Revitalizing the Mediterranean: Environment Minister launches new project to reduce pollution

Lebanon News
2023-07-07 | 05:41
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Revitalizing the Mediterranean: Environment Minister launches new project to reduce pollution
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5min
Revitalizing the Mediterranean: Environment Minister launches new project to reduce pollution

Lebanon's Caretaker Environment Minister Nasser Yassin launched a project to reduce pollution of Mediterranean waters by promoting integrated solid waste management in smart coastal cities, which will be implemented in cooperation with the UN-Habitat and the Ministry of Environment in Lebanon and funded by the Ministry of Environment in Germany, titled "Sand" (رمال). 

Yassin presented the road map for advancing the solid waste sector in Lebanon and the strategic directions to reach integrated industry management during the next three years, which the Ministry of Environment is working on in cooperation with its partners from international organizations. 

He pointed out that the solid household waste sector has historically been among the primary public service sectors that the Lebanese have suffered from mismanagement for decades.  

In the aftermath of the economic crisis after 2019, the depreciation of the currency, and the lack of funding for daily operational operations, this sector witnessed a sharp deterioration at the level of all stages of waste management services, which had significant impacts on public health, food safety, food security, social stability, and economic development, at the national level. 

The Minister of Environment pointed out that the sector has been suffering from structural problems since before the financial crisis, the most important of which are in the financing aspect, management, and governance, concerning the sorting from the source and the principles of the circular economy, and in terms of infrastructure.  

The Minister of Environment stated that from here, the Ministry is set to develop a road map to save and reform the solid waste sector for the next three years, based on three main pillars:

- Developing sector governance;

- Enhancing sorting and waste diversion process;

- Directing basic investments in solid waste facilities and infrastructure.  

The roadmap provides a comprehensive approach to the solid waste sector's challenges, presents essential and urgent reforms, sets scenarios to secure better local service levels, and identifies the required investment and financing needs, including the mechanism for implementing the cost recovery system. 

In terms of developing good governance and management for the sector and at the institutional level, there is a need to create and implement the essential decrees and decisions required to implement the Integrated Solid Waste Management Law.

This includes strengthening the Ministry of Environment's and local authorities capacities to adopt an integrated approach to solid waste management by promoting the National Authority for Solid Waste Management.  

The National Authority will be essential in implementing Lebanon's integrated solid waste management system. As well as to develop a national waste information system and build on existing initiatives or platforms, determine service areas for solid waste, and prepare local plans for these areas. 

Financial sustainability is also the main challenge for solid management of the sector. 

The Ministry of Environment has prepared a draft law allowing local authorities to collect service fees from households and commercial establishments to cover integrated solid waste management services. 

Additionally, sorting and transferring waste is one of Lebanon's main pillars of integrated solid waste management. Accordingly, the Ministry will work with its partners to: 

Maximizing sorting at the source at the household level, doubling the number of waste collection and sorting centers, separating and transferring commercial waste, and launching awareness campaigns. 
 
Regarding investments and operations, it will include establishing and rehabilitating the necessary infrastructure for waste treatment and disposal. Given the protracted crisis, the cost of rehabilitating existing infrastructure and additional needs at the level of the 15 service areas is about $123 million. 

Additionally, it will improve the efficiency of waste collection and transportation and the operational management of waste treatment and sanitary landfills.  

The project will run for three years and launch a nationwide awareness campaign on sustainable waste management and marine litter reduction. 

The results of the studies conducted during the evaluation phases will also help formulate recommendations on national policies on marine litter management to improve and build the capacities of national frameworks and relevant actors. 

UN-Habitat and its partners will work with thirteen federations of municipalities and with the communities concerned throughout the project period to ensure that the planned interventions are targeted and based on the needs of the communities to promote inclusiveness, responsibility, and sustainability.
 

Lebanon News

Lebanon

Environment

Nasser Yassin

Pollution

Mediterranean

Solid Waste

UN-Habitat

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