An 81-year-old who set up an all-woman rubbish collection team in her village in Lebanon now has a stream of visitors asking how she did it. For nine months in 2015 and 2016 rubbish piled up on the streets of the capital, Beirut, and even now a lack of landfill sites means some of the city’s waste is being thrown in the sea. Zeinab Mokalled has shown that when government fails, do-it-yourself local initiatives can work.
“There used to be dirt everywhere and the kids were filthy,” Zeinab Mokalled tells me.
She is remembering the 1980s and 90s, when Israel occupied part of the south of the country for 15 years, and waste collection came to a halt in her village, Arabsalim.
As the years went by, it piled up, and Mokalled went to the regional governor to ask for help.
“Why do you care? We are not Paris,” he told her.
“I knew …
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