June 20, 2019 – The Sustainability Taskforce and Faculty of Nursing and Health Sciences (FNHS) at Notre Dame University-Louaize (NDU) in collaboration with the Health and Environment Association – Lebanon held a round table discussion on the feasibility of various sustainable technologies and their environmental impact in Lebanon.
Guest speaker, Dr. Paul Connett joined Lebanese figures from a variety of fields all of whom brought their expertise of different technologies to help reduce waste in Lebanon, including: Dr. Joseph Asmar, advisor to the Minister of Environment H.E. Fadi Jreissati, representing the minister; Sami Assaf and Souad Assaf, Association of Lebanese Industrialists; Ramzi Shasha, from the Ministry of Interior; Rami El Khoury, Rafik El Khoury and Partners; Hisham Karameh, Al Jihad for Commerce and Contracting; Paul Abi Rached, TERRE Liban; and Rabih Osta, Phoenix. NDU faculty members, and representatives from HEAL were also present.
The central feature was a talk by Dr. Connett on the different ways in which waste management can be conducted. His specific focus was on the dangers of opening and incinerator to deal with Lebanon’s waste crisis. According to Dr. Connett, incinerators require strong regulation, adequate monitoring, and stringent enforcement, but, the major problem remains to capture nanoparticles which have high health impacts and are seldom monitored in air pollution control systems. Dr. Connett proposed composting and recycling as part of an Integrated Solid Waste Management program.
After Dr. Connett’s talk, the feasibility of the methods he presented was discussed along with additional technologies that could be implemented, and the need for urgent immediate action which necessitates a multifaceted approach. Both incineration and product redesign were discussed as part of a holistic solution for residuals, along with several constraints that Lebanon is currently under including: (1) scarcity and high cost of land, requiring minimization of residual volume going to the landfill; and (2) absence of control on the design of commercial goods, as the majority of those are imported, making reduction of waste generation by product re-design a very difficult endeavor. The potential viability of door-to-door collection as a long-term process was also raised, but it was tempered by an immediate need to reduce the amount of waste already present.
The round table discussion concluded with a short summary of the pros and cons of each technology put forward, and a consensus that more studies need to be undertaken before a full solution can be reached.