Lebanon to implement official decentralized waste management plan
Minister of the Environment Tarek Khatib announced the implementation of a decentralized waste plan with municipalities largely responsible for their own waste management.
In the wake of Cabinet approving the expansion of the Costa Brava landfill which will now hold waste from the Aley and Chouf districts, Khatib said “our aim is to not permit waste to riddle our streets again.”
Although certain municipalities followed a model of decentralization following the waste crisis of 2015, the government had yet to adopt an official policy that puts in place regulations and organizes decentralization under the supervision of the Environmental Ministry.
According to Khatib, municipalities will now receive a memo detailing waste management procedures, with a summary of the official policy to be published in the Official Gazette “in order for citizens to have access to it.”
Municipalities will be able to choose the waste management method of their choice, yet will be closely monitored by the Ministry said Khatib, stressing that “the Ministry would supervise them from the environmental aspect.”
With environmentalists, activists, and experts warning against the adoption of incinerators, labeling the latest “thermal disintegration” proposal as a disaster in the making, Khatib said “these methods are used across the world and have their strict rules and regulations.”
“We will not adopt any method before vetting its conditions and environmental implications,” he said.
Leading experts from the American University of Beirut outlined to Annahar Wednesday why incinerators represent a health hazard to Lebanon’s citizens, with arguments ranging from the lack of governmental oversight to the composition of the country’s waste.
These sentiments were also echoed in a report put together by a collective of experts and specialists in the fields of environmental science, health and economics, as well as different activists and civil societies.
The report, issued on November 7, 2017, warned against the impeding dangers if incinerators are in fact implemented, calling on Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani to “wholly reject this proposal and spare the residents of Beirut and its suburbs of an inevitable health hazard.”