BEIRUT: Demanding a well-defined and transparent long-term solid waste management strategy, the Environment Committee, which emerged from the project between Annahar and the American University of Beirut, called for the objective and transparent scientific research in dealing with the growing waste crisis.
Other than introducing a scientific application “MODA” that could take the decision and weigh the options possible to solve solid waste, much more was presented on Wednesday, September 4, at the press conference called by Annahar and AUB at the lecture hall of the newspaper headquarters.
Attendees at the conference were Chairman of the Parliamentary Environmental Committee, Marwan Hamadeh, and some members of the Parliament including Paula Yacoubian, Antoine Banou, Walid El Baarini, and Hiba Qatisha. In addition to Bassam Sabbagh representing minister of the Environment, Fadi Jraisiti, Joseph Al-Assad represented the minister of Energy, Nada Boustani, and Ahmad Rajad represented the minister of Interior, Raya El Hassan.
The conference was also a way to “renew the collaboration between Annahar and AUB” as announced by both the President of AUB Fadlo Khuri and Annahar Editor-in-Chief Nayla Tueini.
As for the Union of Municipalities and the participation of their president and mayors, among the attendees were: President of the Keserwan-Jbeil Municipal Union Joan Hebeesh, President of the Union of South Baalbek Municipalities Ali Abu al-Muhsin, President of the Union of Municipalities of Tyre Hassan Hammoud, the President of the Union of Municipalities of Dahye Mohamed Dergham, and Jean Najem representing the Union of Batroun Municipalities.
The mayors attending the press conference were: Mayor of Jbeil, Wassim Zarour, Mayor of Beit Mery, Roy Abi Chedid, member of the Municipal Council Ghazi Abu Khalil representing the mayor of Jdeideh, Antoine Jbara, in addition to the members of the Committee, the Director of the Center for the Protection of Nature at AUB Dr. Najat Saliba, and Secretary-General of the National Council for Scientific Research Dr. Mouen Hamze, President of the Legal Public and Regional Law at Aalem and Partners Law Firm Rabih Al-Shaer, Director of the Policy Rationalization Center at the American University of Beirut Dr. Fadi Jardali, AUB Professor of Chemical Engineering Dr. Joseph Zuaiter, Coordinator of the Research Committee Ghina Shammas, and Annahar associate Diana Skaini, who presented the themes of the conference.
“We have committed during the past months over to four chapters in our special issue, they are the environment, health, education, culture, and legislation,” Announced Khuri before the speech of the Environment Committee. “Taking over each of the chapters was a special committee that includes a group of highly accredited specialist in the research field. Here comes the role of AUB and Annahar Newspaper, where we will devote our potentials, skills, abilities, and voices to do everything we can to achieve these reforms,” he added.
As for Tueini who stressed the “importance of this collaboration that has distinguished itself in close comparison to scientific research from specialists in the fields of environment, pollution, air, and waste,” she reinforced the collaboration between the Annahar and AUB, as she announced the series of projects inspired by this collaboration, starting from this September until 2020.
The Complete Strategy
The urgent need for the transparent scientific basis for the solid waste management strategy in Lebanon that is set on researching and studying both environmental impact and economic impact and their statistics was highlighted by the Environment Committee and Saliba.
“The solution to the waste management problem has always been addressed during the crisis seasonally, and it ignored the need for concerted efforts by all parties to develop a plan for sustainable solid management, clear stages based on transparent infrastructure,” Saliba announced.
She emphasized the emergency waste management plan that has been in motion since 1975 and reached a critical peak in 2015, which is a sign of urgency to set a clear strategy for waste management. Saliba also focused on the importance of the efforts committed by political and judicial stakeholders, public and private sectors, NGOs, and local authorities in waste management.
She ended her note by emphasizing again “the synergy in the main areas and entities responsible for data production in solid waste management with environmental, technical, financial, economic, political, judicial and social-cultural participation.”
The Smart Application
MODA was developed by engineer Anwar Al-Shami who works at the Environment Protection Center at AUB. The director of the center, Dr. Saliba with the consultation of Dr. Wassim Al-Hajj and and Dr Jospeph Aitar, supervised it.
“It’s a tool to help decision-makers solve the waste management crisis in the scientific method that takes into consideration all possible solutions,” Al-Shami explained, adding: “It’s a scientifically proven means for decision-making in multi-faceted crises that have an economic, environmental, social and developmental impact.”
Reinforcing that Jreissati is doing his job as the minister of Environment, Hamadeh thanked him for his efforts and yet pointed out how much has not been done, announcing the intention of “gathering the competent people to a conference in the National Library at the Council of Deputies to discuss the issue in depth.”
As for Yacoubian, she stressed that the political class in Lebanon is not capable of handling a sensitive file, such as the wasting management file, as they intend to “impose the option of incinerators, which we will do our best to fight."
The Environment Committee announced the beginning of its work at a meeting headed by Khuri and Tueini at the Newspaper Headquarters on September 3, 2018. It began by publishing research articles, amendments to Law No. 80 that facilitated the establishment of incinerators, the most dangerous option if ignored.
Prepared by Dr. Fadi Al- Jardali and Lama Bou Karoum from the Center for Policy Rationalization at AUB, the report was published on March 4, 2019, leading to the publication of scientific articles in the "Annahar University" file by the members of the Environment Committee, with the recordings of two meetings with the minister of Environment where the committee presented its vision of scientific solutions in order to help decision-makers on taking initiative and preparing a sustainable waste management plan.
This article was translated from the Arabic version by Annahar contributor Chiri Choukeir
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