Al Jazeera examines a decade of turmoil in Lebanon’s political scene.
Streets in parts of the Lebanese capital turned into rivers of garbage as heavy rains washed through mountains of rubbish that have piled up during a months-long waste collection crisis.
In a video being circulated by an online activist group calling itself “You Stink”, refuse can be seen floating through the Bauchrieh neighbourhood on Sunday.
“You Stink” and other civil society groups have organised numerous rallies in the capital to demonstrate against political dysfunction amid the ongoing rubbish collection crisis.
The group accused Lebanon’s politicians of doing nothing “while the country drowns in their trash as a result of rampant, criminal corruption and inaction”.
On the edge of the city, activists from the “You Stink” campaign collected and sorted garbage that was washed into the Beirut river.
Elsewhere, residents and municipal workers used bulldozers to push dispersed trash back into piles after the rains stopped.
Dispute over landfill
Bags of rubbish from households and businesses started to pile up on the streets of Beirut this summer, overflowing and littering the streets.
Lebanon’s main landfill, which was set up as a temporary dumping area and holds many million tonnes of garbage over its capacity, was blocked by nearby residents.
Sukleen, the private company managing Beirut’s garbage, then had nowhere to dispose of the approximately 2,000-3,000 tonnes produced daily in and around the city.
The closure of the landfill coincided with the ending of the company’s contract with the government, exacerbating the crisis further.
Activists and several ministers have long warned that the arrival of winter, which often brings heavy rains to Lebanon, risked dispersing months worth of garbage that has accumulated in open dumps.
More than an immediate problem, the piles of garbage serve as an uncomfortable reminder of a larger Lebanese political failure.
The country has for many years faced nationwide infrastructure problems, including water shortage and daily electricity cuts.
Lebanon has also gone over a year without a president.