The digging and drilling of a sander on private piece of land near the Tannourine Cedar Reserve has caused some major concern. Work on the sander has resumed after it was stopped by an official decision. The dust caused by the drilling has been causing pollution and also damaging old trees in the reserve. The environmental impact of operating this sander is jeopardizing previous reforestation programs initiated by various programs from the Lebanese Government.
The Minister of Environment (MOE) Mohammed Machnouk asked the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities (MOIM) to tighten control on quarries and other drilling activities (including sanders). The Minister stressed on the importance of monitoring these activities in order to ensure all operating quarries has the proper paperwork and licenses.
There is extensive legislation on quarries in Lebanon. Decree No. 5616/1996 regulated the quarry sector and designated the MOIM the responsibility to issue quarry permits in consultation with the MOE. This was modified in 2002 by Decree No. 8803 which introduced more regulations than Decree 5616.
Decrees 16456/2006, 1735/2009, and 8803/2002 incorporated environmental issues in the quarry legislation. Such issues include prohibition of quarrying in protected areas, expert supervision to oversee certain activities, addressing potential impacts on surface and groundwater, amongst other issues.
In 2009 a series of decisions (16/1, 17/1, 18/1, and 20/1) defined license conditions documents required for crushers for gravel production, rock quarries for crushers and rubble, rock quarries for producing mosaics, and sand quarries or naturally fragmented gravel.