Ramco to collect Beirut municipal waste
Five-year contract to include installation of collection bins for recycling
BEIRUT: The Lebanese company Ramco will take over waste collection in Beirut in five months when Sukleen suspends its operations, Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani announced Friday.
“The companies that got the highest technical score [and won the bidding] is the Lebanese Ramco and the Turkish Altas,” Itani said at a media conference held at the municipality.
The joint venture will be responsible for cleaning, collecting and transporting solid household waste in the administrative city of Beirut for the next five years at a total cost of $70 million. The contract includes the possibility of extending the agreement for an additional two years if both parties agree.
Among the companies’ responsibilities is also the installation of collection bins for recycling, which Itani envisions to be a first step toward the development of a waste-to-energy system. A plant designed to combust waste in order to produce electricity is being promoted by the mayor as Beirut’s own solution to the trash crisis.
Collection bins of three different kinds are scheduled to be placed in 250 underground collection points, as well as above ground. In order to maximize the system’s efficiency, special collection schemes have been drafted for schools and restaurants, where the amounts of paper and organic waste respectively exceed that of households.
Itani said an awareness campaign would be conducted in the next five months in order to inform the public about the new recycling scheme. The new waste management operations were designed based on “the principle of reducing the volume of waste before disposal,” the mayor said.
The vehicles used for collection were also described as “non-polluting.” However, the plan laid out by the municipality entails the use of “high-quality gasoline and diesel” rather than hybrid or electric vehicles.
The final disposal is scheduled to be dealt with by the municipality’s waste-to-energy project, which critics say is no different to an incinerator. The project, for which a tender is currently being drafted, was envisaged to transform the remaining, non-recyclable waste into energy.
In a previous interview with The Daily Star, Itani said that the municipality would provide the land and have an equity share.
The bid-winning company, Ramco, is also among the four preselected bidders for the construction of the waste-to-energy facility, this time in a joint venture with the Korean company Doosan. Similarly, JCC and Man have also been selected as bidders in both tenders.
Representatives of the civil platform Beirut Madinati present at the media conference Friday argued that the Court of Audit has not yet issued a final decision regarding the tender, and therefore the announcement raised questions. The group also claimed that the municipality had not been sufficiently transparent in providing information on the tenders.
“In order to assess what is going on and to know the relevance of these actions, we need to have information,” Andre Sleiman, representative of Beirut Madinati, told The Daily Star. “It is the municipality’s responsibility to facilitate access to them.”
The group also sent a press release in anticipation of the conference, detailing a number of technical concerns on the new waste collection contract, including the cost of the waste management services.