Two months since the government agreed to export Lebanon’s waste, seven months since the start of the waste crisis, and nothing has been resolved. The majority of Beirut and Mount Lebanon’s waste is still being disposed in makeshift dumpsites around the country. The demonstrations that were sparked by this crisis have all but died out, and as each day passes with no solution, the potential environmental and public health catastrophes will start to become a reality. Continue reading
In March, Tunisia is set to become the first Arab country to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags. Worldwide, only a few countries have done so as most opt to levy a fee for their use. Tunisia consumes approximately a billion plastic bags a year, 80% of which is not recycled or disposed properly. Plastic litter has become dominant along Tunisia’s landscape and poses a major problem to the Tunisian authorities. Non-biodegradable plastic bags take at least 500 years to decompose compared to three to six months for biodegradable bags. This decision moves Tunisia one step closer to reducing the amount of waste that cannot be recovered. Continue reading
According to the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC), investments between 2011 and 2015 in renewable energy, energy efficiency and green buildings in Lebanon have reached $450 million. Their study estimates that this has provided 10,000 direct and indirect jobs in the market. The table below shows the total number of firms has drastically increased in the past 5 years. Continue reading
The Middle East region has taken large strides in issuing legislations that protect the environment by using well-established tools such as environmental impact assessment and auditing. Ensuring compliance throughout the life cycles of development projects, however, remains a challenging task. This paper aims to show that despite the successes attained thus far, there are several drawbacks in the existing systems, most strikingly the weak linkages between the legal instruments such as EIA and auditing, the lack of provisions for public involvement and inadequate mechanisms and resource allocation for implementing follow-up. These weaknesses are likely contributing to less efficient and effective enforcement, lack of a holistic approach to environmental protection and insufficient financing for environmental mitigation and monitoring measures during the various stages of a development. As a comparative case study, the legislative framework for environmental impact assessment and auditing of Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Aqaba Special Economic Zone have been reviewed and analyzed. The paper presents a set of recommendations that aim to fill the gaps presented.