Lebanon’s economic crunch threatens to trigger another trash crisis as waste management companies have warned they would halt operations for failing to raise the wage of their employees.
“Officials mock us, and we had offered them solutions, but it fell on deaf ears,” Ramco CEO Walid Abou Saad told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“We had been promised that a session for the Council for Development and Reconstruction will be held to approve part of our just demands, and we were shocked last Wednesday that the Council did not meet due to internal problems, and the meeting may be postponed until after the New Year,” added Saad.
Lebanon’s currency crisis has also been poorly reflected in the trash management sector.
Contractors have fallen into a deficit, given that their contracts are in Lebanese pounds, while the prices of fuel, maintenance services, and the cost of foreign workers’ wages rose at a record level.
While contractors continue to pay the high costs in dollars (23,000 Lebanese pounds on the black market), no adjustments had been made to the amounts received from the state.
The government is still paying these contractors at the exchange rate of 1,500 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, exposing them to heavy losses.
“We are the ones who pay the price,” said Saad, noting that his company is at a loss by the day.
“Neither the government nor the Council for Development and Reconstruction cares about this matter.”
“On the other hand, people say that Ramco is not doing its job, and we get blamed,” complained Saad.
Meanwhile, the streets of the Lebanese capital have fallen victim to accumulated garbage in containers, and an unpleasant odor has spread across neighborhoods.
“Ramco can no longer collect waste daily due to the high costs we incur, and due to the lack of drivers, after we lost 50% of employees during the economic crisis,” noted Saad.