Lebanon’s Waste Crisis

Lebanon’s Sea Is a Trash Pile

Lebanon likes to advertise its Mediterranean lifestyle to lure in tourists, but the reality is that trash dumps around Beirut are leaching toxic chemicals and dumping refuse straight into the sea, killing marine life and contaminating beaches.
At the water's edge
The Bourj Hammoud landfill, on the edge of Beirut, has spread waste in the sea and fishermen's nets, causing anger. Toxic waste is not treated separately.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
A dumping site
A dumping site between Beirut and Saida with the skyline of Beirut in the background. Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Leisure time
Sunday afternoon at Dalieh of Raouche. One of the few public spaces remaining in Beirut (along with Ramlet el Baida), it draws crowds of working-class Beirut families to swim in its natural pools and picnic on its grassy hills.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
A mountain of garbage
A section of the Bourj Hammoud landfill, known by the locals as “garbage mountain”. It started as an uncontrolled dumpsite during the Lebanese Civil War.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Sun and trash
Women and men sunbathe on Byblos Beach, the sea in front of them filled with trash. Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Contaminated water
Close-up view of sewage leading into the bay of Costa Brava, Lebanon.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Fishermen in Tyre
Fishermen in the Jammal area in Tyre, Lebanon. The impact on sea life is significant, with many dead fish found washed up on the shore. Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Sewage at Ramlet el Baida beach
Sewage at the Ramlet el Baida beach, Beirut, the last remaining public beach in the city, itself a target for developers. Photograph: Constanze Flamme
History's refuse
The dumping of waste means all kinds of objects and chemicals enter the sea. Here, maritime litter on the shore at Byblos, Lebanon.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Zaitunay Bay, Beirut
View from a marine terrace (indicator of old coastlines) to the skyline of Zaitunay Bay, Beirut. Sewage leaks into the sea along the Corniche. Photograph: Constanze Flamme
A public beach cleaning
A public beach clean-up close to Saida. Activists and NGOs are working to raise awareness of the scale of the problem. Clean-ups engage locals enraged by garbage in coastal areas.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Overlooking Ramlet el Baida
Nice view, shame about the sewage: Overlooking Ramlet el Baida, Beirut’s last public beach and the location of protests against privatisation.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
A fisherman on the Corniche
Plenty more than fish in the sea: Trash floats past the line of a fisherman on Beirut's corniche.Photograph: Constanze Flamme
Stian Overdahl
Photographies by: 
Constanze Flamme