NAAMEH, Lebanon – Climbing the quiet, winding road up the first slopes of the Aley mountains from the town of Naameh, 20km south of Beirut, the air is distinctly less fresh than one would expect from a sparsely populated, densely forested expanse. “The smell isn’t too bad at the moment, the wind’s coming from the sea,” says Tariq Gharz Eddine, mukhtar (representative) of the nearby village of Baawerta. “But wait half an hour, and you’ll end up with a pounding headache anyway.”


Sure enough, it wasn’t long before an unpleasant combination of headache, sore eyes, and a foul taste in the mouth set in. The cause was the large landfill, some 4km further up the road from where NOW spoke to Gharz Eddine Monday afternoon, at the site of a sit-in held by local residents and environmental activists since Friday. [Now]