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


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
NameNaameh Landfill, Lebanon
ProvinceChouf Disctrict
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 CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe 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.…

Leachate generation rates were measured at the site from April 1998 to April 2000. It was found that average leachate generation over this period was 150 L of leachate per ton of waste, which according to the researchers is high for pre-sorted waste. They attribute this amount to the high proportion of organic waste in the landfill, as well as to the contribution of rainfall, especially since this was during the operational phase and the final cover was not in place. Moreover, although the landfill was relatively “young”, the study found that the leachate produced had characteristics similar to landfills of 10-15 years maturity. The researchers also report the results of a pilot leachate treatment plant which included both chemical and biological treatments units. They encountered various problems in stabilizing the biological system performance, due to extreme fluctuations in leachate characteristics. Per contract, leachate from the Naameh landfill is supposed to be collected and transported to al-Ghadir pre-treatment plant in Khalde near the Beirut International Airport.

There is no official data for water quality near landfills or unofficial dumps in Lebanon. However, a report estimates that, assuming a leachate infiltration rate of 2% (due to the karstic nature of the rocks near the landfill), 50 m3 of water is contaminated per m3 of leachate.

In 2014, it was reported that the cost assessment of solid waste degradation due to methane emission from Naameh is 9% of the national GDP. The landfill in Naameh can be used to generate electricity since it was used at full capacity, which would also help decrease greenhouse gases.

Up until a year ago, landfill gases were emitted into the atmosphere without any kind of treatment. A year ago, however, some of it started being utilized to generate 0.5 mega watts of electricity, which is distributed to three villages, namely AinDrafeel, Aabey, and Bawerty.

Of the 919,897 tons of waste produced yearly in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, the bulk of which was disposed of in the Naameh Landfill, 561,137 tons are recyclable or compostable, conditional on sorting at source and establishment of recycling and composting facilities. This “opportunity loss” amounts to US $40 million for the year 2012 alone, not to mention the savings in terms of landfill area, around US $100 per m2.

Better management of the Naameh landfill would lead to a decrease of 23,272 tons of methane for 2012 and 391,767 for 20 years. When considering the damage to the environment globally, assuming a rate of US $ 13.6 per ton of CO2 emitted, the degradation caused by the landfill amounts to US $ 3.1 million for the year 2012.
Project Area (in hectares)30
Level of Investment (in USD)$142/ton of garbage
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population300,000
Start Date17/01/2014
Company Names or State EnterprisesAverda from Saudi Arabia - Owner of companies Sukleen and Sukomi
Sukomi from Lebanon
Sukleen from Lebanon
Relevant government actorsMinistry 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 organisations and other supportersLebanese Eco Movement (involving 80 NGOs):

Naameh Landfill Closure Campaign:
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
Social movements
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
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-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesNone
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.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

Study on treatment of leachate treatability of the Naameh landfill
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Cost assessment of solid waste degradation in Beirut and Mount Lebanon
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Article about Sukleen's monopoly in Lebanon
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[1] Article mentioning the compensation owed to Naameh and Ain Drafill municipalities
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[2] Fraud reported in Sukleen contract
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Garbage piles up on the streets of Beirut
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Internal security forces clash with protestors against the landfill
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Several reports about the Naameh landfill
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Lebanon's garbage politics
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Trash arrives to Naameh under army escort
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Activists vow to act as "human shields" during the Naameh landfill closure
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Naameh landfill reopens for two months
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Media Links

Facebook page of the Naameh Landfill Closure Campaign
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Facebook page of the Lebanese Eco Movement
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Other Documents

Garbage trucks working at the landfill
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Aerial view of the landfill
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Leachate from the landfill
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Aerial view of the landfill over the years, showing increasing environmental degradation
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Activists block the road to the landfill with recycled garbage
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A picture from the sit-in
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A picture from the day ISF attacks activists
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Other CommentsPhoto credits: Fouad Yehya
Meta Information
ContributorCatherine Moughalian, Asfari Institute, [email protected]
Last update08/11/2016