Recycling in Lebanon
Lebanon‘s waste management seems to look like the one of the many others in threshold nations. Lebanon produces a daily amount of roughly 4,500 tons to 5,000 tons of municipal solid waste, of which 48 percent is landfilled, 29 percent is openly dumped, 15 percent is composted and only the 8 percent gets recycled.
In Lebanon, there are 504 municipal solid waste dumps and 166 construction and demolition waste dumps. As it appears clearly, Lebanon lacks any comprehensive strategy or efficient system capable of handling industrial and hazardous waste. As a result, the waste management system is rapidly reaching its total capacity and operational limits.
Lebanon’s municipal waste has potential capability. Apart from 60 percent organic waste – primarily because of exuberant hospitality and the makeup of the Lebanese cuisine –, it is composed of 20 percent paper and cardboard, 5 percent glass, 4 percent metals and 2 percent plastics. Allegedly various projects have been undertaken to rehabilitate waste disposal sites, namely Normandy, Beirut, Slayeb dump, Zahleh dump and recently Saida dump.
It’s important to underline how only a very few municipalities manage to separate their waste and even fewer intend to recycle it, relying on private companies. The cost of waste collection in Lebanon results in wider budget deficits and failure to pay the fees required for its treatment. Meanwhile, the collection of reusable and recyclable materials in Lebanon is mainly handled by informal scavengers in urban centers and around dumpsites.
Moreover, the industrial waste must not be forgotten. Due to the absence of a specific hazardous waste management program, the industrial solid waste, including hazardous, chemical, petroleum and coal production waste is wrongly collected and transferred to disposal sites together with the domestic solid waste. Liquid waste instead, is discharged into rivers and the sea causing terrible damages to the environment.
The Lebanese waste management policy looks like a deficient institution, which lack of adequate environmental laws, and lax enforcement of regulations in regards to the industrial-waste management. Roughly half of the total amount of waste in Lebanon is generated in Beirut and in 225 towns and villages in Mount Lebanon.
In addition to that, Lebanon had to face another, bigger problem: the Syrian refugees. The overpopulation affected most sectors: the economy, trade, public finance, health, education, safety, the labor market, infrastructure, traffic, as well as the waste management. Lebanon isn’t capable to implement environmental procedures alone, due to the severity of the Syrian crisis‘ impact on the Lebanese environment. The necessary intervention priorities adds up to 2.8 billion Euro.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument funded the upgrading of solid waste management capacities by 21 million Euro. Moreover, waste water projects and road transport infrastructure were additionally benefited by the European Investment Bank (EIB). And regarding the refugee problem, the European funding amounted to 489.6 million Euro for humanitarian and developmental targets in regards of refugees and host communities’ infrastructures and primary needs, such as: water, waste water, solid waste management, health and education.
However, the problems are not solved and Lebanon still undergoes a lot of problems regarding the waste management system. We want to help Lebanon achieve a better future by addressing the waste discard issues. We want to:
- improve the Lebanese waste management policy to a more sustainable one
- separate the different wastes, including the industrial one
- stop the liquid waste discharge in running waters
- implement environmental procedures to give Lebanon and its community a healthier life
- increase municipal waste dumps
- cover the needs of the Lebanese community in the waste management sector
- implement recycling programs throughout all the country
Join us and help us achieve these goal for a better Lebanon and a better environment!