Costa Brava Landfill, Lebanon

The Costa Brava Landfill is promoted as a temporary solution to the trash crisis that Lebanon suffered of in 2015. However, local residents and activists are against this landfill because it has many impacts on the environment and the aviation safety.


Description

The Costa Brava landfill was opened in April 2016, it is one of the two landfills that have been advertised by the Lebanese government as a solution to the eight-month trash crisis that the country went through in 2015. It was a temporary alternative to the Naameh landfill which was closed in May 19, 2015, after 17 years of operation, leading to the accumulation of trash piles in the city of Beirut and its environs. However, two weeks after the establishment of the plan, local residents and activists including the “You stink” campaign, the campaign for the closure of Al-Ghadeer landfill and the Lebanese Eco Movement held protests at the sites requesting the closure of the Costa Brava and the Bourj Hammoud landfills. In September 2016, activists filed a lawsuit against the Lebanese State, Al-Jihad group for Commerce and Contracting (JCC) and the Union of the Southern Beirut municipalities asking for the closure of the landfill. In addition, residents and activists from the Lebanese Eco Movement created a tent at the site preventing garbage trucks from penetrating and disposing the waste. In their sit-in, they requested people to sign a petition to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to shut the landfill since it could contribute to the pollution of the air and the sea nearby and it could be a threat for aviation safety due to its location close to the airport. The petition got 10,452 signatures; however, Paul Abi Rached, president of the Lebanese Eco Movement and TERRE Liban, stated that it was not useful because UNEP seemed to support the emergency plan. Additionally, many activists declared that the installation of the landfill in the chosen site is a violation of the Barcelona convention concerning the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Mediterranean that was adopted in 1995. Following this mobilization, the Judge of Urgent Matters in Baabda, Hasan Hamdan, ordered in December 2016 the Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a study assessing the impacts of the landfill on the environment and the aviation safety.

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Basic Data
NameCosta Brava Landfill, Lebanon
CountryLebanon
ProvinceSouth Beirut
SiteChoueifat
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Wetlands and coastal zone management
Specific CommoditiesE-waste
Industrial waste
Domestic municipal waste
Chemical products
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe project of the Costa Brava Landfill was a part of an emergency plan approved by the Cabinet of Former Prime Minister Tammam Salam in 2016, in order to solve the trash crisis that Lebanon suffered of in 2015. Trash piled up in the streets of the city of Beirut and its suburbs as a result of the closure of the Naameh Landfill in July, after 17 years of operation, with no substitutes provided. The four year plan constituted of reopening the Naameh Landfill for two months while establishing two new landfills; one in Bourj Hammoud in the North of Beirut and another one in Costa Brava located nearby the South of Beirut.

The Costa Brava landfill (Khaldeh) is situated at 167 meters (0.1 miles) away from Rafik El- Hariri International Airport. It is located near the shore where a beach resort is present. The Landfill is designed to receive approximately 1.5 million tons of waste from Beirut and its suburbs (e.g. Baabda). The Ministry of Environment based its selection of the Costa Brava site to paragraphs 2-3 of Cabinet Decision No. 1 of 12/1/2015, namely that “the final disposal of the waste resulting from its treatment should be achieved by rehabilitating degraded sites, and/or random dump sites and/ or any other sites in need of rehabilitation”[4]. Moreover, a consultant of the former Minister of Agriculture, Sawsan Bou Fakhreddine declared that “the decision to open landfills there was based on the theory that these areas (Bourj Hammoud and Choueifat) are already polluted” [5]. The main rules of the plan consist of the recovery of 60 percent of the waste through sorting, recycling, reclamation and recovery of energy during the first three years of commitment, with the increase to 75 percent in subsequent years, leading to thermal disintegration. Accordingly, before dumping the waste into the landfill, the waste is supposed to be sorted at the Amroussieh sorting facility. However, activity started by temporarily open dumping the waste while the area is being transformed into a sanitary landfill; therefore, the waste is not being sorted. As a compensation for the acceptance of the waste, the municipalities affected by the landfills are to be given $8 million a year.

Activists and officials that opposed the project stated that it will lead to air and water pollution as well as endanger the aviation safety since it is very close to the airport. In January 10, 2017, a plane faced a large group of birds which caused an accident during take-off to happen. As a response, the judge of urgent matter Hasan Hamdan decided to close the landfill temporarily until an alternative is found. However, the landfill was reopened and it is still operating until now.
Level of Investment (in USD)60,000,000
Type of PopulationUrban
Company Names or State EnterprisesAl Jihad Group for Commerce and Contracting (JCC)
Relevant government actorsCouncil for Development and Reconstruction (CDR)

http://www.cdr.gov.lb/

Ministry of Environment

http://www.moe.gov.lb/Home.aspx?lang=en-us

Ministry of Public Works

http://www.transportation.gov.lb/

Beirut's Southern Suburbs Municipalities Union

https://www.facebook.com/EtihadBaladietDahiah/
Environmental justice organisations and other supporters"You Stink" Campaign

https://www.facebook.com/tol3etre7etkom/

Lebanese Eco Movement

https://www.facebook.com/LebanonEcoMovement/

T.E.R.R.E Liban

http://www.terreliban.org/Projets-actuels/Papivore-Malin/Papivore-Malin.html

حملة اقفال مكب الغدير

https://www.facebook.com/makabalghadir/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Wastepickers, recyclers
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Global warming, Soil contamination
OtherAviation near the airport in danger
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases
Potential: Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Corruption
Court decision (undecided)
Development of Alternatives T.E.R.R.E non-governmental organization proposed an alternative plan for the management of the waste of Beirut and Mount Lebanon for one year. The project which is entitled “National Action plan for Waste Recycling and Sorting” promotes the protection of the environment, can be easily implemented and is cost effective. According to Paul Abi Rached, founder and president of the organization, the NAWRAS transitional plan is Eco friendly and it can provide around $50 million for the government. The project consists of the mandatory sorting and separation of waste into organic, inorganic and hazardous material at the level of households, establishments, stores, restaurants, etc. by installing green and red garbage bins in the streets for the disposal of the separated waste. The waste is then collected by garbage trucks and transported to several facilities. Generally, the organic waste is carried to a composting plant, the inorganic waste is recycled and the hazardous waste is stored. Thus, the main purpose of the plan is to reduce the amount of waste dumped into the temporary landfills, including the one in Costa Brava, from 2400 tons/day to 300 tons/day.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.According to Hassan Bazzi, the attorney who issued the lawsuit, the judge’s decision of closing the landfill after four months was appealed by Beirut Southern Suburbs municipalities Union. However, this decision can still be implemented since the court of appeal of Mount Lebanon did not come up with any judgement after the appeal. Nevertheless, Paul Abi Rached indicated that politicians and government actors are trying to postpone the court date by applying pressure on Judge Hasan Hamdan in order to change his decision of permanently closing the landfill. In his opinion, these people are trying hard to keep residents away from the site because, later on, it would be beneficial for the establishment of other projects. As expected, on June 22, 2017, the court of appeal date was postponed until 6/7/2017 because the representative of the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR) requested concerned individuals to listen to the Socotel consultant.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean
[click to view]

مرسوم أصول تقييم الأثر البيئي
[click to view]

Links

Study ordered on impact of Costa Brava landfill on airport
[click to view]

Residents, Activists Form Human Chain to Protest Costa Brava Landfill
[click to view]

Choueifat residents demand closure of Costa Brava landfill
[click to view]

مطمر كوستا برافا للنفايات: ألف طن يومياً تلوّث البحر وتخنق الهواء .4
[click to view]

1.Judge orders Costa Brava dump shot after scare at airport
[click to view]

3.Choueifat urges immediate action on Costa Brava landfill before summer
[click to view]

Activists hold sit-in against Costa Brava landfill, south of Beirut
[click to view]

Lebanon’s Seaside Dump Threatens Not Only the Environment, But Also Airplanes
[click to view]

One Year On, Lebanon’s Waste Management Policies Still Stink
[click to view]

Protesters briefly block Costa Brava entrance on Earth Day
[click to view]

5.How a landfill poses danger to Beirut flights
[click to view]

Costa Brava landfill to reopen temporarily
[click to view]

The long goodbye

Government waste management scheme not fully implemented
[click to view]

'Countdown' Begins for Implementation of Lebanon's Garbage Plan amid Skepticism
[click to view]

Anti-Trash Activists Rally in Naameh, Choueifat, Vow to Block Beirut Entrances Monday Morning
[click to view]

2.Municipalities union appeals decision to close Costa Brava
[click to view]

REPORT: Bourj Hammoud landfill scandal: Contract says waste should be dumped in the sea
[click to view]

ارجاء دعوى الكوستابرافا
[click to view]

Media Links

Costabrava landfill..Suffocating the lebanese
[click to view]

Other Documents

Costa Brava Landfill
[click to view]

Protests against Costa Brava Landfill
[click to view]

Protests against Costa Brava Landfill
[click to view]

Costa Brava Landfill
[click to view]

Other Comments*this case story was written in June 2017, therefore new events can happen
Meta Information
ContributorTala Meraaby, Asfari Institute, AUB
Last update02/07/2017
Comments