As the armed clashes between the two governmental factions keep on going in Libya, transforming Tripoli's neighborhoods in battlefields, disrupting public services and forcing people to leave their houses placed in the frontline areas, for some other residents' lives go on, and the need of developing resilience becomes essential.
Within the private and public sector in Tripoli, people are defying the conflict and trying to continue with their daily routines.
One of the most affected services in the current context is solid waste management (SWM). Tripoli's municipalities rely on designated landfills through public sector companies (PCCs), to get rid of the trash.
Tripoli’s designated landfill, Sidi Sayeh, happens to be in the conflict area and is currently inaccessible, which has triggered to streets loaded with bags of mixed waste. Occasionally, the waste is collected by trucks, only to be dumped in temporary locations. This approach has created discomfort among residents and caused environmental challenges.
Through these initiatives, the Lab has discovered that one of the major culprits of the environmental issues in Libya is the overuse of plastic bags obtained for free from the shops and used only once.
According to the World Bank, in 2016, the world generated 242 million tonnes of plastic waste —12 percent of all municipal solid waste. In Libya, the Public Service Company (Government-owned) revealed that Tripoli city produces 999,356.13 tonnes of solid waste annually. A study conducted by the Head of Technical Centre for Environmental Protection, Dr. Bashir Faris (2002), recorded that 13.17% was made up of plastic. This means that only Tripoli city produced 131,615.20 tonnes of plastic. The study is old, but it was the latest evidence found; however, the daily use of plastics packages in Libya made evident that the presence of plastic waste has increased in Libya. People rely heavily on plastic water bottles and bags, mainly because the shopping bags are distributed for free in all types of shops.
The negative impact on the environment and human health is notably seen in the streets, farms and beaches across the country. The plastic waste has caused floods in numerous streets in Tripoli by clogging drains. Respiratory diseases are worsened due to the burning of waste by people intending to reduce overflowing garbage.
The Lab has discussed with many individuals, government and non-governmental organizations to better understand the trends and issues regarding SWM in the country. It has also conducted a workshop to promote collective intelligence efforts and develop ideas for experiments.