Lebanon acts against incinerators and for zero waste; More than 100 actions in one day to solve the waste crisis

Lebanon acts against incinerators and for zero waste; More than 100 actions in one day to solve the waste crisis
On the occasion of the “National day of action against incinerators and for zero waste”, individuals and institutions from organized today more than 100 actions all over Lebanon covering all governorates and districts to say that the Lebanese refuse incinerators and that they are ready for a sustainable solution based on the “zero waste” principle to solve the waste crisis in Lebanon. This event, organized by IndyACT and the Lebanese Coalition towards Zero Waste, is part of a national campaign to uphold an effective draft law on the management of solid waste in Lebanon and to stop the incinerators project as a solution to this problem. 
The National Day provided the Lebanese with an opportunity to express their position in their own way. Some organized a jazz concert, while others worked on cleaning up waste from a park. In the North, people distributed brochures about the principle of zero waste, and in Saida, a number of individuals demonstrated in front of the giant landfill. Most of the participants held a banner reading “No to incinerators…Zero Waste now”. In addition to all the on ground actions, hundreds of supporters joined the event through signing to the position on the Internet. 
Lebanon is currently facing the risk of drowning in its political problems, but at the same time facing the risk of drowning in its waste that is spread in the mountains, valleys, plains, rivers and beaches. This requires an immediate action to tackle the issue where the risk is aggravated year after year and is heading for the worst. Existing temporary solutions to the waste problem are on the verge of collapse, and this could lead to a national crisis especially in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. The Coalition believes that all Lebanese are tired of hearing the same theories about the prompt technological solutions for the disposal of waste, such as waste incinerators. Such solutions only increase the size of the problem instead of reducing it. Therefore, IndyACT and the coalition members believe that it is time to adopt the first solid waste management legislation in Lebanon, which is the only way to reach a sustainable and long-term solution to the waste problem. 
“The core of the waste problem is the way we deal with materials and products in the human economy. So to solve this problem, only appropriate legislation can change the way we deal with materials before they become waste”, said Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director of IndyACT. Lebanon is one of the few countries in the world that still do not have a waste management law. However, the Lebanese Ministry of Environment drafted such a law on the issue in 2003 and submitted it this year to the Council of Ministers to study and ratify it. Unfortunately, the draft law is still stuck in the Cabinet; and on the contrary, a project to establish incinerators was adopted to solve the problem. 
Waste incinerators are globally known to be the main source of dioxins and other toxic pollutants that cause cancer. Dioxin is considered one of the most dangerous human-produced chemicals and one of the substances that the Stockholm Convention calls for terminating their production. Incineration is the most expensive existing solution and generates a small number of jobs compared to other solutions. The solution proposed by the Lebanese Coalition towards Zero Waste relies on materials management and recovery policy and gradually eliminating non-recoverable materials. There is universal agreement that recycling and re-manufacturing is the most appropriate solution for the disposal of waste from environmental, economic and social perspectives. Most developed countries have established policies and laws aimed at increasing recycling. In addition, the adoption of sorting and recycling techniques stimulates local industry and achieves employment opportunities growth. “National action today demonstrates that Lebanese people have become desperate from the waste problem which began to affect their daily life more than the political problems, and it is time to put an end to it”, said Hmaidan. 
IndyACT and other Coalition members call for expediting the endorsement of the solid waste management draft law that is in the cabinet, which is the only solution to the waste problem. 
- End - 
Photos from the National Day of Action towards Zero Waste will be available at the following link: http://indyact.blogspot.com/ 
To download Zero Waste files and the Coalition paper: www.slideshare.net/indyact 
For information about the Coalition: www.zerowastelebanon.org 
For more information: Ali Fakhry – Communication Director – IndyACT
Tel: 71-421593, E-mail: comms@indyact.org 

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