BEIRUT: Environment Minister Mohammad Machnouk Monday called for the protection of natural resources in tandem with industrial development plans.
Machnouk made the remarks during a committee meeting he chaired for the Environmental and Social Assessment of the Lebanon Pollution Abatement Project. The meeting was attended by representatives of the World Bank and the Italian Embassy, who are funding the project, as well as officials from the relevant ministries.
“This project, which the Environment Ministry has worked hard to plan for four years, wouldn’t have seen light if not for the support of all the organizations and associations that are here today,” Machnouk said, addressing the participants of the committee meeting.
“This project is one of environmental risk management,” he said of the scheme. “Whether it relates to dealing with the products of registered industrial companies, or managing solid waste or water scarcity.”
“This committee was formed to guide the general policies of the project, which aims to fight environmental pollution and secure coordination among the relevant ministries and organizations overseeing the work process,” he explained.
“In Lebanon, we are familiar with the European approach to environmentalism. In Europe, the environment ministry is the mother of all ministries and has the last word. Dealing with the environment doesn’t end at the doorstep to our homes, we have to accommodate industrial development with the protection of natural resources,” Machnouk said.
Machnouk also touched on the country’s waste management woes, namely the Naameh landfill.
“We have 736 random landfills and we have the Naameh landfill. We seek to devise a plan along with the ministerial committee that was formed by the Cabinet to regulate matters once the landfill is closed, for its closure will not solve the problem. The question is, where will the solid waste accumulated from the households go?” Machnouk said.