After the closing of its primary landfill in July 2015, Beirut is struggling to find out what to do with its waste. Presently, the Lebanese capital is storing waste in the streets while trying to find a permanent solution to its waste management problems. For more than half a year, the city has been working on a waste export scheme, but this collapsed in February. Now it is looking for suitable sites for a new landfill to relieve the immediate crisis and avoid illegal and health hazardous waste burnings and dumping of waste in the river.
Waste management in Lebanon has been the responsibility of the central authorities since the 1990s, but a decree approved by the Cabinet last September transferred this responsibility to the municipalities. Beirut is planning to solve this task by implementing waste sorting at the source, recycling and waste-to-energy, but city officials realise that this is not done overnight.
Capacity of 600,000 tonnes annually
In 2012, the governmental body CDR (Council of Development and Reconstruction) commissioned Ramboll with a study evaluating the feasibility of implementing waste-to-energy in the Lebanese waste management system. All of Lebanon’s five regions were included in the investigations, and suggestions for sites for potential waste-to-energy plants were conducted. Ramboll’s contract with CDR includes a second phase in which the consultancy is currently assisting them in the procurement of a waste-to-energy plant for Beirut with a capacity of 600,000 tonnes of waste annually.
“Lebanon has taken the straight path to reliable waste management by implementing waste-to-energy to serve its capital,” says Project Director Jørgen Haukohl.