BEIRUT – The massive piles of garbage littering Beirut’s streets have been proclaimed part of UNESCO World Heritage, according to the organization.
“We are proud to include all of the uncollected street garbage in Lebanon, as well as the garbage overflowing from overfilled landfills into the environment and sea, as part of UNESCO World Heritage! Congratulations!” – a UNESCO statement said.
Lebanon has been going through a trash crisis for several months now, with heaps of uncollected garbage littering the streets. Syrian refugees were widely blamed for the crisis, without further explanation.
Lebanon’s Minister of Culture hailed the decision, calling it an important three-pronged victory for Lebanon: “We got three birds with one stone – we have solidified our cultural significance to the world, we solved the trash problem by realizing that it’s not a problem at all, and we have another new attraction to bring tourists in and make money!”
“We’ve always considered that the garbage problem was blown out of proportion – which is why it didn’t fit in the landfill in the first place. So what if every street has five meter mounds of garbage flanking it, people can’t breathe and families die in garbage landslides? This can be an opportunity! That garbage actually saved lives, our inaction saved lives! Last time a terrorist blew himself up in south Beirut, the victims were largely shielded from the explosion by the trash,” the minister added.
The government’s initial plan to deal with the garbage littering the streets was to simply burn it, however this was met with disapproval from the Lebanese people after one third of Beirut burned to the ground and hundreds of people got cancer within a day. The government also considered solving the crisis by making it Sierra Leone’s problem, but the country refused because no one there could handle the garbage.
The UNESCO decision therefore comes as a form of salvation for the Lebanese government. “We will now protect these trash piles, no one is allowed to move them. This is now an inseparable part of our cultural identity. We even plan to add a trash mounds on the sides of the cedar tree on the Lebanese flag,” a government spokesman said.
Additionally, UNESCO said that it also has plans for adding the smell of the garbage to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
The Islamic State was condemned by much of the world for threatening to destroy Lebanon’s trash.