Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gaza Solid Waste Management in Dire Straights

Irin (reporting from Gaza City), March 2, 2009 - The lack of technical means to transport and process solid waste in Gaza is posing a severe risk to people’s health in the enclave, experts say.

Many Gazans, especially children, have developed breathing problems as a result of the stench emanating from rubbish dumps and the indiscriminate burning of waste; insects attracted to the rubbish tips and ground pollution pose further health risks, according to Bahaa Alagha, planning and project manager in Gaza’s Environment Quality Authority.

Solid waste is managed by three main entities: municipalities in the main cities; local councils in towns and villages; and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in refugee camps. There are three official collection sites for solid waste - Rafah (south), Der Albalah (central), and Gaza City (the biggest).

Gaza Mayor Rafiq Mikki told IRIN the city’s 550,000 people produce 550 to 600 metric tonnes (mt) of solid waste a day, but that the enclave lacked the means to transport the waste to the main waste station near the Gaza-Israeli border for processing.

Mayor Mikki says the municipality does not have the capacity to solve the problem and has appealed for help from international organisations....

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