Khatib: Decentralization to Be Adopted in Implementation of Waste Plan

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Minister of Environment Tarek al-Khatib said on Friday that administrative decentralization will be adopted while implementing the solid waste plan agreed during the Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

“Administrative decentralization will be adopted and local administrations will be responsible for the treatment of waste,” said Khatib at a press conference.

"The goal is to keep waste out of the streets and to focus on the rehabilitation of the Karantina and Amrusiya sorting plants,” he added.

The minister stressed that the government is “seeking to provide a sustainable solution in terms of solid waste treatment.”

"A detailed letter will be sent to the municipalities explaining the mechanism of waste treatment. Besides, a joint committee between the public and private sectors will be formed under the chairmanship of the Minister of Environment,” he added.

Khatib said he asked the Cabinet to publish a summary of the waste plan executive policy in the Official Gazette so that citizens could be more informed thereon.

He stressed "the work of waste treatment companies is subject to the supervision of the MoE," noting that "municipalities have the right to choose the technology they want, and we will supervise that from an environmental point of view."

"Thermal disintegration is a technique adopted in all countries around the world and it has its own conditions," he said.

"We will not adopt any technology before conducting the environmental impact study. We will set a time limit for the municipalities to make their own choices regarding the treatment of waste," the minister concluded.

The Cabinet on Thursday approved a plan to manage the household solid waste crisis, which involves the expansion of once temporary Costa Brava landfill near Beirut.

The landfill will also accept waste from the Chouf and Aley regions.

Under the new plan, a new reprocessing plant will be established at Costa Brava and the sorting plants in Amrusiya and Karantina will be improved.

A call for tenders will also be organized within six months to establish thermal disintegration plants in several areas.

Lebanon has been suffering from a waste management crisis since July 2015 when the controversial Naameh landfill that received the trash of Beirut and Mount Lebanon was closed by authorities.

Experts have urged the government to devise a comprehensive waste management solution that would include more recycling and composting to reduce the amount of trash going into landfills.

The consecutive governments' failure to address the problem in recent years led to the piling up of garbage on the streets and in random locations, which raised health and environmental concerns and sparked unprecedented street protests against the entire political class.

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