Dhour Shweir Incinerator, Lebanon

Incineration is a false solution to the waste crisis in Lebanon


Description

Following the waste management crisis gripping Lebanon since July 2015 and the permanent closure of Naameh landfill in May 2016, Lebanese municipalities were left to confront the crisis on their own without any prior experience in the matter. Some municipalities resorted to private contractors in order to collect and transport their generated waste, mainly to the Hbaline waste dump in Jbeil, while others created open dumps and burned their waste in the open. A few municipalities initiated sorting at source campaigns and/or started collecting recyclables. Shweir and Ain El Sindiyaneh, a municipality in northern Metn, to get rid of its municipal waste, imported a small scale/1st generation incinerator without any pollution control system and without undertaking an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study as per national legislation requirements. The incinerator was first placed on a land classified as “green zone” and cut a number of old trees to prepare the land for the incinerator. The first location was close to residential buildings and an agro food industry for the production of dairy products. The incinerator was met with resistance from residents in Shweir and neighboring villages and from a number of land owners. A local grassroots movement sprang up, endeavoring to raise awareness on the dangers of incineration and seeking to unite efforts and actions to remove the incinerator from Shweir. Following complaints and lawsuits, the Ministry of Environment issued in November 2015 a ministerial decision to cease any types of work at the incinerator's site pending an EIA submission. Under the pressure of local grassroots activists, the incinerator was removed from the first location and placed on the land of the public school of Shweir which is owned by the Ministry of Education. While waiting for the approval of the EIA, the municipality of Shweir continued working on expanding the incineration facility by adding a sorting belt and a shallow water pool and introduced some locally made pollution control devices. During the scoping phase of the EIA, a public hearing meeting was held at the village and all attendees expressed their refusal and concerns about the placement of the incinerator in the village and its related environmental and health effects. A petition was signed by 300 residents from Shweir and neighboring villages against the incinerator and was submitted to the Ministry of Environment. During the recurrent waste crisis, the municipality has sporadically operated the incinerator without a license and the Ministry of Environment issued several requests to the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities and to the Governor to stop it; however, these were not executed. Presently, the incinerator is not working. The EIA was submitted to the Ministry of Environment. The EIA was not approved and was returned to the consultant to revise it and respond to the Ministry’s enquiries and concerns.

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Basic Data
NameDhour Shweir Incinerator, Lebanon
CountryLebanon
ProvinceNorthern Metn
SiteShweir and Ain El Sindyaneh
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local 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
Incinerators
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe incinerator of Shweir and Ain El Sindiyaneh was supposed to treat the municipal waste generated at the village estimated at around 5 to 7 tons per day.

According to Raja Noujaim, from the Coalition Against Incineration, incineration is not a solution for Lebanon for several reasons. Firstly is the carcinogenic micro-particles, which are not suitable to be near population centers. Further, he points out that Lebanon’s waste is currently unsuitable for incineration, because it is not sorted at collection. “The main problem comes in the burning process, with mixtures of organic and non-organic petroleum products and organic products. The waste is 55 percent organic and 75 percent of this is water." This makes it difficult to burn [1].
Level of Investment (in USD)350,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population20,000
Start Date02/10/2015
Company Names or State EnterprisesINCINER8 International from United Kingdom - This is the company who creates the incinerator that was imported
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Environment, Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, Governor, Municipality of Shweir & Ain El Sindyaneh
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersCivil Coalition against Waste Incinerators
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingNeighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Women
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Soil contamination
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts
OtherAcidification, photochemical ozone or smog formation, eutrophication, and human and animal toxicity
Health ImpactsVisible: Occupational disease and accidents
Potential: Other environmental related diseases, Other Health impacts
OtherLong-term health effects due to exposure to PAHs, dioxins and furans, heavy metals, etc... The major impact on health is the higher incidence of cancer and respiratory symptoms; other potential effects are congenital abnormalities, hormonal defects, and increase in sex ratio.
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Other socio-economic impacts, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
OtherLoss of land value, parents of students studying in the school where the incinerator was located will have to move them to another school that might entail transportation costs and higher educational fees, tourists will not visit the area noting that it has high recreational value; produce from agricultural fields around the incinerator will not be sold due to potential contamination from pollutants including dioxins, furans and heavy metals.
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Application of existing regulations
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesThe grassroots movement spearheading the opposition to the incinerator met with the heads of neighboring municipalities to introduce and raise funding for a project aiming at developing and implementing a Municipal Solid Waste Management Plan for the surrounding municipalities, decentralizing waste management through enhanced local governance, awareness raising, acquisition of waste collection equipment and building and equipping two waste treatment facilities. A project was developed for 13 municipalities including the Municipality of Shweir and Ain El Sindiyaneh and was submitted to the EU for funding. The project succeeded in passing the first phase of the projects' selection and the full application was developed and submitted for the second phase of the selection process. Unfortunately, the Municipality of Shweir and Ain El Sindiyaneh backed up and withdrew from the project at the last minute.
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.The case is not closed yet. The environmental impact assessment study for the incinerator is not approved yet by the Ministry of Environment who has returned back to the consultant for more questions and amendments. It is still under consideration and the final decision for licensing is not issued yet.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Law 444: Protection of the Environment
[click to view]

EIA ddecree 8633/2012
[click to view]

Links

[1] People of Lebanon raise a stink
[click to view]

محرقة ضهور الشوير في زمن الفوضى
[click to view]

هل نحرق لبنان بمحارق النفايات؟
[click to view]

وزير البيئة طلب ختم محرقة ضهور الشوير بالشمع الاحمر
[click to view]

Who holds the polluters accountable?… Dhour el Shweir victim of waste Incineration
[click to view]

Media Links

منا كبش المحرقة facebook page

@ManaKbshMa7raka twitter account

منا_كبش_المحرقة#

video showing how the municipality of Shweir is randomly burying the ash nearby the facility
[click to view]

Radio Interview about incineration in Lebanon with Raja Noujaim from the Anti-Incineration Coalition
[click to view]

Other Documents

منا كبش المحرقة logo
[click to view]

منا كبش المحرقة facebook page cover
[click to view]

distance from school Picture showing the distance between the incinerator and Shweir's school
[click to view]

Smoke from operating the Incinerator Smoke from operating the Incinerator
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorManna Kibsh El Ma7ra2a, kibsh.ma7raka@hotmail.com
Last update10/03/2017
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