It is a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Beirut and we just returned from our weekly walk to the recycling bins located on the Corniche. It is actually a relatively pleasant walk, particularly when the sun is setting, for it gives us a chance to catch the sun as it settles into the Mediterranean and the sky becomes a canvas of pink and purple. If we are lucky, the mosque on the corner will be calling Muslims to prayer, adding to the charm of the experience.
Recycling is a relatively new idea in Beirut, and we suspect, Lebanon as a whole. We feel fortunate to live where we do for we have not seen all that many recycling bins in other parts of the city. It might have to do with the concentration of Westerners in this part of town. Even though we know we are by no means the only people using the bins, we always get stares from locals as we deposit our bottles, cans and waste paper into the containers. We can only imagine what is going through their minds as they watch us, and can only hope they are thinking that what we are doing is a good idea. Recently we had a local woman, who had watched us doing our thing, tell us that she admired what we were doing since Lebanese do not know about recycling. Progress.
Recycling is such a crying need in this country. While the city of Beirut is relatively free of trash compared to the rest of the country, many roads outside the city are heavily strewn with trash. Lebanon is a very beautiful country in many ways. It is such a shame its citizens despoil it so.
ACS does recycle its paper, water bottles, bottle caps and batteries. Given that most of the kids are Lebanese, we hope this habit will be one they continue into adulthood and that it will ultimately impact the amount of trash idly tossed onto the ground and into the sea.