Black smoke billows out of Karantina dump tire fire, near Beirut this weekend. Green groups think the fire was set to pull metal from the rubber tires.
Landfills and garbage dumps in Lebanon have had their share of environmental issues. This reality is an ongoing problem for environmentalists there, and involves giant, smelly garbage mounds in cities like Sidon, as well as garbage trucks dumping their loads straight into the sea.
Giant landfills often contain all kinds of waste items, including discarded appliances, construction materials, and especially old tires form both both cars, trucks, and buses.
Recently a huge “trash mountain” outside the capital Beirut was the scene of a massive tire burning — hundreds or even thousands of discarded tires catching fire, resulting in pillars of black smoke rising into the sky. The tire fire brought on health fears for people suffering from respiratory related diseases.
Lebanon’s GreenPeace organization investigated the fire, which occurred at the Bourj Hammoud-Karantina dump. They came to the conclusion that the fire was set intentionally by people wanting to extract iron and other metals used in tires.
With regards to the Karantina tire fire, the very thought that such environmental damage was caused by people who wanted to make a profit on the extracted metal afterwards is enough to make one wonder what might happen next.
The Karantina tire burning incident follows closely on the heels of an even larger regional tire fire late April at a tire dump near Al Jahrah in Kuwait, and involved an estimated five million tires. This Kuwait tire burning incident was so large the NASA satellites could see the smoke rising from it from hundreds of miles up in space.
The obvious environmental impacts of such fires are reminiscent of the 1991 Gulf War when hundreds of burning oil wells set on fire in Kuwait by retreating Iraqi military forces created an environmental catastrophe that still affects the area to this day.
Unsupervised dumps and landfills in Lebanon and other Middle Eastern countries are a problem that is not going to be solved any time soon.
Photo via Nararnet News Desk
Read more on Mid East regional dumps and land fill issues:
Tire Fire in Kuwait Seen From Space
Lebanon’s Wasted Opportunity in Landfill Management
Garbage Trucks Dump Straight into the Sea in Lebanon as Hizbollah Takes Hold
Lebanon’s Sidon Garbage Dump More Serious Than Just the Smell