Lebanese citizens volunteer for streets and beaches cleanup

For the people at Lebanon, the way to celebrate the World Cleanup Day is to be an active participant in cleaning up their country.

beach cleaning barthelemy leyconie
The task of cleaning-up the beaches and streets was carried on for five hours. © Barthelemy Leyconie

Celebrating the World Cleanup Day, the people of Lebanon from all over the country gathered for beach and road cleanup.

A local NGO, “Live Love”, was at the helm of this initiative, which collaborated with various “civic organizations” and volunteers to cleanup Lebanon’s capital’s “Ain al-Mreisseh, Sidon, Tripoli’s Mina, Marjayoun, Baalbeck and other areas”.

The cleanup campaigns to promote cleanliness of the beaches in Sidon took place in two groups, as one of them took charge of the “northern entrance to Sidon” along the beach while the consisted of divers who plunged deep to clean the seabed. The National News Agency, a state-run news agency, informed that the divers who participated in this event came from the “Shaiss Scuba Lebanese Academy and the Friends of Al-Zira Island association”.

Ghaleb Kassab is the Head of “Live Love Saida”, whereby he informed that more than two thousand volunteers contributed in this cleanup campaign organised by Live Love. The volunteers came from all over the country. NNA quoted Kassab saying:

“We expected a maximum of 100 people to participate, but we were surprised to have 150 participants in Sidon’s cleanup, with ages ranging from 15-60 years old”.

The task of cleaning-up the beaches and streets was carried on for five hours, while an “awareness campaign” followed at its heels which stressed on the importance of maintaining cleanliness in “public spaces and beaches”. Kassab also said that the collected waste was “immediately sorted and placed in recyclable bags”.

The cleanup initiative in Sidon also saw the collaboration from the “Radouga Women’s Association”, a group based out of Sidon and consisting of Russian women who live in Lebanon. While, Inga Asafova, a member of the “Radouga Women’s Association”, said:

“We love Lebanon, and we came here today with our families for World Cleanup Day to help clean up the beach. We should think about keeping the streets clean, just like we keep our homes”.

Similarly, Laura Diab, yet another participant, who is only twelve years old and forms part of the Lebanese Scout, joined the cleanup campaign with her friends. And she said:

“I hope everyone would participate in cleanups, and for those who throw their trash on the floor, I tell them, ‘You are spreading diseases,’”.

The Awali River flowing into the northern beach of the city brings with it all the trash that is thrown into it; therefore the cleanup of the beach was a much needed task thinks “Mohammed al-Baba, a member of the Sidon Municipality’s Health and Environment Committee”. In celebration of the occasion, Bahia Hariri, Sidon MP launched a project which will focus on sorting waste. In her words: “Our goal is to develop a plan that secures successful sorting from the source,”

In the meantime, Mounzer Kabbara, an activist, organised another cleanup event in Tripoli in coordination with “volunteers and Lavajet – the waste management provider in Tripoli”. Through this initiative, the gathering cleaned up “sidewalks, streets and public areas in the city”.

Furthermore, stressing on the need of “keeping public spaces clean”, Kabbara added: “I am very concerned about Tripoli and we always strive to keep it clean, that is why we individually took this initiative on World Cleanup Day”.

Joining in this endeavour was also the Head of “Social Way Association”, Wafa Khoury, who thinks that maintaining the public areas clean “would attract tourism to Tripoli, and we want this city to always be clean”.

Given the fact that people live in poverty, Khoury believes that they can’t be blamed. However, she is hoping to see a sustainable long-term developing of this project, as she added: “This is why what we do is important, but what is more important is to continue with a sustainable plan for the success of the cleanup campaign”. Praising the initiative of Kabbara, the President of “Tripoli Touristic Association”, Wafaa Chaarani stated: “Tripoli is a natural, artistic gem on the Mediterranean that should not be neglected in this way. There should be a law and a hefty fine for anyone who does not respect general cleanliness principles”.