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Solid Waste Plan

Foundations of a new plan concerning the solid waste file

 

On 1/9/2011, the Cabinet adopted a resolution concerning the subject of solid waste management. Below is the text, extracted literary from the Official Gazette:

 

"Cabinet Resolution No. 55, date 1/9/2010”

The Cabinet, according to the resolution no. 55, dated 1/9/2010, upon the proposals contained in the report of the ministerial committee assigned by the Cabinet Resolution No. 1, dated 30/3/2010, proposing a plan concerning the management of solid waste in all regions of Lebanon, agreed to the following:

1 – Adopt the thermal fragmentation and conversion of waste into energy in the major cities;

2 - Adopt the 2006 plan in other Lebanese regions and study the possibility of adopting the thermal fragmentation;

3 - Involve the private sector and facilitate the tasks of solid waste monitoring, through TURN KEY (from collection to final treatment) or through 2 DIFFERENT OPERATIONS (01 collection, 02 treatment);

 

4 - Assign the Ministry of the Environment and the Council of Development and Construction to integrate the two proposed plans, in accordance with what was agreed upon above;

5 - Assign of the Ministry of Energy and Water to propose a legislation that secures the right of the private sector to produce and sell the energy produced during the fragmentation of the waste;

6 - Stimulate the municipalities that will receive different centers of waste management such as thermal fragmentation centers, relay centers, composting centers and landfills;

7 – Assign the Council for Development and Reconstruction, in coordination with the Ministry of Environment, to sign a contract with a worldwide consultant in order to:

• Choose the best solution and appropriate mechanism for the Lebanese situation (based on principles of the plan);

• Develop books concerning the primary technical terms for the classification of companies related to thermal fragmentation (DUE DILIGENCE TO SHORT LIST ONLY PROVEN TECHNOLOGIES);

• Assess and classify companies;

• Develop the book of technical terms for the final tender;

• Evaluate the offers;

• Monitor and control its execution;

8 – Assign the Ministry of Environment to hire a worldwide consultant to be responsible for quality control workflow, in conformity with the principles of the plan, and appropriate progress of its implementation;

9 – Assign the Ministry of Environment to hire a local consultant to conduct an awareness campaign for the acceptance of thermal fragmentation technology;

10 – Entrust powers to the government in order to control the appropriate implementation procedure and to ensure its funding, taking advantage of successful experiences in the neighboring country.

 

Reading the new plan

 

The Ministry of Environment succeeded in convincing the Cabinet of finding new ways to solve the problem of solid waste by adopting the thermal fragmentation method, which allows the transformation of waste into electrical energy. On the other hand, there are lesson yet to be learned regarding the development of the enforced strategies amid unstable political situation.

 
The Ministry of Environment began, in coordination with the Council for Development and Reconstruction, an advisory work to locate thermal fragmentation centers. The fear is that the subject of determining these locations, discussed in the Cabinet, might trigger a political crisis and transform temporary and situational measures (the extension of Sukleen’s contract) into necessary and permanent solutions. At such moment, the scenario is re-designed and "a new plan again" is put under study. It should be highlighted that no direct and major impacts resulted from the thermal fragmentation centers on the residential region were pointed out. In fact, these centers do exist in the middle of a number of European cities.

Decision makers should be more aware of the country’s interests so that their policies can be an action, not a reaction, to circumstances. Hence, the need to address the files in their early stages, before its detonation, in order not be overwhelmed with solutions. In case this file emerges again, the Lebanese waste market and industry should be opened for international participation. This can be achieved in a 10 year period since insisting on temporary and situational measures becomes a heavy burden on the budget.

 

It should be noted that Sukleen and its subsidiaries continue to execute the business entrusted to them. This happened after the clause to negotiate prices mentioned in the Cabinet resolution was suspended and as Sukleen adopted the condition to decrease its extended contract value by 4%.

The development and enforcement of the 2010 plan concerning the solid waste treatment is a national necessity due to the decline in Nehme’s landfill capacity to absorb additional waste and in order not to allow a situational and temporary solution to become permanent. It is wise to remedy the crisis of solid waste and treat them before it emerges again.

Solid waste file

The Minister of Energy and Water addressed the cabinet inquiring about Sukleen’s contracts. As a result, The Council for Development & Reconstruction presented a reprt before the cabinet as a response to the Minister’s questioning. The report included a cost analysis of the contracts with the Averda Group, an examination of the consequences of a 4% discount on the respective contracts, and a Statement of Opinion concerning the necessity and required timeframe to hold an international tender.

The report stated that the contract of Suckleen and its subsidiaries will end on January 17, 2015.

 

Analyzing the Council’s response to the Minister

The Council for Development & Reconstruction response to Minister Bassil was, in its majority, objective and convincing. It is known that the determination of waste treatment cost is complicated and particular to each region, according to the procedures adopted in the treatment, the services provided, and the level of environmental techniques applied. The geographic and topographic nature of the region and the type of soil also play important roles in determining the costs of waste treatment. Furthermore, there are administrative and political issues, as well as unexpected expenses resulted from the uncontrolled corruption present in the country. 

On the other hand, nothing prevents the state from opening the waste treatment market to other companies holding experience, competency, and efficiency. In such case, costs would be determined and influenced by the competition of the market in a way that that most competitive one would prevail. The fear is that temporary agreements become permanent deals and Sukleen’s contracts are extended indefinitely. Permanent problems are, consequently, solved by superficial and circumstantial solutions, amid governments incapable of solving long term problems.

 

Plans for handling the solid waste file

 

1997 Plan

 

The cabinet issued in 1997, upon the suggestion of the Ministry of Environment, an emergency plan for waste management in Greater Beirut and other regions. The plan included the following:

 

  • Rehabilitation of Amrousiye sorting center and the burning of about 600 tons of solid domestic waste per day;
  • Rehabilitation of the Carantina center to increase its capacity to 1100 tons of solid waste per day to be sorted, burned and fermented;
  • Establish a new sorting center next to Beirut River;
  • Compressing and minimizing waste volume to be dumped, knowing that the healthy quantity of bales to be buried is 200 tons per day of the waste from Amrousyie and Carantina centers;
  • Definition of the role of the Construction and Development Council in the implementation of this project and selection of the location for sanitary landfill (with consent with the Ministry of Environment).

 

Unfortunately, according to the CDC, the emergency plan wasn’t executed as planned in Greater Beirut and other neighboring regions due to the following reasons:

 

 

  • Resident’s resistance towards the burning of waste in Amrousiye and Carantina;
  • The administration’s inability to provide the new centers for fermentation and fertilization of organic material (as stipulated in the treatment contract n. 2378). These centers would be able to process, as stated on the referred contract, 850 tons/day of organic waste. Without these facilities, the current amount of extracted organic waste at the existing fertilization center (Coral) is of only 300 tons/day. This causes an excess amount of organic waste to be transferred to Nehme’s landfill (instead of its destination to the fermentation and composting centers) which increases the quantity of dumped waste by about 300,000 tons/year. This contributes to the depletion of Nehme landfill’s capacity and also results in additional expenses of about 50% on the sanitary dumping contract.
  • Some of the recyclable material extracted from the waste became disqualified to be marketed due to its contamination with oils, fats and coloring;
  • The increased population and the additional duties added to Sukleen’s contract caused an increase in the amount of waste to be treated (around 2600 tons/day);
  •  The lack of convenient geological conditions for sanitary dumping in the north of Beirut which led to the use of Bsalim’s landfill for bulky items exclusively.

 

All this led to the need to dump additional waste in the landfill of Nehme, which totaled around 2300 ton/year (while it was supposed to dump 200 tons/day, according to the cabinet resolution n. 18 dated 22/1/97). The landfill conditions, therefore, had to modified in order to dump additional amounts of organic wastes. It is important to highlight how difficult it is to find a sanitary dumping location to replace the landfill of Nehme due to the opposition of the residents of the regions where it is suggested to be established. The failure of the plan resulted in pressures on Sukleen and its subsidiaries, required cost adjustments to be made and, therefore, led to increase in prices.

 

The 2006 Plan

General Proposals

- Application, as much as possible, of the general principles of recycling and composting in order to reduce the amounts of dumped waste through the establishment of distribution, sorting, recycling, and composting centers on all districts and the implementation of one or more sanitary landfills to serve all regions;

- Motivate municipalities to use their lands for sorting and composting centers and sanitary landfills, in exchange for a sum for every ton of treated solid waste to be paid according to the plan and within the provisions of laws and decrees that shall be issued in this concern;

- The municipalities will sweep, collect, and transport the waste to the sorting and composting centers under their own charges;

- The contractor will finance the study, implementation, and equipment of the sanitary landfill and the sorting and composting centers, which will be under its control for a period of ten years. In exchange it will receive a sum for every transported and treated ton of waste in the proposed locations.

 

Treating, recycling, and dumping domestic solid waste

Current situation (Beirut and Mount Lebanon in the year 2005)





Contents

Percentage

Recycling/composting

Sanitary

dumping

Organic material

60%

10%

50%

Paper and cardboards

15%

 

 

10%

 

 

25%

Plastic material

10%

All types of glass

5%

Tissues

5%

Metal and other materials

5%

0%

5%

Total

100%

20%

80%

 

Summing up the current situation: From the waste collected, around 80% goes to sanitary dumping, 10% is treated, and 10% is recycled.

 

 

Objectives of the proposed plan





Contents

Percentage

Recycling/composting

Sanitary dumping

Organic material

60%

40%

20%

Paper and cardboards

15%

8%

7%

Plastic material

10%

6%

4%

All types of glass

5%

3%

2%

Tissues

5%

2%

3%

Metal and other materials

5%

1%

4%

Total

100%

60%

40%

 

Summing up the proposed plan: From the waste collected, around 40% goes to sanitary dumping, 40% is treated, and 20% is recycled.

 

The proposed plan is based on the adoption, in all Lebanese regions, of sanitary landfills and treatment, sorting, and composting centers.

According to this plan:

  • Every served region will have one landfill or more, if need;
  • In every district it will be established a sorting and composting center and the waste residuals will be transported to a specific landfill in the served region or province of the district;
  • The high quality compost extracted from the waste will be use for agriculture purposes while low quality compost will be used in the rehabilitation of land quarries and for forestry;
  • During the first years the contractor, at his own expense, will launch awareness campaigns aimed at citizens to encourage them to sort their domestic waste and to use their organic compost in agriculture. In parallel, ministries, municipalities, and concerned parties will launch additional awareness campaigns, as well;
  • Suggested locations for the implementation of the waste sorting, treatment, and sanitary dumping centers are included in detail in the annexed reports and map.

 

2006 Plan as agreed upon by the cabinet

The text of the cabinet resolution gives a preliminary approval of the plan proposed by the Construction and Development Council for the solid waste management, based on: approval of   the proposed sites in the north and Bekaa, replacement of the Bosfore farm in the South by another location agreed upon negotiations with the concerned municipalities, approval of the establishment of two similar sites in Beirut and Mount Lebanon (one in the region and another in Jbeil).

It also expressed a preliminary approval for making the necessary acquisitions to implement the plan. The Construction and Development Council was assigned to prepare a book of terms and conditions that shall include, in addition to technical conditions, incentives to be given to the concerned municipalities. The cabinet also agreed upon the acquisition of 25000 m2 of land to expand the landfill in Nehme, until the replacing site is ready. The resolution also called for the application of previous resolutions of former cabinets concerning compensations for the municipality and its vicinity.

Despite the decisions presented above, the cabinet suspended the indication and the definition of the landfills in Beirut and Mount Lebanon due to the opposition of residents. Ministerial commissions were then formed to determine such locations, however they were incapable of completing their duties. As a result, and as the plan faced additional obstacles, it was suspended as a whole. Only in 2010 a final resolution was issued concerning the adoption of thermal fermentation in Beirut and Mount Lebanon

Source: Lebanon, Environment report prepared by Mazen Abboud and Aseel Takshee.

 

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