Tag Archives: Sidon

Saida’s disappointing waste management experience

Source: Omar Yashruti/MOE

Last month, a sea turtle was found dead floating in reddish water in the midst of plastic bags and other garbage off the coast of the southern town of Sidon. The source of the solid waste pollution is the IBC Municipal Solid Waste Treatment Center that is located in the southern outskirts of Sidon.

The facility was once considered a bright example of solid waste management, as a model of success that should be followed throughout Lebanon. In the October 2015 edition of the Blom Bank’s The Lebanon Brief, the newsletter states that the plant “is a waste to energy plant, which 100% of the municipal waste received is recycled, re-used and converted, approaching 0% landfill.” The newsletter continues, “the method followed by IBC can be adopted all over Lebanon, to solve the waste crisis threatening the country”. The official IBC website claims that this facility is first of its kind in the world and its aim is to reach zero-waste.

The euphoria of the facility was during the waste crisis of July 2015. The city of Sidon, like most of Lebanon, had a severe solid waste problem for decades. The removal of the garbage mountain, and a facility promising to manage the waste in a sustainable matter turned Sidon into a “role model for waste management.” However, the promise was never realized and locals complained about the foul smell and the waste accumulating on the coastline.

On top of the deterioration of the environment and threat to public health, there is an important economic perspective to this story. The facility serves 16 municipalities of the Saida-Zahrani area on a five-year contract. For the first two years, the facility would make USD 85 per ton of waste managed. This fee would increase to USD 95 for the subsequent three years. In the first year the facility was treating 150-200 tons of a waste a day, making an estimated USD 3,366,000 to 4,488,000 in the first year. The facility was supposedly also making money from selling recovered material and recycled plastic from their plastic recycling line. A big portion of their revenue, the solid waste management fees, is paid by the municipalities. The fact that waste is accumulating is a breach of contract, yet there has been no evidence that they have been penalized for this breach. The Mayor of Sidon gave them a four-month deadline to sort this problem; however, the operators have not respected past deadlines before. So far, no one has been held accountable for the squandering of these public funds.

A facility of this size should be subject to regular monitoring inspections. The real problem is that the situation should not have reached the point of waste accumulating on the coastline. According to the operator of the facility, the plant has been operating over capacity because it has been receiving waste from Beirut, which should never have been allowed. Under article 39 of Law 444, the Environmental Protection Law, the Ministry of Environment is responsible for supervising the waste management process in Lebanon. While it is unclear if the facility was being properly supervised or audited and how, it is evident that supervision mechanism has failed. This highlights the importance of a transparent monitoring process. Since this is paid for by public funds, and the environmental impacts affect everyone, the results of monitoring activities should be made public.

It is stories like this that make people resistant to living near a solid waste facility. The lack of regulations and accountability are the main reasons why the government had so much difficulties selecting the locations of the landfill. However, the silver lining is that this experience should highlight the importance of sorting at the source, i.e. at the household or office, as well as waste reduction practices, which would minimize the flow of waste to large waste management facilities and improve their efficiency. Without them, it is clear that solid waste will continue to accumulate at various locations and deteriorate our health and that of the environment.

Sidon’s never-ending environmental woes


Source: Emirates 247

In collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and the UNDP, the Municipality of Sidon has implemented a project to replace the infamous “garbage mountain” that has been a nuisance to the city’s residents for decades. The municipality plans to replace the mountain with a 35,000 square meter park. Today the there is no sign of the waste as the municipality boasts massive environmental benefits as a result. Continue reading

Removal of Sidon’s “garbage mountain” reaps immediate rewards


Source: Wikipedia

One of the main adverse environmental impacts from Sidon’s “garbage mountain” had been the deterioration of marine life along that stretch of the coast, as nitrogen and heavy metals were spilling into the sea waters. About a month ago, through a UNDP and Ministry of Environment project, the garbage was removed and buried in a sanitary landfill nearby. A 2,200 meter long seawall was also constructed to protect the ecological environment. Continue reading

The Lebanese government can’t even protect a few trees

Source: The Daily Star

Source: The Daily Star

The Municipality of Saida has taken legal action against a number of individuals for repeatedly cutting down old trees despite numerous warnings. A few residents complained to the municipality that a landowner and a number of workers were cutting down trees on a pavement. The Mayor of Sidon Mohammmad Saudi said that the police patrol that followed up on the complaints managed to confiscate the equipped used to chop the tree. However, this did not stop the perpetrator who continued to cut down all trees and was able to get a local influential group to intervene and drop the charges against him. Continue reading

Sidon bids farewell to “Garbage Mountain”

sidon blog 2

Last year, Sidon Municipality, with support from the Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme, embarked on a project that would get rid of its infamous garbage mountain, aiming to replace it with a 35,000 square meter park. The land had been used as a dump site since 1982 and received about 300 tons of waste a day until it became the great eye sore of the coast of Sidon. Continue reading

Lebanon’s ‘Garbage Mountain’ rapidly disappearing

The “Garbage Mountain” in Saida is infamous for decades of environmental pollution in the city and along the coast. It has been used as a dump for the Saida’s 250,000 residents for over 40 years.


Source: Al Akhbar Website

Fortunately, last year, the Saida Municipality, Ministry of Environment, and UNDP joined forces to embark on a project that will solve this menacing problem by burying the garbage in a sanitary landfill and reclaiming the land to build a 35,000 square meter public park, greened hilltop, and a breakwater to prevent future waste dumping in the sea. This week, the Mayor of Saida announced that 70% of the trash has already been removed.

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Solid waste is a major environmental problem in all of Lebanon, not only in Saida. The lack of proper waste disposal sites and recycling plants has caused severe pollution and nuisance issues throughout the country. A few months ago, residents of Naameh held demonstrations demanding the closure of the overloaded Naameh landfill near their homes and prevented waste disposal trucks from reaching the dump site. The government has promised to close the Naameh waste site by the beginning of 2015; however, a solution and alternative site have yet to be determined.