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Ain Dara Cement Factory, Lebanon


Being advertised as a job creating opportunity, the Ain Dara cement factory has stirred up a lot of turmoil in the public eye. Many protests have risen demonstrating both the illegal nature and the environmental impacts of the plant. The factory was supposed to be located in Zahle, however heavy protest from Zahle residents due to environmental concerns has led to the suspension of the project in Zahle, and it’s relocation to Ain Dara .According to Zahle’s MP “the environmental problems would not only affect the city of Zahle, but the entire district as well”.

The Factory is owned by Pierre Fattouch, brother of Parliament member Nicolas Fattouch. Fattouch claims that his plant will follow both United Nations and international organization standards for environmental and health protection. However the Mukhtar, Antoine Bader accuses Fatouch of blurring the facts and lying about the health and the environmental impacts that the cement factory has on the village. Though an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was conducted and approved by the Ministry of the Environment, the municipality claims that the amount of water needed to cool down the machinery could be problematic. Ain Dara is a major source for water for both Mount Lebanon and Beirut. The factory could lead to some serious water issues that could affect this area. “We want to keep our air and water clean, and all we want from the Fattoush family is clean air, not a cement factory,” MP Fadi Habr said.[1] The residents of Ain Dara did not turn a blind eye; on July 5th 2016 a sit down was staged at Dahr al-Baidar where the people blocked the cement mixers from entering. The villagers’ protest has gotten support from numerous government officials, Sammy Gemayel tweeted that the locals of Ain Dara have his support. MP Akram Chehayeb condemned the factory and accused the Fattouch family destroying the Dahr l Baydar area; “Because of the Fattoush family, Dahr al-Baidar Mountain became the Dahr al-Baidar plain.”  On Wednesday 19th 2017 Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk has ordered to put a stop to the quarries works in the Alley district, after an investigation into the legality of the work proved that they have been operating without proper licensing.

In response to the growing numbers of protest from residents of the area; Fattouch has sent on numerous occasions some of his armed men hoping that they will scare off the protesters; however the people of Ain Dara remain steady. On April 18th, Steven Haddad a municipality member in Ain Dara was brutally beating up by four gunmen in Chtoura.   Fattouch reiterated that he had obtained all the necessary licenses and signed contracts with international companies to manufacture the equipment for the factory, which are ready to be installed. "Neither Ain Dara municipality nor any other [side] can prevent me from carrying out the work," the statement said[2].In another statement Fatouch said that there are currently 25 quarries in the mountain Lebanon area that are operating illegally and without licenses and yet only he is being targeted. "Obstructing the construction of the cement factory will impose heavy damage on Fattoush due to the signed contracts and agreements with foreign companies, which could lead to lawsuits against the state and burden the state treasury with heavy fines to compensate for its negligence in imposing security and law enforcement." Another concern that Ain Dara resident raised was the proximity of the factory to the Shouf biosphere, and the negative affects it could have on the reserve.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Ain Dara Cement Factory, Lebanon
State or province:Mount Lebanon
Location of conflict:Ain Dara
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Building materials extraction (quarries, sand, gravel)
Specific commodities:Cement

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Set to be 5 million m2 of land in quarries and the cement factory, Fattouch is advertising his factory as financially beneficial for the village. However no amount of money will fix the number of environmental issues it will cause. The factory will be located near the biosphere reserve, which is the largest natural cedar reserves in Lebanon, and in close proximity to a water spring. The residents fear that the factory will pollute the main source of water, as well as lead to the destruction of the Shouf biosphere reserve. The factory is part of Fattouch's greater operations of quarries. In 1995 Fatouch obtained a 20 year operating license from the municipality, which later in 2009 became legally protected by the government. Although the license allows Fattouch to use the 2000 meter2 of land, Fattoush's quarries are now occupying 20,000 meter2.

The factory has brought on lots of protests, not just by Ain Dara resident but neighboring villages as well. The factory will not just affect the resident of Ain Dara, but the whole of the central Bekaa. “المعمل سيلوث البقاع الاوسط كاملا”, “the factory will pollute the whole of central Bekaa”, Said Qab Elias mayor Jihad Mouallem. Shockingly Fattouch has received approval from both the ministry of the environment and the Ministry of Industries. However, Fattouch cannot start construction whithout the approval of Ain Dara municipality which he will not recieve. The locals are determined to not let “the death factory” get built. In an interview conducted with Nadine Bader a local activist from the women of Ain Dara movement stated that they do not want a repeat of what happened in Chekka. Chekka is the most polluted city in the Batroun district. The locals of Chekka are forced to leave the town due the environmental problems it’s facing. Chekka is the most polluted city in the caza of Batroun since it is the center of companies and cement plants. Many cancer causing toxin pollute the Chekka air. Bader goes on to say that if the factory is built, the majority of the Ain Dara residents will be migrating. The factory is located on a hill in the center of Daher el Daydar area. Nadine explained that this will cause a pollution umbrella of dust and gas that will extend to the entire area of Dahr Al-Baydar and neighboring villages.

The factory has not yet been built, yet Fattoush keeps lobbying for its opening and pressuring the municipality members through physical assaults and threats. The Ain Dara locals will not accept defeat and will not back down, the factory will not see the light of day .

Project area:500
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:17/05/2016
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Industry
Fattouch construction company
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ain Dara Municipality
Neighboring Municipalities
Ladies of Ain Dara
Ain Dara Green

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Local government/political parties
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Air pollution, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Health ImpactsPotential: Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsasthma and other respiratory issue
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement


Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Court decision (undecided)
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Not to build the factory
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:though the factory has not yet been build the Fattouch family still has their quarries running and are still lobbying for the factory

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

{3}- Mt Lebanon factory set to operate despite controversy

Mt.Lebanon cement factory fires back at critics

plan to establish Ain Dara Cement factory

the cement import "ban" and pollution

{2}-Ain dara's mukhtar says that fattoush's building is a death factory

{1}-Ain Dara residents protest Establishment of the cement factory

officials hardens stance against Mt Lebanon factory

Meta information

Contributor:Hussein Al- Mouallem and Mira Husseini
Last update04/07/2017



protest 2

people rally together in face of injustice

environmental injustice

picture showing the infrastructure of the factory


Ain dara resident gather to protest the building of the cement factory

environmental injustice

"Dahr Al- Baydr mountain turned into Dahr Al- Baydar plain" Akram Shayeb . Picture showing the effects of the quarries