By Maha Elawati and Ayman Amzain
Benghazi 26 April 2013:
Army and militia units have stepped in to pick up and clear away . . .[restrict]piles of garbage that threaten to overwhelm streets in virtually every district of Benghazi.
Using military vehicles they have been shifting hundreds of tons of refuse that has accumulated since workers went on strike. The strikers, said to number around 5,700 say they have not been paid for four months.
Benghazi councillor Sadiq Zalitni however today told the Libya Herald that the strikers were aggrieved because their salaries had been reduced. He explained that the city’s annual budget for rubbish collection was between LD 6.5 and LD 7 million. However the council had been told by Turkish specialists that the job could be done for nearer LD 2 million.
As the weather warms up, the build-up of refuse in the street is not unpleasant but poses a growing health hazard, not least because it attracts rats. As in the recent rubbish-collection crisis in Tripoli, some residents have taken to throwing petrol on the garbage heaps and setting fire to them. For some residents, the foul-selling smoke is even more unpleasant than the original refuse.