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Lebanon: Waste Crisis Posing Health Risks

End Open Burning; Create Long-Term Waste Management Plan

Friday 01 December 2017


(Beirut, December 1, 2017) – The lack of action by authorities to end open burning of waste across Lebanon is posing serious health risks for nearby residents, violating their right to health, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. People living near open burning reported health problems consistent with the frequent and sustained inhalation of smoke from open burning at waste dumps.

The 67-page report, "'As If You're Inhaling Your Death': The Health Risks of Burning Waste in Lebanon," finds that Lebanese authorities' lack of effective action to address widespread open burning of waste and a lack of adequate monitoring or information about the health effects violate Lebanon's obligations under international law. Open burning of waste is dangerous and avoidable, a consequence of the government's decades-long failure to manage solid waste in a way that respects environmental and health laws designed to protect people. Scientific studies have documented the dangers smoke from the open burning of household waste pose to human health. Children and older people are at particular risk. Lebanon should end the open burning of waste and carry out a sustainable national waste management strategy that complies with environmental and public health best practices and international law.

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