Cimenterie Nationale Factory in Chekaa, Lebanon

As the leading exporter of Cement in the MENA region, Cimenterie Nationale is one of the biggest industrial facilities in Northern Lebanon. High levels of coughs and phlegm have been found in the surrounding area


Description

In 1953, the Cimenterie Nationale corporation was founded, starting as a cement production plant with one Kiln. Over the decades, more kilns were added as well as reconditioning of the cement production process, improving quantity and efficiency in this production [8]. Despite seeking to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, as well as being awarded with ISO Certificates (ISO 14001) for it [6], Cimenterie Nationale is still seen as a potential source of air pollution to many of the locals in Chekka. The presence of this facility along with other industrial and recreational activities have heavily affected the region, making Chekka the “most polluted city in the caza of Batroun” [7]. Many residents in the coastal areas complain about heavy emissions, and report cases of asthma or other respiratory problems, and a number of them leave Chekka [7] [12] [13] [14]. Many officials, including factory owners, put the blame on the Ministries of Environment and Health, since they claim that these ministries are adequately intervening to improve the living quality in Chekka [7]. It is difficult to prove causation, as with other environmental pollutants. The best studies have been conducted by the American University of Beirut, University of Balamand, and the Lebanese American University. As many scientists know, cement factories release emissions of Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Dioxide and Monoxide, some Nitrous Oxides, and above all, Particulate Matter [1] [4]. Being surrounded by coastal and mountainous villages [1], Chekka is already placed as a potential victim of concentrated air pollution geographically trapped within the area, especially when there is low wind. A journal article written by Rana Kobrossi and her colleagues looks into the Respiratory Health effects on young residents in different cities of Northern Lebanon, including Chekka, and in this study, they found associations between distance from factories and risk of coughs and phlegm (the closer they are to a cement factory, the higher the risk) [1]. Though the study focused more on children, along with the many factors that can affect the results, the results show that there was a higher prevalence of coughing, wheezing, and even bronchitis for those living close to the factories. Even those living a bit farther (in the region) reported cases of chronic coughing [1].

Basic Data
NameCimenterie Nationale Factory in Chekaa, Lebanon
CountryLebanon
ProvinceCaza of Batroun
SiteChekaa
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific CommoditiesCement
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsAs the largest cement producer in Lebanon, it sells more than 2.2 million tons a year (by 2011), exporting cement products across the Mediterranean.

The factory received multiple upgrades over the years, and in 2016 had its storage capacity increased to 40,000 tons of clinker.

Certified for

ISO 9001:2000 (Quality Management System)

ISO 14001:2005 (Environment Management System)

OHSAS 18001 (Health and Safety Management System)

All certifications awarded by the German Research Institute of the Cement Industry

Health Impacts:

Those living close to the factories have Higher prevalence of:

Coughing

Wheezing

Phlegm

Bronchitis

Those living a bit farther have cases of chronic coughing.
Project Area (in hectares)100
Level of Investment (in USD)108,500,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population17,000
Start Date07/07/1953
Company Names or State EnterprisesCimenterie Nationale from Lebanon - Cement Production
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Environment

Ministry of Health
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersIndyAct

Green Area

Georges Abi Chahine
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups MobilizingIndustrial workers
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Recreational users
Local scientists/professionals
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Mine tailing spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Occupational disease and accidents
Other Coughing and other Respiratory problems
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Though Cimenterie Nationale, along with other cement factories in the region, has possibly caused health and lifestyle problems to local residents, it is hard to pinpoint or measure just how big their effect is, especially when considering multiple factors in an area with many point and non-point sources of the same emissions.

The Impacts on Public Health range from common cold coughs to Bronchitis, along with Wheezing and Phlegm.

Those who live a bit farther have cases of chronic coughing.

The effects on lifestyle and health have forced many residents to leave the area, and complaints ensue especially with the lack of government support to improve the area.
Sources and Materials
References

1. "Respiratory health effects of industrial air pollution on children in North Lebanon" - Study Journal by Rana Kobrossi
[click to view]

2. Mouawad-Edde
[click to view]

3. Career Fair Book 2011 - University of Balamand
[click to view]

4. Report from State of the Environment in Lebanon
[click to view]

5. "Chemical Industry Fact Book" - Invest in Lebanon
[click to view]

6. Cimenterie Nationale

An Experienced Leader in Cement Production
[click to view]

Links

7. "CHEKKA POLLUTED BY FACTORIES, NEGLECTED BY OFFICIALS" - NNA Blog post
[click to view]

8. Cimenterie Nationale Official Website
[click to view]

9. "AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT" - ERML Post
[click to view]

10. Wikipedia page of Chekka
[click to view]

11. Cement "Manufacturing Process" - Lafarge
[click to view]

12. "Environment debate rages in Chekka" - Daily Star post
[click to view]

13. "LAU report confirms Chekka residents’ worst pollution fears" - Daily Star Post
[click to view]

Media Links

14. Youtube video from Greenarea showing interviews of a few Chekka residents
[click to view]

Other Documents

Chekaa cement plant Source: https://www.cemnet.com/Articles/story/150973/chekka-s-new-process-core.html
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorMarc Daniel, Asfari Institute, md02@mail.aub.edu
Last update03/08/2017
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