The Delegation of the European Union and the Office of the Minister of State for Administrative Reform (OMSAR) launched today at the Grand Serail the EU-funded "Upgrading Solid Waste Management Capacities in Lebanon" programme (SWAM). SWAM is implemented by OMSAR.
The event was held under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers Saad Hariri, and in the presence of Minister of State for Administrative Reform Inaya Ezzeddine and Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union.
The SWAM programme aims at improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of solid waste management. The programme, which is funded by the EU with a 35 million euro grant, benefits the Unions of Municipalities of Baalbeck, Jib Jinnine, Zahle (Beqaa), Bint Jbeil, Nabatieh, Saida, Tyre (south Lebanon) Dinniyeh, Koura, Srar, Tripoli and Zgharta (north Lebanon). During the event, OMSAR signed memoranda of understanding with some of the beneficiary unions of municipalities on the implementation of the programme.
SWAM activities will include the construction or extension of sanitary landfills and solid waste treatment plants. It is expected that a population of 2.9 million in 430 municipalities will benefit from the programme. SWAM will also contribute to the processing of 2,145 tons/day of solid waste.
Ambassador Lassen said: "What is clear is that the solid waste crisis that we saw so clearly when trash over-flooded Beirut's streets two years ago is not yet over." She added: "This is why we were happy to see the Government put a strong focus on this issue in its Ministerial Declaration from early this year." Ambassador Lassen also said that "just as important, seen from our point of view, is the need to adopt the new law on solid waste management in Parliament."
The European Union's support to the waste management sector dates back to 2004. More than 89 million euros have been provided so far to the sector in infrastructure, equipment, but also technical assistance to the Ministry of Environment. Only last week, the European Union approved a new package worth 21 million euros for addressing municipal and health wastes in Beirut and Mount Lebanon. It is expected that in 2018, a new programme will be developed to support innovation, entrepreneurship and private sector development in the green economy, in particular renewable energies and wastes.