Waste Management: the Lebanese Case

Municipal solid waste is defined as a waste type consisting of everyday items that are discarded by the public.

Several options are available for the disposal of such types of waste (http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/waste-management-and-waste-disposal-methods.php):

  • Landfill: most popular method. It consists of collecting the disposed waste and burying it in assigned lands. The collected waste is treated to eliminate “the odors and dangers of waste before it is placed into the ground”.
  • Incineration / Combustion: also referred to as thermal treatment, when the disposed waste is burnt at high temperatures “to convert into residue and geaseous products”.
  • Recovery / Recycling: when disposed waste is separated and useful products such as carton, glass, plastic, etc… is reused to produce new products.
  • Plasma gasification: the use of plasma which is an “electrically charged or ionized gas” most commonly found in lighting. The plasma produces temperatures higher than 6,983˚C converting the solid or liquid gas into a syngas, a renewable energy.
  • Composting: the process of natural biodegradation of the disposed waste.
  • Avoidance / minimization: reduction of waste creation.
  • Waste to Energy: the process transforms the non – recyclable produce into useful sources for heat, electricity or fuel.

In a publication by the Ministry of environment in collaboration with the UNDP at the end of 2014, the municipal solid waste generated in 2010 was found to be 1.6 million tons and 2.0 million tons in 2013. By the end of 2014, the incremental yearly quantity of waste was equivalent to 324,568tones / year (http://www.lb.undp.org/content/dam/lebanon/docs/Energy%20and%20Environment/Publications/EASC-WEB.pdf).

On the other hand, a recent CEDRO publication referring to records from the Ministry of Energy and Water stated: “In 2009, the total production from thermal power plants was 88% for delivered energy […] energy not supplied (deficit) of 23% of demand” (http://cedro-undp.org/content/uploads/Publication/141229111001882~Energysecurity-thelebanesecaser2.pdf).

Waste to Energy (WtE) is now an available and well-known procedure to treat a very wide range of waste, a heterogeneous material, consisting essentially of organic substances, minerals, metals and water. The intention of waste incineration is to treat wastes so as to reduce their volume and hazard, destroying potentially harmful substances that are, or may be, released during incineration. The target of thermal treatment is to provide an overall environmental impact reduction that might arise from the waste.

The majority of the energy produced during combustion is transferred to the flue-gases which are collected into a recovery boiler, in order to produce superheated steam that is inputted in a steam turbine power generator.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, waste-to-energy plants produce electricity with “less environmental impact than almost any other source of electricity.” Clearly, today’s waste-to-energy plants are nothing like those old, polluting incinerators of the past.


Launching of the Green Roof at the Central Bank main branch in Hamra

Green Roof


Nearly 90% of the Lebanese population resides in cities across the country, with 0.8 square meter per person of green spaces available. The world health organization, however, recommends a minimum of 9 square meter of green space per person, and it is acknowledged that a city at an ideal standard would have between 10 – 15m² of green space per person.   Green spaces have positive effect on people; they provide a great way to escape the stresses of day-to-day life, constitute a buffer to the surrounding noises and pollution, and increase value of real estate in surrounding areas

Since we must strive to increase the areas of green space in Beirut and other cities in Lebanon, green roofs provide a supporting action that can be taken to beautify our city in places where green parks can no longer be constructed.

By definition, a green roof is a roof space covered by vegetation that enhances both aesthetics and energy performance of the building, hence increasing the share of green spaces. In addition, green roofs are considered as insulating components reducing energy consumption by 10% due to their layers (soil, plants and water). They absorb the heat and hence reduce the need for conditioning in the space right beneath it, and to lower floors albeit to a lowered extent. On the environmental aspect, green roofs help reduce CO2 emissions through the lowering of conditioning demand.

An 834 square meter Green Roof at the Central bank main branch in Hamra was completed as a joint collaboration between the UNDP – CEDRO project and Banque Du Liban (BDL). This project is one of the first of its kind in Lebanon and the region, and serves as a model project that will, hopefully, be adopted by the public and private sectors, and encouraged.

The pilot green roof initiative was funded by both BDL and UNDP.  The UNDP contribution is funded by the Government of Spain through the Lebanon Recovery Fund that supports the CEDRO project. The roof was designed by a local company supported by international experts.  It has a growing media consistent of: peat, sand, gravel, old rubber tires, rockwool, perlite or vermiculite and monitored by sensors connected to a control room, measuring water and nutrients level. While phase 1 features a horizontal cover with native species showcasing patterns in their different colors, heights and blooming season, phase 2 emphasizes on the verticality of the elements with three European olive trees. The plant selection stressed on different blooming seasons, to guarantee a continuous flourished roof.

Solar Photovoltaic Electricity at Home!


Exactly 2,716 households across Lebanon have received a brochure entitled “Solar Photovoltaic Electricity for your house” that encourages the general Lebanese public to opt for clean energy decisions at their home or place of business, as the decision will have the dual benefits of saving money in the medium term and assisting in protecting our environment for the current and future generations.

The brochure was published by the UNDP-CEDRO project and the Lebanese Center for Energy Conservation (LCEC) and is available for collection at the CEDRO and LCEC offices, as well as online on CEDRO’s website.

The initiative comes in a series of cooperation between the Ministry of Energy and Water and the United Nations Development Programme, in their endeavor to support and promote renewable energy systems.

Lebanon indeed needs to quickly reduce its dependence on costly, imported fuel and start shifting towards a more sustainable energy system. Such a change starts with actions at the individual level.


For information on residential solar systems, visit the following:

Solar Photovoltaic Electricity for Your House



In a successful joint study, the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW) and the UNDP reveal that bioenergy from waste water sludge could account for 3-4% of the national bioenergy potential identified in the Bioenergy Strategy Plan published by CEDRO in 2012.

Five waste water treatment plants (WWTP) in Sour, Aabde, Sarafand, Saida, and Majdal Anjar meet the conditions required for the implementation of a sludge Anaerobic Digester.

The total primary energy expected from these plants is estimated at 143,000 MWh, for an installed electrical power of 5.9 MW.

The report also shows that the addition of sludge from nearby small to medium WWTP and co-substrates allows an average increase of 70% in energy production compared to the digestion of sludge only, and results in an installed electrical power of 11.6 MW for an estimated total primary energy of 237,700 MWh.

Altogether, these projects allow the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 35,000 tons of CO2 equivalent per annum.


Find the complete study on: http://www.cedro-undp.org/en/RENEWABLE-ENERGY-STUDIES/Energy-from-wastewater-treatment-plants



A study commissioned by the UNDP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Water (MEW), has identified 13 sites with a potential production capacity of 5MW of hydropower. The technical and economic aspects of alternative water systems have been assessed for their potential hydropower generation: Irrigation systems, drinking water systems, electrical power plant outfall pipes, and waste water treatment plants.

The largest and most efficient source of non-river hydropower generation is power plants located along the Lebanese coasts which extract sea water for cooling requirements. About 3.4 MW of energy can be generated from water dumped back into the Mediterranean. The main advantage of this power source over other natural sources of hydropower is that the turbines can operate at a capacity factor of more than 80% because they will be generating energy as long as the power plant is operational. These turbines can be installed during the potential rehabilitations of coastal power plants.

Several irrigation channels have been identified as having a cumulative hydropower generation capacity of 1.27 MW. These sites use pipelines in which pressure builds up to produce energy. Hydropower could also be potentially generated in irrigation channels where there is a significant pressure variation at different levels of the water conveying system. Under this scenario, hydropower production can be continuous during or even outside the irrigation period if the channel can be used and the required flow is available. For the moment, however, the survey has been unable to identify such a site in Lebanon.

Drinking water systems across Lebanon have a power-generation capacity of 408 kW. Distribution pipelines lose some of their hydraulic potential due to the high friction caused by a high flow of water going through relatively narrow pipes. Although this property works as a pressure breaker for high-altitude head water sources, it reduces hydropower generation.

Although waste water treatment plants have been found not to have significant potential for hydro-power generation, they may be subject to substantial energy-efficiency measures. Some of them are still under construction or review, which gives the opportunity to carry out further investigation into their hydropower-generation potential and to do the necessary adjustments to their design in order to integrate the proposed hydropower plants.

In its conclusion, the study recommends improved data management and filing. The hydropower potential the survey was able to identify is only the tip of the iceberg. CEDRO believes that much more potential can be found in water networks and irrigation channels in particular if a more robust data and information system covering a comprehensive list of parameters on water flow, pipeline design and locations, and so forth, can be put in place.

To read the complete study, kindly visit: http://www.cedro-undp.org/en/RENEWABLE-ENERGY-STUDIES/Hydropower

The Big Opening: Solar-Powered Batroun Port

After months of work, CEDRO-UNDP is happy to be commissioning the newly Solar-Powered LED lighting on Batroun Port THIS SUNDAY Oct 13 at 6:30pm  BE THERE!

After months of work and in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy & Water, we’re happy to be commissioning the newly Solar-Powered LED lighting on Batroun Port THIS SUNDAY Oct 13 at 6:30pm!