Sunday, April 24, 2016

From Waste to Resource: The Swiss Experience in Lebanon

“From Waste to Resource” is a missing equation in  Baalbeck–Hermel district about which the Lebanese Organization for Studies and Training (LOST) held a seminar in Baalbeck. S├ębastien Bockel, a Swiss consultant in waste management,  gave a set of lectures to LOST staff, municipal members, and representatives from all over the region about waste management and environmental issues.
The lectures aim at capacity building in Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) sector, enhancing the key role of the Liaison and Development Office (LDO) created by LOST for the purpose of engaging municipalities in the development of its infrastructure, and thus empowering its descion making in projects and investments.

Since all municipalities in Baalbeck–Hermel dump waste unknowing its effects on the long term, it is important to notify that the cost of inappropriate waste management is much higher and pretty complicated compared to the cost of recycling and appropriate management. Mr. Bockel emphasized the importance of recycling  due to its direct influence on economy, health, and preservation of limited resources.
The environmental engineer alerted about the greenhouse gas effect resulting from the current landfills in our area. He advised the attendants to adopt certain recycling and sorting methods not only to benefit the environment, but also to provide job opportunities. Recycling, according to Bockel, leads to an organized, managed, and controlled process on the waste management procedures and actions.  
How is the Swiss model relevant in Lebanon?

In the second day of the seminar, in which municipality mayors and members were attending , the Swiss expert gave a full demonstration on the types of waste, importance of sorting, and recycling effects. “Switzerland and Lebanon are two countries with many similarities,” he said. “Both are small-sized countries, with no specific underground resources, and they have been  historically lands of immigration with cosmopolitan populations form all cultures and religions,” he added.
He spoke at length on how we can turn waste to resources just from the idea of sorting waste like recyclabes and then selling to industries.
How can municipalities help?
Mr. Bockel emphasized the key role of the municipalities as a driving force in the process because they will have the chance to receive financial support from donors, develop a better infrastructure of  waste management, and prevent the upscaling of the current landfills in the region.
The municipalities welcomed the idea and proposed to launch awarness campaigns on the importance of sorting from the  source, in which the residents have major influence in the process.
LOST’s founder, Dr. Ramy Lakkis, emphasized that any action, major or minor, has to be issued from the municipalities. “The Swiss union of municapalities is ready to help, and there is a project in this regard,” he said. What is pending is finalizing the procedures and the municipalities’ preparations to adapt to the recycling program.
LOST, via its LDO, is working hard with its Swiss partners to establish a new developmental network that puts the local efforts together with the the international opportunities for the sake of a peaceful and stable society.

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