Lebanon has been in a garbage crisis since 2015 when a huge landfill closed. Three years on, the government has put forward a plan to build incinerators in the capital.
Since the garbage crisis of July 2015 when the most heavily relied on landfill site closed, the Lebanon government has been unable to implement an effective plan to treat the uncontrolled dumping of waste all over the country. With limited resources and alternatives, the last garbage management strategy that the Municipality of Beirut has agreed on is to build a waste incinerator in the capital.
New Lebanon incinerator converting urban waste into energy
Lebanon’s garbage crisis began when a huge landfill site in Naameh officially closed in 2015 due to the unsanitary conditions and the toxic atmosphere that imperilled the public health of nearby residents. The government authorities had no contingency plan to deal with the garbage generated and all that uncontrolled trash that started piling up on the streets of a city that was once known as “The Paris of The Middle East”.
After several unsuccessful attempts aimed at the re-opening of the Naameh landfill, the government authorities considered another plan that involved the construction of two new landfills in the southern and northern regions of Beirut. But, this short-term solution was ineffective and heavily criticised. Three years on, the government authorities has put forward a plan to build a waste incinerator to solve this problem. The waste-to-energy plant is expected to treat the 600 tons of trash generated in Beirut per day.
Lebanon’s civil society affirms its opposition to the incineration of rubbish
The last garbage management solution is fast becoming an uncomfortable issue for the Lebanon’s civil society. It has revealed a growing wave of public opposition to the incineration process. The Municipality of Beirut’s proposal contradicts the approach of recycling as a way of waste treatment because the thermal decomposition factories require a considerable amount of paper and cardboard waste.
In a statement, Beirut Madinati (Beirut My City), a citizen’s organisation, said that resorting to an incineration-based waste-to-energy technology could have health and environmental consequences. They are considered as one of the main sources of dioxins and toxic pollutants and would not be “consistent with the nature of Lebanon’s trash, which is mostly constituted of organic or recyclable material”.