The residents of the town of Masif Salahuddin in Erbil launch a campaign to clear and remove rubbish from nearby forests.
The town of Masif Salahuddin in the Erbil region of northern Iraq has been known to be a resort that has attracted tourists and locals alike. However, the level of pollution and waste that has been dumped in the town is worrying locals and deterring tourists.
Local people in Masif Salahuddin have complained of the almost unbearable stench that arises from the burning of the waste at night, especially in the extremely hot weather, which simply adds to the odours emanating from the rubbish.
Local volunteers are teaming up with the Kurdish American Cooperation Organization and the American University of Dohuk to clean up the forest and prevent the dumping of waste in the area.
The local municipality in Masif Salahuddin has also charged a private company with the responsibility of cleaning the town and clearing and dumping the waste.
The resort has been closed for a set amount of time so that work to remove and clear the waste may be undertaken by the various actors involved.
Environmentals active in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI) have called on the authorities on numerous occasions to deal with waste-related issues and have advocated the implementation of measures to popularise recycling. It is estimated that in Erbil Province alone, “over 2,000 tons of trash are collected every day by 15 municipalities and eight private companies.”
“The garbage is moved to a place far from the city center, but people near the area complain that the bad smell gets to their homes and pollutes the air.”
The central authorities have often ignored the environment as a priority, claiming that most of the finances have recently required funneling into funding security measures. Nevertheless, recycling has proven to be an economically viable and even favourable endeavour as it saves money that would be spent on creating new materials and dealing with waste.