Lifter’s Burning Waste Raises Environmental Concerns as Incinerators Blaze Across Libya

Libya’s burgeoning waste crisis has escalated with a recent surge in open burning, posing substantial environmental and health risks. The rampant destruction of household waste through open incineration has sparked widespread concern, as acrid smoke billows across major cities.


Libya generates an estimated 14 million tonnes of municipal solid waste annually, with inadequate waste management infrastructure and limited landfill capacity. The absence of sustainable waste disposal options has forced many communities to resort to open burning as a desperate measure.

Environmental Consequences:

The uncontrolled burning of garbage releases a toxic cocktail of pollutants into the air, including:

  • Particulate matter (PM) 2.5 and PM 10, linked to respiratory problems and cardiovascular disease
  • Carbon monoxide (CO), leading to respiratory issues and potential death in enclosed spaces
  • Nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides, contributing to acid rain and respiratory problems
  • Chlorinated pollutants like dioxins and furans, known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors

Health Impacts:

Beyond the immediate dangers of air pollution, open burning poses significant health threats:

  • Exposure to toxic fumes can aggravate asthma and other respiratory issues
  • Increased risk of cancer and other diseases associated with exposure to air pollution
  • Potential exposure to heavy metals and other contaminants in the smoke

Solutions and Actions:

  • Investing in waste management infrastructure: Development of modern landfills, composting facilities, and recycling programs.
  • Promoting waste reduction: Encouraging source separation, reuse, and repair of goods.
  • Enforcing stricter regulations: Outlining clear waste management protocols and penalties for illegal incineration.
  • Public awareness campaigns: Raising public consciousness on the detrimental effects of open burning and promoting responsible waste management practices.

Urgent Measures:

  • Immediate intervention is required to control the rampant burning in urban areas. Authorities must swiftly implement measures to establish designated burning zones, equipped with air pollution control technologies.
  • Emergency measures can include temporary waste collection and disposal solutions to prevent further open burning.


The current situation demands a comprehensive approach to tackle the root causes of Libya’s waste crisis. Investing in sustainable waste management solutions, alongside public awareness and enforcement measures, is crucial for mitigating the devastating environmental and health consequences of uncontrolled waste burning.


1. What are the alternatives to open burning?

  • Investment in modern waste management infrastructure (landfills, composting, recycling)
  • Promotion of waste reduction through reuse, repair, and recycling initiatives.

2. What are the long-term consequences of open burning?

  • Increased air pollution and climate change impact
  • Contamination of soil and groundwater
  • Health issues related to exposure to air pollution and toxic substances

3. What steps can individuals take to reduce their waste?

  • Minimize consumption
  • Choose reusable and recyclable products
  • Practice extended producer responsibility (EPR)


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