USAID Enhance Recyclable Waste Management in Koura

USAID Enhance Recyclable Waste Management in Koura

On April 3, 2024, USAID Lebanon’s Mission Director Julie Southfield and the Minister of Environment Dr. Nasser Yassine visited the Notre Dame University (NDU) North campus in Barsa and the Bechmizzine Material Recovery Facility in Koura to observe USAID’s support to both entities through the Community Support Program. This assistance, valued at $379,465 in U.S. funding, is significantly improving recyclable waste management for over 103,000 residents. Since October 2022, USAID’s assistance has enabled BMRF to recover more than 428 tons of recyclables, increased its collection capacity by 270%, and boosted its revenue by 40%, while also mitigating public health hazards by reducing toxic smoke from burning recyclables.

The visit started at the NDU campus in Barsa, featuring a tour of students’ “sorting-at-source” awareness activities, and concluded at the BMRF, where USAID’s Community Support Program completed the facility’s expansion in March 2024.

Reflecting on the initiative, USAID’s Mission Director to Lebanon stated: “USAID will continue to take ambitious action, in coordination with all of you, to encourage recyclables recovery as part of sound solid waste management and to achieve sustainable development results for people and the environment”. The Minister of Environment emphasized the importance of such interventions in fostering a circular recyclable waste management economy while addressing environmental risks, adding: “It aligns with the Ministry of Environment’s strategy to enhance sorting at source and recycling, as well as to promote decentralization and the role of municipalities in solid waste management.”

The USAID-funded Community Support Program, in partnership with the Municipality of Bechmizzine, came in response to the closure of the Adwa landfill in 2019 which led to waste accumulation, haphazard dumping, and garbage burning. The program is designed to deliver a sustainable recyclables recovery model for 18 villages in Koura district. This included rehabilitating the Bechmizzine Material Recovery Facility and equipping it with a backup generator and equipment to expand its capacity for receiving, processing, and selling recyclables. As a result, the, the facility has increased its collection scope from six to 18 villages in Koura, where it established recyclable collection points and provided 273 strategically placed recyclable bins/containers across neighborhoods.

The Community Support Program also engaged 144 youth volunteers to conduct intensive awareness campaigns across the 18 villages, promoting sustainable waste management practices and improved sorting-at-source awareness. So far, the campaigns have reached more than 13,000 individuals. This was complemented by a two-month sorting-at-source awareness campaign targeting 500 students at NDU North campus in Barsa.

Since 2020, CSP has implemented 10 solid waste management projects worth a total of $960,000 and benefitting more than 300,000 individuals residing in underserved communities across Lebanon’s North, South, and Beqaa regions.