A European Union-funded waste treatment plant opened Friday in the south Lebanon village of Kfour, in the Nabatieh district, part of ongoing efforts to help Lebanon deal with its crippling trash crisis. The 10,000-square-meter plant took 12 months to build.
“It took around six months for the equipment to be installed,” said Charbel Bou Chalhoub, executive manager of Bou Chalhoub Industries and Trading, the company that equipped the plant. “They are distributed between the sorting area and the composting area.”
Some of the equipment was imported, he explained, but most was manufactured in Lebanon. The plant includes a machine to mix compost aerobically, shredding it for organic agriculture use.
“All the production lines are Lebanese; the line [will] start with a capacity of 15 tons per hour.”
Minister of State for Administrative Development Nabil de Freij, EU Ambassador to Lebanon Christina Lassen, and Shqif-Nabatieh Municipality Union head Mohammad Jaber were present at the opening.
The plant sorts and treats up to 200 tons per day, said Samir Ghosn, from the operating firm, Lavajet.
“We carried out several experimental operations and we can treat 200 tons per day, and the production capacity can reach 300 tons,” Ghosn explained.
Towns in the Shqif-Nabatieh Municipality Union, which includes 26 municipalities, produce between 150 and 200 tons of waste per day, he added. The plant will employ between 50 and 70 workers.
De Freij praised the opening of the facility, expressing his appreciation for the support provided by the European Union. “We hope, through operating this plant, to continue solving the chronic trash crisis that several Lebanese areas are suffering from, including Nabatieh,” he said.
Lebanon has been overwhelmed by a waste-management crisis ever since the government shut the Naameh landfill last July.
De Freij explained that the Kfour plant is the second project of its kind, following a similar initiative in Baalbek, and said that work at the facility would continue.
“The second project funded by the EU near this plant will be the establishment of a landfill [for the byproducts] in a safe way and not a haphazard one.”
Despite these efforts, De Freij said the garbage crisis will not be solved until trash is sorted at the source.
Lassen highlighted the EU’s longstanding efforts to help boost Lebanon’s capabilities in the field. “The EU has been working to improve the waste management sector in Lebanon for more than 10 years,” Lassen explained.
“Together with our previous projects and the ones we now starting to implement, the EU will have supported projects covering more than 43 percent of solid waste in Lebanon.”