There was some collective déjà vu on the streets of Lebanon this weekend, accompanied by considerable déjà odeur.
While it never really left, the trash crisis is back in the spotlight, with waste blanketing the streets of the Metn, Keserwan and parts of Beirut.
Neighborhoods with garbage marked for a temporary landfill in Bourj Hammoud are once again suffering from the intolerable stench and unseemly sight of trash.
So why exactly is trash back on some of Lebanon's streets?
1. Protests staged against opening of the Bourj Hammoud permanent landfill
Social activists, residents and Kataeb party officials are aggressively protesting a government plan to construct a new permanent sea-side garbage landfill in Bourj Hammoud, one of the most densely populated neighborhoods in Lebanon, located north east of Beirut. Their complaints have been put on the backburner, and protesters have resorted to obstructing work on the landfill, organizing several sit-ins since the plans were announced.
Bourj Hammoud has played host to a national landfill before it closed in 1997.
2. Serious concerns over the landfill's health risks
Protesters' main concerns lie in garbage dumped without effective treatment and before conducting an environmental impact study, putting the health of some 350,000 residents at risk.
The trash crisis in Bourj Hammoud has already taken its toll on many residents. The most prominent of these is 56-year-old Rozine Moughalian, who was forced to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a liver transplant. Her doctor said exposure to toxins in the air were the culprit.
Kataeb party officials have stated that the landfill would lead to at least 10 years of environmental and health risks. "The dumping process will take five years; another 10 years will be needed to remove the toxic residues and gases which will spread across the vicinity putting at risk senior citizens as well as women and children," said Kataeb chief Sami Gemayel, according to Annahar.
Fishermen in Bourj Hammoud have also protested against the garbage site's construction; it poses a serious threat on marine life.
3. Subsequently, Bourj Hammoud's interim storage location was closed last Wednesday
While civil society activists, residents and certain political groups exert pressure on the government to trash plans for Bourj Hammoud's permanent landfill, protesters have turned their sights on the interim storage center which hosts much of the country's waste. The plan is to get the government to feel the heat by blocking the interim center and making the trash crisis a visible reality again.
Heeding the protester's calls, the Bourj Hammoud municipality has blocked access to the temporary garbage site this weekend.
4. As a result, Sukleen isn't collecting garbage from affected areas
Blocked from the interim landfill and having no alternative storage site, the garbage contractor responsible for Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon has announced that it will not be collecting wastes from areas using the Bourj Hammoud landfill until further notice.
5. 1,100 tons of waste produced daily in the Metn and Keserwan have nowhere to go
The combined area of the affected locations is over 600 square kilometers. However The Daily Star reports that Metn district municipalities, Fanar, Jdeideh, Boushrieh and Ain Saade have found a temporary location to hold the area's wastes.
Lebanon has been wrangling with a nation-wide management problem since July 2015, when its central landfill designated for trash from Beirut and Mount Lebanon and located in Naameh, South Lebanon, was shut down sparking large, month-long riots in central Beirut.