Last update:
2016-11-08

Naameh Landfill, Lebanon

The Naameh landfill, which operated for around 20 years and served as a dumpsite for most of the trash produced in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, was forcefully shut down by activists, giving rise to the ongoing garbage crisis in Lebanon


Description:

Naameh is a poverty stricken village in the South of Lebanon known for its sectarian tensions and its citizens’ active blockade of roads over the years to protest the lack of basic services such as electricity and water. The village is also the site of a landfill, where more than half the waste produced by the capital Beirut and the area of Mount Lebanon were thrown over the years.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Naameh Landfill, Lebanon
Country:Lebanon
State or province:Chouf Disctrict
(municipality or city/town)Naameh
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
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The landfill is the site of an abandoned quarry situated in the Chouf district of Mount Lebanon, located 16 km south of the capital Beirut, and 4 km inland from the Mediterranean Sea, at an altitude of 250 m above sea level. It has a total expected waste capacity of 3 million tons of solid waste and an expected active life of 10 years. In 2002, it was receiving around 2,500 tons/day of municipal solid waste generated in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, more than half the daily waste produced in Lebanon per day (around 5,000 tons). However, the landfill far exceeded its design capacity, and its lifetime was extended multiple times even after reaching capacity. It filled up by April 2001, ahead of the expected date, as it was receiving more waste than was planned. By 2014, the landfill had accumulated around 12 million tons of waste, reaching 20 meters in height in its three cells. Reports only mention solid municipal waste being disposed of in the landfill, although activists claim that the waste also included industrial and hospital wastes, as well as hazardous waste such as paint, automotive used oil, grease, etc.…

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Project area:30
Level of Investment:$142/ton of garbage
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:300,000
Start of the conflict:17/01/2014
Company names or state enterprises:Averda from Saudi Arabia - Owner of companies Sukleen and Sukomi
Sukomi from Lebanon
Sukleen from Lebanon
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment

Ministry of Interior and Municipalities

Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR)

Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform

The municipality of Naameh
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Lebanese Eco Movement (involving 80 NGOs): http://daleel-madani.org/profile/lebanon-eco-movement

Naameh Landfill Closure Campaign: https://www.facebook.com/CloseNaamehLandfill/?fref=ts
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Blockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Air pollution, Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil contamination
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Health ImpactsPotential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:None
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Even after the closure of the landfill, no efforts were made to rehabilitate the landfill, or to create an integrated waste management plan for Lebanon, which ultimately led to the eruption of the garbage crisis in Lebanon. However, activists consider the campaign for Naameh itself successful, because nobody knew about the situation in Naameh before their mobilisation, and they led a successful fight against local leaders who were benefiting from the project.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Study on treatment of leachate treatability of the Naameh landfill
[click to view]

Cost assessment of solid waste degradation in Beirut and Mount Lebanon
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Lebanon's garbage politics
[click to view]

Internal security forces clash with protestors against the landfill
[click to view]

Several reports about the Naameh landfill
[click to view]

Article about Sukleen's monopoly in Lebanon
[click to view]

[1] Article mentioning the compensation owed to Naameh and Ain Drafill municipalities
[click to view]

[2] Fraud reported in Sukleen contract
[click to view]

Garbage piles up on the streets of Beirut
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Trash arrives to Naameh under army escort
[click to view]

Activists vow to act as "human shields" during the Naameh landfill closure
[click to view]

Naameh landfill reopens for two months
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Facebook page of the Naameh Landfill Closure Campaign
[click to view]

Facebook page of the Lebanese Eco Movement
[click to view]

Other documents

Garbage trucks working at the landfill
[click to view]

Aerial view of the landfill
[click to view]

[click to view]

Leachate from the landfill
[click to view]

Aerial view of the landfill over the years, showing increasing environmental degradation
[click to view]

Activists block the road to the landfill with recycled garbage
[click to view]

A picture from the sit-in
[click to view]

A picture from the day ISF attacks activists
[click to view]

Other comments:Photo credits: Fouad Yehya
Meta information
Contributor:Catherine Moughalian, Asfari Institute, [email protected]
Last update08/11/2016
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