The Lebanese population is fed up of witnessing solid domestic waste on the streets of Beirut. They are also amazed to see that their capital, previously called Suisse d’Orient, is the only city in the Middle East where the solid domestic waste is such an issue.
This unsolved problem made every citizen think of a solution. So as usual in Lebanon, the problem ownership moved from the government to the citizen. As usual, there is a leader who dares to try a solution: Bishmizzine village.
In summer 2015, Bishmizzine municipality collected the solid domestic waste and asked its citizens to sort their domestic waste in two plastic bags: black for organic waste and blue for recyclable waste. Day after day, week after week, the number of registered people willing to participate and support this initiative started to increase and reached 90% of the residencies after one year.
The organic waste in the black bags will be emptied and dumped in a hole in an uncultivated land; with time this waste will turn to compost for the benefit of the land owner. As for the recyclable waste in blue bags, the municipality rented a barn and coordinated with Dr. Fadi Joseph Gemayel, a leader and forerunner in the recycling industry in Lebanon.
Gemayel supported this initiative and helped in setting the scene for this process: a compactor and a conveyor were brought to the location where four unskilled young Lebanese people from Bishmizzine have been trained to operate this equipment.
The ball started rolling among the villages surrounding Bishmizzine and their local municipalities showed interest in cooperating, making Bishmizzine a hub for recycling domestic waste.
This initiative, solely funded by the municipality, got no support from the government. So, to keep on working, a financial breakeven point should be reached quickly. A minimum of three tons per day must be compacted and sold to those factories that use plastic and paper. To reach this volume of three tons per day, Bishmizzine municipality must acquire a pickup to secure recyclables from the villages.
This will then make it a success story.