Residents sit on a terrace overlooking the new garbage dump in the Chouf town of Barja, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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In the distance, a gigantic plume of gray smoke was belched out of the sand factory that dominates Barja's skyline, in nearby Sibline.The Chouf town, home to about 55,000 residents, can barely breathe, besieged by pollutants on all sides. Residents protested over the weekend against a draft resolution that would allow the site near Barja to be used as a substitute to the Naameh dump, which is slated for closure early next year after exceeding its capacity by five-fold and its expected lifetime by 11 years, and after complaints and sit-ins condemning the damaging impact of the landfill on locals.The municipality, which is backed by local officials in neighboring villages like Jiyyeh, Sibline and Baasir, all of whom are affected by the fallout from the industrial facilities, knocked on the doors of residents to inform them of the dangers of allowing the dump to be built and urging them to attend the weekend protest.Indeed, homes in Barja are not far away from the supposed location of the dump, or even from the electricity plant and the factory.
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