarily. Marie-Joe remembers how she started also as a volunteer in 2002 and to this day she has been part of more than 10 projects. She can easily claim that she is one of the truly devoted members. “I have long been in Baldati for what can be described as years and years of commitment. Today, I am a Project Coordinator in Baldati Headquarters in Lebanon, Metn, Mazraat Yachoua and Elissar” It is obvious that there is a proud tone when she speaks these words.