The long good­bye

Gov­ern­ment waste man­age­ment scheme not fully im­ple­mented

Executive Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

As could have been ex­pected, chaos is en­su­ing. While the sit­u­a­tion is not as dire as it was in the hec­tic sum­mer of 2015 – when protests raged and trash burned on the streets of the cap­i­tal and its en­vi­rons – waste in Le­banon is still far from well-man­aged. One full year after Tam­mam Salam’s gov­ern­ment ap­proved a four-year trash plan cov­er­ing Beirut and most of Mount Le­banon, it re­mains only par­tially im­ple­mented. And the new gov­ern­ment seems in no rush to ad­dress the coun­try’s lin­ger­ing waste cri­sis. A min­is­te­rial com­mit­tee ded­i­cated to the is­sue met only once (in early March), ac­cord­ing to news re­ports. Two sources at the meet­ing (and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of a third) ig­nored re­quests for in­for­ma­tion as to which min­istry would take the lead in the new cab­i­net.


For more than 20 years, most of Le­banon’s garbage (50 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment) has been man­aged by sis­ter com­pa­nies Suk­leen and Sukomi, chil­dren of par­ent com­pany Averda. From street sweep­ing and bin col­lec­tion to trans­port, treat­ment and dis­posal in the Bsalim and Naameh san­i­tary land­fills – the lat­ter per­ma­nently closed in May 2016 – Suk­leen and Sukomi did it all in Beirut and five of the six dis­tricts of Mount Le­banon (ex­clud­ing Jbeil). The sta­tus quo was meant to change in 2015, and the gov­ern­ment – through the Coun­cil for De­vel­op­ment and Re­con­struc­tion, a part of the prime min­is­ter’s of­fice – ten­dered new waste man­age­ment con­tracts for the en­tire coun­try. A fully-im­ple­mented na­tional plan would have been a first for Le­banon. Bid­ders had to com­mit to build­ing mod­ern treat­ment fa­cil­i­ties and more san­i­tary land­fills. In­stead, within 24 hours of an­nounc­ing the ten­der win­ners, the con­tracts were can­celled. Around a year later (in March 2016), the gov­ern­ment fi­nally set­tled on a new plan that – aside from the afore­men­tioned lack of full im­ple­men­ta­tion – seems to

Gov­ern­ment waste man­age­ment scheme not fully im­ple­mented

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