Greenpeace condemns incinerator plans for Lebanon
By Barry Healy
Greenpeace's Mediterranean office has condemned plans to build a waste incinerator in southern Lebanon.
Lebanese officials have confirmed a that an unidentified German company is proposing to build a waste dump and an incinerator near the southern town of Bint Jbeil. The plan was discussed during a recent meeting between President Nabih Berri, environment minister Akram Shuhayeb and officials from Berri's Amal movement in the south.
"Greenpeace urges Mr Berri to veto the plan to pollute the area with a waste incinerator", said Zrarieh Fouad Hamdan, Lebanon campaigner with Greenpeace Mediterranean. "The solution to the waste crisis all over the country is waste reduction, separation at source and recycling."
Even under ideal conditions, incinerators emit toxic heavy metals like mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. Whenever chlorinated plastics like PVC are burned, dioxins, furans and other toxic organochlorines are emitted.
Cancer, birth defects, reproductive dysfunction, neurological damage and other health effects are known to occur even at very low exposures to these emissions.
Incinerators require landfills as well because of the hazardous ash they produce. The toxic substances reappear in the form of leachate, a concentrated toxic fluid that will eventually leak from landfills.
Greenpeace fears that not only household garbage, but also toxic waste from industry and hazardous waste from hospitals could find its way into the planned incinerator.