Electricity shortage is one of the most complained about problems in Lebanon. The country currently operates seven thermal power plants generating 2038 MW, while demand is estimated at 2,500 MW. The largest thermal power plant is the one located in Zouk and was built between 1984 and 1987. It consists of four power stations that generate 607 MW, about 27% of the total electricity generated from thermal power plants in the country.
This shortage is not the only problem in the electricity sector. Residents near the Zouk power plant have been complaining about pollution resulting from its operation for over ten years. Last April nearby residents demonstrated staged a demonstration to voice their concerns and demand action. A 2010 survey consisting of 1,000 interviews conducted with residents living within 3 km of the power plant found that 33.1% of the respondents had a family member who was suffering from lung cancer. The percentage was less than double (12.8%) for respondents living 15-20 kilometers away.
Electricité du Liban (EDL) claims that they have reduced emissions by 80% in Zouk power plant. This has not stopped the protestors and some have even doubted these claims. Other plants have also had their share of public rejection. For example, there have been complaints about pollution from the Jiyyeh power plant south of Beirut. These public outcries need to be investigated by the proper authorities and if indeed there is evidence of pollution and health repercussions, then action needs to be taken swiftly.