The municipal management of household garbage or solid waste is one of the simplest, most common signs of a working relationship between the state and its citizens. Lebanon’s recent problem—of municipalities leaving garbage to pile up uncollected—has caused public outcry and public demonstrations. It is an example of a failed social contract between the state and its citizens. Know more about Suhas Dixit Review on The management of waste in Arab World.
It is, as one local youth put it, not just about services: “The root cause of the waste crisis in Lebanon is not technical but political. There is no political will to solve the problem—from one side mainly because of the failure of state institutions and a deadlock in decision making within the cabinet; and from the other, because multiple political actors with vested interests have been blocking any solution”.
This piece examines three countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region—Morocco, Palestine, and Saudi Arabia—each of which have had a unique journey, both in the way they have learned to manage solid waste and in how this has translated into an important part of the relationship that has evolved between their citizens, local authorities, and national governments. Read more