BEIRUT – Activists poked fun at the Lebanese tourism ministry over a video it commissioned showing natural beauty by releasing their own aerial footage of garbage festering across the country.
Rubbish has piled up on beaches, mountain forests and river beds across Lebanon since the closure in July of a landfill.
Called “Rise Above Lebanon’s Political Garbage,” the mock video commissioned by the “You Stink” protest movement shows mountains of rubbish across the country.
In one of the shots filmed by a drone, plastic bags containing rubbish can be seen stretching for miles like overflowing rivers.
Denouncing a “scandal,” the protest movement said its video is “a parody of the tourism ministry’s campaign entitled ‘Rise Above Lebanon,'” a reference to the footage commissioned by ministry.
In that video, Lebanon, once nicknamed the “Switzerland of the Middle East,” is seen from a totally different angle.
Spectacular aerial views show pristine beaches, lush mountains, rivers, archaeological sites — all rubbish-free.
In its video footage, “You Stink” also called on the Lebanese people to join a protest on Saturday in Beirut — the first demonstration to be organized by the group in months.
Activists and doctors have warned that the uncollected rubbish could trigger diseases, such as cholera, among the population.
Under public pressure, the government approved in September a plan to tackle the rubbish crisis, but campaigners said it was too vague and did not meet their demands.
Prime Minister Tammam Salam has even threatened to resign and the government has met on several occasions to try and find a solution to the rubbish to no avail.
In past demonstrations protesters have demanded the government resign over its failure to clean up the country.