Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Have you ever walked by a parking garage, saw the litter beside it, and wondered how long it would stay there? Or walked on the street and saw the abundance of garbage beside an existing can, and wondered how long it would take to go away? Have you ever looked into our beautiful sea, saw garbage floating on the surface, and wondered how long it would stick around?

As it turns out, garbage lasts a frightfully long time. These are some of the most common items we use. Not only are they found in our garbage cans, but they are found in our sea, on our sand, on our mountains, on our streets, and more. Here is the list:   

Glass Bottles………………….1  million years (yes, a million!)

Plastic Beverage Bottles…… 450 years

Disposable Diapers………… 450 years

Aluminum Cans………………… 80-200 years

Foamed Plastic Buoys……… 80 years

Foamed Plastic Cups……… 50 years

Rubber items…………… 50-80 years

Tin Cans……………………. 50 years

Leather…………………………… 50 years

Nylon Fabric…………………… 30-40 years

Plastic Film Container…….. 20-30 years

Plastic Bag…………………….. 10-20 years

Cigarette Butt…………………. 1-5 years

Wool Sock………………………. 1-5 years

Plywood…………………….. 1-3 years

Waxed Milk Carton………… 3 months

Apple Core…………………. 2 months

Newspaper………………….. 6 weeks

Orange or Banana Peel…… 2-5 weeks

Paper Towel……………….. 2-4 weeks

Scary, isn’t it? These items, which could be put to good use by either being reused and/or recycled, could pollute our environment for up to a million years! My fellow Lebanese, our country deserves better than to be subjected to such pollution, and we deserve better than to live in a polluted environment. Do you ever wonder when the landfill in Burj Hammoud will go away? All of the items above (and more!) are in there. There is your answer.

My fellow Lebanese, it is time that we invest in reducing our waste, reusing what we can, and recycling. It is also time that we invest in finding more suitable ways to treat our solid and liquid waste. We can do it, Lebanon. Clearly, landfills are not sustainable. The technology, brain power, and expertise all are there for improved waste management.  All Lebanon needs is…the Lebanese. Our investment and action towards the future good of the nation.

Lebanon, we have the brains and the talent. For those willing to invest in proper waste management systems, you would easily make a fortune. For those willing to invest in beach clean-ups and the like, you would not only be helping the environment, but a service to yourselves, your fellow Lebanese, and your nation. We can do it, Lebanon!

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