Accumulation of waste threatens health of Idlib’s residents

Accumulated garbage in front of houses in the city of Idlib, northern Syria - December 24, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)

Accumulated garbage in front of houses in the city of Idlib, northern Syria - December 24, 2023 (Enab Baladi/Anas al-Khouli)


Idlib – Anas al-Khouli

Abdul Karim Madhbuh complains about the accumulation of waste at the entrance of his residential building on the outskirts of Idlib city due to residents throwing garbage into the street.

This has become a daily occurrence, and the continuous disposal of garbage has led to the emission of foul odors and the gathering of rodents, cats, and stray dogs that rummage through the trash bags and scatter dirt at the building’s entrance.

Madhbuh, 35, who resides in a residential building consisting of 16 apartments, stated that the absence of a waste container in his neighborhood forces residents to dispose of their garbage in front of the buildings’ entrances.

He explained that despite attempts to convince the neighbors and residents not to throw garbage at the entrance of his building, he failed to resolve the problem and found himself compelled to lodge complaints, which did not yield results.

The young man, along with several residents of the neighborhood, called on the relevant authorities to place a waste container in their neighborhood and to enforce penalties on those proven to dispose of garbage outside the designated areas.

On her part, Nahla Othman, 43, expressed her concern about the spread of garbage in the narrow streets between neighborhoods, especially during the winter, as the garbage gathering places transform into a filthy and damp environment somewhat resembling swamps.

She mentioned that after rainfall, these piles of waste turn into breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects, rodents, stray cats, and dogs, becoming a hub for the spread of diseases.

Meanwhile, Abeer al-Muhammad, 37, who resides in the city of Idlib, stated that the situation is unbearable as she opens her door only to see cats rummaging through the garbage bags in front of her house, emitting suffocating odors. She has reached a point where she feels embarrassed to receive visitors and does not allow her children to go out unless necessary.

The residents of Idlib city, especially those living in the old neighborhoods with narrow alleys, complain about the absence of waste containers near their homes, which forces them to dispose and accumulate garbage in a corner of the neighborhood, leading to its buildup.

Several residents of the city of Idlib, whom Enab Baladi met, called on the relevant authorities to increase the number of garbage containers in the city, especially in neighborhoods where containers are absent, and to intensify the waste collection and removal teams to prevent its accumulation, especially in the neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city and the old neighborhoods.

Difficulties, Promises of solutions

Since last July, the company “E-Clean” has begun implementing a project to install environmentally friendly underground waste containers instead of the old ones scattered along the roads within its operational areas in Idlib, northern Syria, but this did not include all neighborhoods.

The Director of the Cleaning Department at E-Clean company, Abdel Razzaq al-Nisr, told Enab Baladi that the residents’ complaints about the scarcity of containers in some neighborhoods are justified despite the fact that the container is not the optimal environmental solution to address all environmental problems and sources of pollution.

He explained that the company seeks to serve all neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city of Idlib and work on removing waste using tractors in case dedicated containers are not available, noting that there are difficulties, including the opposition of some residents to having the container near their homes and studying the possibility of placing an underground container according to the need and capability.

He added that through the engineering studies team, in cooperation with the relevant institutions, the company aims to serve the areas according to the “Towards a Sustainable Environment” vision in a planned and studied manner, and the service has reached most cities and towns in the past weeks.

The project to install 109 environmentally friendly underground containers reached the final third of the work stages, with continuous follow-up concerning this matter and the possibility of future expansion, according to al-Nisr.

Al-Nisr mentioned that the E-Clean company seeks to promote and emphasize the importance of a healthy environment and its preservation through diverse awareness and educational activities, considering that achieving the desired success in reaching a sustainable clean environment requires collective cooperation and effort.

The director called on residents to be supportive and responsible in order to improve society and maintain the civilized appearance of cities. 

As for addressing complaints, a dedicated emergency team with full readiness has been assigned a specific 24-hour hotline, al-Nisr added.


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