Seagulls fly over the landfill in Bourj Hammoud, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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After a recent lack of updates regarding incinerators, representatives of the municipality of Beirut have confirmed that plans to introduce waste-to-energy plants in Beirut are moving forward with the help of the United Nations Development Program.Both the national and local governments have said that multibillion-dollar waste-to-energy plants are the answer to Lebanon's chronic trash crisis.Plans to establish incinerators in Beirut have been controversial from the outset.The European Union has already begun phasing out its own incinerators after they were shown to encourage greater waste production.In addition to calling out Lebanese government officials for supporting the plan, civil society groups in Lebanon have also pressured UNDP and the EU delegation in Lebanon not to back the plan.Publicly, representatives of both groups have maintained that they would not encourage the government to adopt incinerators. But privately, UNDP appears to have been working to bring incinerators to Beirut. In an interview with OTV last Sunday, Suleiman Jaber, a Beirut Municipality representative, implicated the U.N. agency, calling it the "provider" of the waste-to-energy solution. If Beirut adopts incinerators, thereby "fixing" its trash crisis, the threat of refugees moving to Europe would decrease.She added that a solution involving incinerators would also be lucrative for them.
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