Industrial-waste management in developing countries: The case of Lebanon

Industrial-waste management in developing countries: The case of Lebanon

Journal of Environmental Management (2001) 61, 281–300 doi:10.1006/jema.2000.0413, available online at on Industrial-waste...

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Journal of Environmental Management (2001) 61, 281–300 doi:10.1006/jema.2000.0413, available online at on

Industrial-waste management in developing countries: The case of Lebanon M. El-Fadel*† , M. Zeinati† , K. El-Jisr† and D. Jamali‡

This paper presents a critical assessment of the existing Lebanese industrial sector, namely the current status and classification of industrial establishments based on a comparative synthesis and analysis of recent nationwide surveys and studies pertaining to industrial-waste management. Characterisation of solid and liquid industrial wastes generated, including hazardous wastes, is presented together with current and projected waste loads, recycling opportunities, and export/import practices. Institutional capacity and needs pertaining to the enforcement of relevant environmental legislation, staffing and resources, monitoring schemes, and public participation are critically evaluated. Finally, realistic options for industrial-waste management in the context of country-specific institutional economic and technical limitations are outlined. The industrial sector in Lebanon consists of small-scale industries (84% employ less than 10 persons), primarily involved in light manufacturing (96%). These industries which are distributed among 41 ill-defined zones and deficient in appropriate physical infrastructure, generate solid, liquid, and hazardous waste estimated at 346 730 tons/year, 20 169 600 m3 /year and between 3000 to 15 000 tons/year, respectively. Although the growth of this sector contributes significantly to the socio-economic development of the country (industry accounts for 17% of the gross domestic product), in the absence of a comprehensive environmental management plan, this expansion may not be sustained into the coming millennium. The anticipated expansion will inevitably amplify adverse environmental impacts associated with industrial activities due to rising waste volumes and improper waste handling and disposal practices. These impacts are further aggravated by a deficient institutional framework, a lack of adequate environmental laws, and lax enforcement of regulations governing industrial-waste management.  2001 Academic Press

Keywords: industrial/hazardous-waste management, institutional framework, developing countries, Lebanon.

Introduction In the last decade the global economy has undergone radical changes which have had significant implications for the future development and operation of industrial establishments, particularly in developing countries. These changes include the move from centrally planned economies into market economies, the establishment of large economic blocks, liberalisation of international trade and rapid advances in the fields of science and technology. These are further exemplified through the introduction of the ISO 14 000 standards for environmental control Email of corresponding author: [email protected] 0301–4797/01/040281C20 $35.00/0

as well as other total quality management control measures (ESCWA, 1996; UNIDO, 1997). Furthermore, industrial reform policies, in developing economies, tend to emphasise accelerated industrialisation (UNIDO, 1995b). The driving force behind this trend is the realisation that greater socio-economic development including enhanced employment opportunities, higher incomes, and better standards of living can best be attained through rapid industrial expansion (UNIDO, 1995a). In response to global changes, many countries, especially developing economies, initiated industrial restructuring programs to promote the private manufacturing sector. While new policies are being adopted and

* Corresponding author † Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, American University of Beirut, Bliss Street, P.O. Box 11-0236, Beirut, Lebanon ‡ Department of Social and Public Policy, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK Received 17 November 1999; accepted 8 December 2000  2001 Academic Press


M. El-Fadel et al.

implemented by governments around the world to face the challenges of the new international environment, many countries have yet to introduce changes of this sort. Lebanon experienced nearly 2 decades of civil unrest (1975–1990), during which most of the country’s physical infrastructure was severely damaged, especially electricity and transmission lines, road networks, telecommunications facilities and water supply and sewerage. Post-war reconstruction and development projects have focused on rehabilitating and upgrading basic physical infrastructure and enhancing the performance of national strategic sectors. Reconstruction efforts were mainly financed through regional and international loans and grants in addition to foreign investment on a build operate transfer (BOT) basis. The industrial sector was of course one of the beneficiaries, and its recovery has been remarkable as evidenced by the fact that 30% of existing industrial units were established between 1990 and 1994 (MoIP, 1994). This trend is indicative of the vitality and resilience of this economic sector, which is expected to continue to exhibit a strong future growth. However, this initial recovery remains shaky in view of national constraints and regional instability. Indeed, the Lebanese industrial sector still suffers from inadequate planning, deficient physical infrastructure in certain areas—particularly industrial zoning—and the absence of a comprehensive outlook concerning industrialwaste management. Current undertakings in waste handling have mainly been directed towards improving and upgrading municipal solid-waste management. The constraints faced in the collection, treatment and disposal of other waste types in addition to legislative and institutional deficiencies remain issues of concern (Tebodin, 1998b). This paper evaluates the existing conditions of the industrial sector in Lebanon with emphasis on various classifications of industrial establishments. Characterisation of solid and liquid industrial/hazardous wastes is presented together with current and projected waste loads. Institutional capacity and needs pertaining to the enforcement of relevant environmental legislation, staffing and training programs and monitoring schemes are critically evaluated. Finally, management options are evaluated taking

into consideration country-specific institutional, economic and technical limitations.

Sources of information Several nationwide surveys and studies pertaining to industrial and hazardous waste management in Lebanon have been conducted since 1990. A list of these surveys and studies with a synopsis of their principal objectives and scope of work is presented in Table 1. The first post-war nationwide industrial census (as outlined in Table 1) was completed in 1995 and was divided into two phases. The objective of the first phase, conducted in 1994, was to collect baseline data on the total number of existing industrial establishments, their geographical localization, the number of salaried employees, their juridical form and nationality (MoIP, 1994). The second phase focused on data related to production volume, employment, workforce salaries, added value, investments and stocks (MoIP, 1995). Later studies relied on this census to characterise and estimate waste generation quantities and volumes (ERM, 1995a; Dar Al-Handasah, 1996, 1997; Tebodin, 1998a,b). In 1996, the existing legal framework pertaining to the classification of industries was reviewed, and an improved framework was developed on the basis of environmental and health zoning categories (IDAL/FUGRO, 1996). However, this framework has not been implemented to date. A recent characterisation and assessment of the Lebanese coastal zone area included an evaluation section on industrial impacts on this zone (ECODIT-IAURIF, 1997). Also a national industrial waste-management plan was proposed in 1997 covering a wide range of topics related to the industrial sector including, identification of existing sources, quantities, and volumes of various types of industrial waste through site visits; estimation of current and projected waste loads; assessment of industry-related institutional structures and methods for improving their capabilities (training and staffing requirements); drafting monitoring plans, and outlining the legal and social implications of the proposed management plan (Dar Al-Handasah, 1996, 1997).

Industrial-waste management in developing countries Table 1.

Summary of recent industrial and hazardous-waste management surveys and studies in Lebanon


Principal study objective/Scope of work

MoIP (1994)

First nation wide census of Lebanese industry since 1970. Its objective was to determine the total number of existing industrial establishments, their geographical localization, number of salaried employees, their juridical form and nationality

MoIP (1995)

Collect data on: production volume, employment, workforce salaries, added value, investments and stocks

ERM (1995a)

Assess the state of the environment including a section covering industrial activities and estimates of industrial-waste types and generation rate

Dar Al-Handasah (1996)

Collect data for a national industrial-waste-management plan Identify existing sources of industrial-waste through site visits Characterize industrial-waste types, quantities and volumes through a nationwide sampling of industrial companies Propose a national monitoring plan for waste discharge Identify institutional structures related to industry and propose methods for improving their capabilities


Update and improve the existing legal industrial classification framework

Dar Al-Handasah (1997)

Propose a national industrial-waste-management plan Estimate current and projected waste loads Estimate incurred costs Define staff training and qualification requirements of responsible authorities Identify legal and social implications of proposed management plan


Assess environmental impacts along the Lebanese coast, including industrial zones Provide recommendations for sustainable development of the coastal zone by providing a basis for a future comprehensive coastal zone management plan Propose a national plan for the collection of used oils Recommend collection methods and treatment options Define socio-economic and environmental impacts of proposed plan

ETEC (1998)

ERM and Issa Consulting (1998)

Develop a strategy for the introduction and implementation of a national hospital-waste-management plan including design of treatment/disposal facilities and transport routes, and assessment of environmental impacts of proposed sites

Tebodin (1998a)

Identify major industrial pollutants nationwide through site visits to several industries in six industrial zones selected by the Ministry of Environment Estimate industrial emissions into the atmosphere, water bodies and the generation of hazardous solid wastes through the use of the World Bank’s Decision Support System (DSS) for Integrated Pollution Control (IPC)

Tebodin (1998b)

Estimate current and future industrial and hazardous waste volumes Identify treatment and disposal options Evaluate institutional structures and legislation related to industry and present methods for improving their capabilities Propose strategies for a national industrial and hazardous-wastemanagement scheme



M. El-Fadel et al.

The most recent study identified treatment and disposal options for hazardous waste, including cost estimates, proper monitoring instruments, and an outline of an updated legislative and institutional framework (Tebodin, 1998a,b). Note that hospital risk waste (ERM and Issa Consulting, 1998) and waste oil (ETEC, 1998) assessment studies were conducted separately. Despite occasional shortcomings in the published data, the information provided in these surveys and studies provide the basis for designing and implementing a sound industrial-wastemanagement plan. The studies and surveys were conducted following various methodologies including: (1) census of country-wide industrial establishments to gather basic background data; (2) distribution of standardised questionnaires, primarily to establishments with a relatively large workforce (producing the majority of the waste stream) to gather data pertaining to waste-management practices. Note that the samples were selected to be representative of different industry types and proportional to the distribution of industries across counties; (3) site reconnaissance visits and inspections of selected industries to verify waste-management practices and validate estimates. Establishments were selected from a list compiled by the Ministry of Environment (MoE) or perceived to be the major contributors of industrial-hazardouswaste generation based on responses to questionnaires; (4) interviews with managers of industrial establishments to assess wastemanagement practices; (5) sampling, testing, and analysis of selected waste sources, wastewater effluents, and gaseous emissions at a limited number of industrial establishments that were anticipated to produce hazardous materials; (6) application of the World Bank’s Decision Support System for Integrated Pollution Control (DSS IPC) to estimate industrial/hazardous-waste generation and release into the atmosphere and water bodies.

Characterisation of the industrial sector The industrial sector in Lebanon is characterised by small-scale establishments mainly

involved in manufacturing (96%) (MoIP, 1994). The 1994–1995 national industrial census identified more than 22 100 operational industrial establishments, employing approximately 145 000 workers. The census did not cover publicly owned industries including, those involved in power generation and distribution, storage of petroleum products, potable water treatment and supply, telecommunications, and ports. The establishments surveyed varied in size, from small backyard industrial companies employing less than five persons1 to larger labour intensive industries employing more than 250 workers2 (MoIP, 1994, 1995). These industries are distributed amongst 41 zones within six counties (IDAL/FUGRO, 1996) (Figure 1), and are generally clustered around major cities and towns. Heavy primary industries are virtually absent from the Lebanese industrial scene. Large-scale industries, characterised by a large work force and output, include the cement plants, fertilizer factories and sugar refineries. Other important segments of the industry sector include food products and beverages (20Ð2%), furniture (16Ð3%), fabricated metal products (13Ð9%), wearing apparels and furs (13Ð6%), non-metallic mineral products (7Ð6%), and wood products (6Ð6%) (Figure 2). Industrial establishments fall under one of 24 subcategories based on the International Standard Industrial Code (ISIC). The large number of small-scale industrial companies can be primarily attributed to the preference of skilled labor to establish their own low capital costs businesses due to the low wage scale in the country (Dar Al Handasah, 1996). Note that approximately 65% of the industrial establishments are single ownership type (personal enterprises) with the remaining of a general partnership type (MoIP, 1994). It is evident from Figure 1 that the spatial distribution of industrial zones varies across counties with the counties of Mount Lebanon, Beirut and the North maintaining the highest number of industrial zones. The lower number in other counties can be attributed to 1 This category represents 68% of all existing industrial establishments, rising to nearly 84% when considering industrial companies employing less than 10 persons and together employ a total of 55Ð3% of the workforce. 2 This category represents only 0Ð2% of total industrial establishments, but employs 10Ð9% of the workforce.

Industrial-waste management in developing countries



Me dit err an ea nS


Lake Homs

777 458 487

367 292

North Lebanon

1797 1761 1331


8, 18

569 502

Bekka 5, 9.8

Mount Lebanon Beirut 636


24, 45

0, 12.6



300 270 338


382 215 41



Food products and beverages

Qaroun Lake

Furniture and other manufacture products

535 361 173 199


Wearing apparels, furs


Fabricated metal products, except machinery Other non-metallic mineral products


Wood and wood products

1, 5.4


South Lebanon

268 86 72



3, 9



10 Kilometers

Figure 1. Distribution of industrial zones in Lebanon. County border ( ), Industrial zones: class A ( ), ). Figures in boxes are (i) number of zones, (ii) percentage of industries. class B ( ), class C ( ), river (

their location near the southern international borders where political instability prevails. High industrial growth is expected in these areas with the onset of a Middle East peace agreement particularly that the counties of Beirut and Mount Lebanon are relatively saturated with limited land area left for future expansion. Note that no provisions were made to allow for the establishment of industrial zones in Beirut proper. This implies little room for development or even replacement of any of the currently existing industries in case of closure.

Classification of industries In Lebanon, there are 209 types of establishments classified into one of three classes (Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, 1994). However, a new classification system, utilising ISIC criteria, was recently proposed by the government (IDAL/FUGRO, 1996) to expand the existing classification system from three to five classes based on relative degrees of threat to the environment and potential local disturbance. The new classes



M. El-Fadel et al. Construction work Furniture and other goods Other transport equipment Motor vehicles and trailers Medical, optical, watches and clocks Radio and communication equipment Electrical machinery products Machinery and equipment Fabricated metal products Basic metals Other non-metallic minerals Rubber and plastic Chemicals and manmade fibers Coke and refined petroleum products Printed matter and recorded media Pulp and paper products Wood and wood products Leather products Wearing apparels Textiles Tobacco products Food and beverages Mining and quarrying Agriculture, hunting and forestry 0






Number of establishments

Figure 2. Distribution of industries sorted in accordance to the International Standard Industrial Code subcategory classification. Table 2. Current and proposed industrial classes Proposed ISIC based classification 1 2 3 4 5


Existing equivalent Lebanese classes

Serious threat to the environment and health Threat to the environment and health Limited threat to the environment and health Insignificant threat to the environment and health No threat to the environment and health (in general)

1 1 2 3 3

IDAL/FUGRO (1996).

range from ‘serious threat to the environment and health’ to ‘no threat’. Table 2 provides a comparative equivalency between the newly proposed ISIC classification system and the existing classes. Note that based on the ISIC classification, only two types of Lebanese industries would be classified as Class 1, namely refined petroleum products, and pesticides or other agro-chemical products (IDAL/FUGRO, 1996). Based on the above classes, an evaluation system of industrial areas was developed consisting of four areas denoted A-Area, Barea and C-area and Buffer Zones (Figure 1). The criteria used for evaluation included environmental, geographical, planning and economical aspects. Each area is reserved for a given industrial class (Table 3). The fourth area consists of buffer zones and is located within A, B and C areas and around residential areas. In some cases, more than one class of industry may exist

in the same industrial area. For instance, A-Areas are reserved for class 1 industries, however, class 2 industries may be allowed in these areas if class 1 industries do not completely occupy the available space. The drawback is that this may hinder future expansion of industry classes that were originally designated for the area. The majority of the industrial areas fall under the C-Area class, which consists primarily of Class 3 industries that pose limited threats to the environment and health (Figure 3). Based on industrial zone classification only one zone was classified as A-Area (Figure 1).

Current and projected industrial waste loads Estimates of industrial liquid effluents and solid-waste loads are presented in the

Industrial-waste management in developing countries Table 3.

Proposed industrial area classification

Class A-Area

B-Area C-Area

Buffer Zones

Description Reserved for Class 1 industries which can cause serious threat to the environment and/or serious disturbance to their surroundings. Class 2 industries may be allowed in these areas if Class 1 industries cannot fill up the area Reserved for Class 2 industries which can cause threat to the environment or which can cause disturbance to their surroundings. Class 3 industries may be allowed in these areas if Class 2 industries do not fill up the area Reserved for Class 3 industries which can cause no, or almost no, threat to the environment or disturbance to its surroundings. In these areas Class 2 industries can be allowed if they are presently operating in the area. New Class 2 industries must be located in A or B-Areas These buffer zones are located within A, B and C-Areas and around residential areas or other sensitive locations

IDAL/FUGRO (1996).

C-area 67%

B-area 31% A-area 2%

Figure 3. to class.

Distribution of industrial areas according

following section together with projections up to the year 2020. Hazardous-waste projections are estimated separately.

Non-hazardous solid industrial waste In the absence of waste generation and production statistics, the amount of solid waste generated was estimated using waste multipliers based on employment statistics. A mean generation rate of 8 kg of industrial waste per employee per day was used for all types of industrial facilities except for textiles and wearing apparels, for which a generation rate of 2 kg per employee per day was adopted

(Dar Al-Handasah, 1997). In contrast, industrial waste multipliers in several European countries (Williams, 1998) range between two to four times those used for Lebanon. Note that waste-generation multipliers will vary depending on the type of industry, variations in manufacturing processes, and economies of scale (Rhyner and Green, 1998). Future industrial solid waste loads were projected assuming an industrial growth rate of 8% up to year 2000 and 5% for the period 2001–2020 (Table 4). Other important assumptions include: (1) industrial employment will reach 350 000 by the year 2020; (2) no new industries would be permitted within the City of Beirut; and (3) half of the new industries would be located in Mount Lebanon. Note that the assumption that future industrial-waste quantities increase linearly with the degree of industrialisation tends to overestimate future waste production. It is reasonable to assume that the projected quantities of waste produced may be significantly reduced with the introduction of new technology, waste minimisation schemes and initiation of recycling and reuse of industrialwaste material. However, a quantification of this reduction is not possible in the absence of relevant historical trends.

Non-hazardous liquid industrial waste In determining industrial wastewater flows, it was assumed that each employee contributes 300 l/day to the total flow (Dar



M. El-Fadel et al. Table 4.

Industrial solid waste loads


Regional share of industrial employment

Industrial solid waste generated (kg/day)a 1994


Beirut Bekaa Mount Lebanon Nabatiyeh North Lebanon South Lebanon

0Ð121 0Ð065 0Ð602 0Ð025 0Ð129 0Ð058

110 073 69 693 644 152 27 262 137 848 61 662

110 073 883 883 2 167 341 46 847 720 756 162 010

Total for entire country


1 050 690

4 090 909

Dar Al-Handasah (1997). a Generation rate of 8 kg of industrial waste per employee per day except for textiles and wearing apparels, for which a generation rate of 2 kg per employee per day was adopted.

Al-Handasah, 1997). Since actual wastewater flow arising from industrial activities is not directly proportional to the number of employees, existing and future wastewater loads were estimated based on derived water consumption rates for every industrial establishment, accounting for their size and type. Three size categories were used for this paper: Industry Light Medium Heavy

Number of employees <10 10–100 >100

Since a significant number of industries adopt dry processes, generating minimal quantities of liquid waste, the estimation of industrial wastewater loads considered only the proportion of the industries in each sector that do generate liquid waste. Overall, the industrial wastewater flow for the entire country was reported to constitute 12% of the total estimated wastewater generated from domestic and commercial activities. This contribution varies significantly according to county, due to varying densities of industrial zones. Hence, the contribution of industrial wastewater to total wastewater in 1994 ranged between 3%, for the county of Beirut and Nabatieh, to 21% in Mount Lebanon. In 2020, this contribution is expected to range between 1%, in Beirut, to 23% in the Bekaa (Table 5). These projections are based on similar assumptions governing non-hazardous industrial solid-waste generation rates. Determining the contribution of industrial wastewater to the total wastewater stream is critical for

the selection of an adequate and cost effective treatment and disposal method. If co-disposal following pretreatment at the source is the recommended option for industrial wastewater management, then industrial wastewater must not exceed 15–20% of the total to ensure proper performance of treatment facilities (Dar Al-Handasah, 1997). The volumes of solid and liquid waste estimated above are not purely industrial in nature since the waste generation rate per worker per day (2–8 kg or 300 l for solid or liquid waste) includes waste categories similar to municipal solid waste (MSW) such as plastics, paper and cardboard, and glass. These projections are, however, valuable for estimating the contribution of industries to total waste volumes. An alternative method to estimate waste volumes relies on chemical and physical characteristics distinct from MSW (Tebodin, 1998b). In this context, industrial-waste categories were identified as a function of the generation source or type of industry. Only four waste categories were proposed and they include hazardous waste, nonhazardous and/or recyclable waste, construction and demolition waste and putrescent waste. Derived volumes for each source and type of waste were partly based on site visits and questionnaires, and partly using existing data from recent surveys (Tebodin, 1998a). The overall distribution of industrial waste volumes using this method is presented in Table 6. An estimated 188 850 tons of medium to high impact waste are generated in Lebanon each year. This is significantly less than the total ‘mixed’ industrial waste

Industrial-waste management in developing countries Table 5.

Industrial wastewater loads




Wastewater generated .m3 /d/

Industrial wastewater (percent of total)

Wastewater generated .m3 /d/

Industrial wastewater (percent of total)

Beirut Bekaa Mount Lebanon Nabatieh North Lebanon South Lebanon

2754 5279 43 914 698 6084 2391

3 10 21 3 6 6

2754 422 159 107 584 1479 34 378 3269

1 23 17 2 11 3

Totals for entire country

61 120


191 623


Dar Al-Handasah (1997).

Table 6.

Current (1998) industrial waste-generation estimates

Category Hazardous waste

Non-hazardous waste or recyclable waste

Construction and demolition waste Putrescent waste

Total Tebodin (1998b).

Source/type Pesticides manufacturing

Quantity (ton/year) 326

Industrial waste containing heavy metals


Industrial oily waste


Industrial paints, resins, dyes, adhesive residues


Polychlorinated biphenols Tanneries

40 250

Various process waste with heavy metal contents below hazardous waste limits Sludge from asbestos/cement manufacture Used lubricating oils End of life vehicles End of life vehicles


Industrial mixed waste (non-process related) Car tires Ceramic industry (tiles, flags), cement industry Food and beverage manufacturing Slaughterhouses

2400 10 000 6300 700

Remarks Mainly packaging waste and sludge contaminated with pesticides From waste paper recycling, printing, ceramics industry (pigments), metal galvanizing, non-ferro metal recycling Residues from waste oil recycling, oily sludge, residues from solvents recycling Mainly from paint, and wooden and metal products manufacturing Hazardous due to chromium content Scrap leather, wood and paper waste, waste from textile, printing and ferro-metal industry Dumped at private landfills

Recyclable parts Non-recyclables, this can be hazardous waste, depending on the type of car dismantling

20 000 14 000 73 000

17 820 40 000 188 850

Around 71 000 tons/year of this waste is dumped at private landfills (cement industry)


M. El-Fadel et al.

When GDP values are correlated to the industrial status of a country, it is suggested that hazardous waste generation would be in the order of 1000 tons per billion US$ GDP in developing countries; 2000 tons in newly industrialized countries; and approximately 5000 tons in countries with developed industries (World Bank, 1989). An inter-country comparison of hazardous waste generation to GDP within the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is presented in Figure 4. For Lebanon, using US$ 10 billion GDP in 1996 (EIU, 1996), corresponding hazardous waste would be in the order of 10 000 to 20 000 tons per year, the equivalent of 2Ð9 to 5Ð8% of total industrial solid waste. The percent range of estimated hazardous waste produced is comparable to some OECD countries based on numbers reported by Petts and Eduljee (1994). An average of 15 000 tons was adopted to promote a broad estimate of the amount of hazardous waste generated. This value was projected over the next 20 years using the same industrial growth rates previously defined to estimate industrial/hazardous solid-waste generation. The resulting trend in hazardous-waste generation in Lebanon using the GDP approach is shown in Figure 5. The estimates in Figure 5 assume that industrial growth is proportional to industrialisation. This can be justified only for the short-term because the market for manufactured products in developing countries results in continuous economic growth

volume, estimated at 347 000 tons per year (Table 4). This difference provides some indication on the relative volumes of low to high-impact industrial wastes (including hazardous wastes) and the uncertainties in estimating accurate waste-generation quantities.

Hazardous waste Accurate statistics on the quantities and types of hazardous wastes produced in Lebanon are difficult to obtain. Reliable methods for estimating quantities generated are non-existent, except through comprehensive field surveys. In order to estimate the current and forthcoming volumes of hazardous industrial waste, a tentative list of potentially hazardous industrial wastes generated was compiled by Tebodin (1998a). The list included asbestos, acids, alkalis, organic solvents, waste oils and tannery wastes. Annex III of the Basel Convention (UNEP, 1999) specifies 14 different properties which render a material potentially hazardous; however, the most frequently reported and used characteristics in practice are explosivity, flammability, corrosivity and reactivity (La Grega et al., 1994). In the absence of a clear national definition and primary data, hazardous waste generation in Lebanon was estimated using three different methods: ž Country Gross Domestic Product (GDP); ž Employment statistics; ž DSS IPC model. 10


8 6 4










New Zealand

















Generation GDP (kg/US $1000)


Figure 4. Inter-country comparisons of hazardous-waste generation within the OECD (Yakowitz, 1993). The USA estimate includes large quantities of dilute wastewater not reported in other OECD countries.

Hazardous waste (1000 × tons per year)

Industrial-waste management in developing countries 80 000 58 500

60 000 45 800

40 000

35 900 28 100

20 000 0

15 000

22 040

1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2020 Year

Figure 5. Hazardous-waste generation based on the GDP approach.

at elevated rates compared to developed nations. Note that the highest industrialgrowth rates are observed in companies that were the most pollution intensive (ESCAP, 1994). In the long term such a rate is expected to diminish particularly as waste minimisation strategies are adopted. As an alternative, hazardous waste generation can be estimated using employment statistics (Dar Al-Handasah, 1997). This approach yields an estimate of approximately 16 900 tons of hazardous industrial waste, which is consistent with the value obtained using the GDP approximation. Current and future estimates for seven hazardous waste types based on existing industry types and employment data are presented in Figure 6. Finally, the DSS IPC model (World Bank, 1998) was applied using a sample of 200

industries which produce significant quantities of industrial wastes (Tebodin, 1998b). The resulting volume of hazardous waste was estimated at less than 3000 tons per year (Table 7). This assessment, however, reflects only sources that can be collected and handled separately, leading to an amount that is significantly less than that estimated through the previous two approaches. At present, there are no provisions for the separate collection of special waste arising from households. As a consequence, this waste will be mixed with other municipal waste and disposed of in municipal sanitary landfills. With respect to hospital risk waste, estimated at 4000 tons per year, a proposed management plan includes separate collection, treatment and disposal techniques (ERM and Issa Consulting, 1998).

Management of industrial and hazardous waste While industrial-waste management is a pressing need in Lebanon, the bulk (more than 90%) of wastes generated can be classified as non-hazardous waste most of which is similar to domestic municipal waste (Dar Al-Handasah, 1997; Tebodin, 1998a). Industrial activities, which require special attention from an environmental perspective, are

Figure 6. Estimated hazardous-waste generation based on industry types and employment data. 1995, ; 2020, .



M. El-Fadel et al. Table 7.

DSS IPC Estimated hazardous-waste generation by source

Hazardous waste category

1998 quantity (ton/year)

2008 quantity (ton/year)

Heavy metals Oily waste Paint, resins, dyes etc. Incineration residues Waste water sludge

1166 1018 538 — —

1200 1500 600 1478a 3171a




2020 quantity (ton/year) 1482 2652 803 3252 6976 17 185

Tebodin (1998b). a Based on expected governmental plans for waste management options.

undertaken by cement production and manufacturing industries involved in metal products, food processing, tanneries and textile finishing (Tebodin, 1998b). Waste generated from these activities is potentially hazardous due to high sulfur and heavy metal (zinc, cadmium, mercury, chromium and copper) effluent content. As such, they require special treatment and disposal techniques. At present, most waste arising from the industrial sector is released into the surrounding atmosphere, discharged into adjacent water bodies (rivers, streams, sea), stored on site, disposed of in privately owned landfills, incinerated in the open, or dumped haphazardly (Dar Al-Handasah, 1997; ECODIT-IAURIF, 1997; ERM, 1995a; Tebodin, 1998b). Such practices resulted in environmental stresses particularly along the coastal zone where the industrial zones are spread (ECODITIAURIF, 1997; ERM, 1995a). The management of industrial waste faces several constraints typical of developing countries, including (ERM, 1995a,b): ž the majority of the industry is small-scale in nature and fragmented all over the country leading to difficulties in collection, separation and proper disposal; ž low awareness amongst waste generators about environmental and health hazards associated with improper handling and exposure to certain wastes and their chemical constituents; ž inadequate access to information on proper waste management and best available technologies; ž lack of enforcement of existing wastemanagement regulations; ž cash stripped firms which are unlikely to voluntarily invest in costly pollution prevention and minimisation technologies

in the light of lax enforcement of legislation and lack of monetary or tax incentives; ž absence of efficient and effective industrial information systems to support or guide policy and decision-making.

Recycling of industrial waste Recycling and/or recovery practices for industrial liquid effluents or solid waste products are currently not widespread in Lebanon and will not significantly alter or reduce waste loads within the next couple of decades because of the absence of a market for recyclable materials. At present, recycling is limited to a few companies and is carried out on an ad hoc basis mainly in the metal processing, paper, plastic manufacturing industries (Dar Al-Handasah, 1996). In addition, an estimated 2000 tons per year of mineral waste oil or about 7–11% of total waste oil generated nation-wide,3 are recycled (Tebodin, 1998a) and approximately 90% of the 7000 tons of lead acid batteries discarded annually from vehicles and uninterrupted-power-supply systems are recycled (Tebodin, 1998b). Quantitative data concerning other recycled material are not available.

Import and export of industrial waste At present, Lebanon can be depicted as a closed system with respect to the flow of waste. Export of waste is not practiced as 3 Plans for future expansion have been proposed for the recovery and reuse of waste oil (Arnaout, 1997; ETEC, 1998).

Industrial-waste management in developing countries

most of the waste is not of a suitable quality to be sold in the regional or international market as secondary waste material. During the years of civil unrest, industrial and hazardous wastes were imported from several industrialised nations and improperly disposed of throughout the country. Public condemnation resulted in re-exporting most of this waste back to the countries of origin. Moreover, recent regulations banned the import of waste for the purpose of final disposal (Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, 1997a,b). Nevertheless, importing waste oil from neighboring countries to be recycled in a centralized facility as part of a future national strategy for recovery and reuse of waste oil has been proposed (ETEC, 1998) to improve economic sustainability of the waste oil recovery plan. Furthermore, the generation of pesticides and PCB related wastes are relatively insignificant therefore it is more economic to export such wastes for treatment and disposal.

Legislative and institutional framework Lebanon has a substantial body of environmental related laws, however most date back to the 1930s and are in need of updating and consolidation (El-Fadel et al., 2000; ESCWA, 1999; ERM, 1995b). While existing environmental regulations are aimed at minimising nuisance and the protection of public health, they are deficient with regards to standards pertaining to waste management. In addition, existing standards deal primarily with domestic municipal solid waste. While, there is a law related to hazardous materials (Lebanon, 1988), it lacks clarity in terms of waste classification and is rarely applied. This law predates the 1989 Basel Convention,4 which defines properties and tests for classifying materials as hazardous (UNEP, 1999) and as a consequence, does not conform to its classifications or definitions. Deficient institutional support capabilities constitute a major limitation in most 4 Lebanon is a signatory to the Basel Convention and ratified it on December 21, 1994. It became effective on March 3, 1995.

developing countries and must be enhanced as a prerequisite for private sector competitive growth (UNIDO, 1995a). A recent institutional reform effort in Lebanon culminated in the creation of the Ministry of Environment in 1993 (Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, 1993), and contributed (at least conceptually) to strengthening the institutional capacity for the design and implementation of sound environmental policies. For example, a recent decision, issued by the MoE, sets various air, soil, and water standards for the protection of the environment (Ministry of Environment, Lebanon, 1996).

Recent legislation A national strategy for the management of industrial waste requires addressing legislative deficiencies. A comprehensive national Environmental Framework Law (EFL) is currently awaiting parliamentary approval. In addition to other provisions related to environmental protection and management the EFL includes sections on waste management requirements. Specifically, the EFL consists of 102 articles grouped into seven main divisions that will provide a legislative framework for the subsequent drafting of individual decrees to shape the national environmental management strategy. Unlike laws, decrees address environmental issues at the micro level, by setting clear standards, guidelines and defining permissible management practices. The objectives of relevant EFL decrees concerning waste management are summarised in Table 8.

Responsible authorities The management of industrial activities in Lebanon is the responsibility of the Ministry of Industry (MoI) which was created in 1997 (Ministry of Industry, Lebanon, 1997) and was formerly a directorate general under the Ministry of Industry and Petroleum. While the MoI is responsible for registering and licensing industrial establishments in coordination with other ministries, it has no authority to reject a license application for an industry (ERM, 1995a). Industrial waste



M. El-Fadel et al. Table 8. Objectives of the EFL waste management related decrees Decree Waste definitions and classifications Integrated waste management

Product legislation National fund for environmental protection Standards for atmospheric emissions, wastewater effluents, water and soil protection EIA and permitting Monitoring and enforcement Fines and sanctions

Objective To define waste categories and allow the differentiation between municipal and industrial/hazardous waste. Adoption of the Basel Convention definition since Lebanon must use this classification in international contacts To provide guidelines and rules for both private and public organizations dealing in waste-management activities: collection, transport, storage, sorting, reuse, treatment and disposal To identify permit requirements for various types of waste management firms (collection, transport, storage, treatment or disposal) To limit the number of waste treatment companies To regulate and ban the use of specific materials or substances that complicate waste treatment To support investment in cleaner production technologies, waste recycling and treatment methodologies To incorporate clearly defined tasks, project identification procedures, conditions and management To ensure that industrial wastes are disposed of properly To account for a comprehensive waste-management program especially for the hazardous waste generating industry To adopt the ‘polluter pays’ principle To set high/severe levels to deter infringement

management on the other hand, falls within the scope of the Ministry of Environment, although the main executive institution is the Ministry of Interior (Dar Al-Handasah, 1997). Other ministries and public agencies have industrial-waste-management responsibilities, resulting in the fragmentation of authority and low level of accountability. Table 9 depicts a matrix for the role of various ministries and public authorities in industrial-waste management. It illustrates functional gaps and the overlap in responsibilities. Despite the apparent attempt at integrating the environmental management system under a separate environmental protection ministry (MoE) with independent administrative functions and resources, the institutional framework for environmental management remains fragmented and weak. This is because the MoE’s broad mandate relating to environmental issues5 overlaps with those of a number of other ministries 5

Including the power to: (1) formulate general environmental policy and propose measures for its implementation in coordination with other concerned agencies; (2) protect the natural and man-made environment in the interest of public health and welfare; and (3) control and prevent pollution, irrespective of the source, (Ministry of the Environment, Lebanon, 1993, 1997c).

or governmental agencies as depicted in Table 9.

Resources and staffing Low levels of technical and managerial capabilities constitute a major limitation in most developing countries (UNIDO, 1995c). In this context, Lebanon is no exception as the available resources6 and staffing7 levels are such that the MoE’s capacity for environmental management is very limited (World Bank, 1996). The low salaries offered in the public sector in general, do not help in maintaining motivated inspectors which restricts the Ministry’s ability to have a real impact on the coordination of various sector initiatives and on facilitating the integration and enforcement of environmental laws and policies (ERM, 1995b). As such, the MoE lacks provisions for an environmental monitoring and enforcement unit with an acute shortage of qualified technical personnel who can conduct monitoring operations associated with waste management. 6 Annual budget of US$ 5 million in 1995 reduced to less than US$ 2 million in 1999. 7 Thirty-eight full-time employees out of 139 specified by law and an unspecified number of contractors depending on budget and grant availability.

Industrial-waste management in developing countries Table 9.

Industrial-waste-management matrix


Policy setting Licensing procedures Health/safety Public health protection Occupational safety Monitoring Classification Industry type Land use/industrial zones Waste disposal management Product quality control Legislation Regulation and codes Standard setting Waste definition Enforcement Investment encouragement Introduction of technology

MoE MoI Interior Public Finance Labor IDALb LIBNORc Munici Directorate health and Social -palities of urban affairs planningd X O







 O








O  X

O  X O




a Level of implementation of function: medium (), low (O), non-existent (X). b Investment Development Authority of Lebanon, is an independent public authority. c LIBNOR (Lebanese Norms and Standards Institution) operates d The directorate functions under the Ministry of Public Works.

Environmental monitoring Monitoring is an essential part of developmental activities to ensure environmental protection. Monitoring data provide a useful tool for raising public awareness and can even be used as the basis for a publicalert system in environmental-management schemes. Such a system relies on a monitoring network to alert the responsible authority when levels of pollution come to be perceived as having serious health effects. In Lebanon, environmental monitoring is still in its infancy and replicable methods for evaluating environmental stresses are still deficient, which is typical of most developing countries. This is attributed to intensive resource requirements, as well as high capital, operational and maintenance costs associated with environmental monitoring. Given the limited human and financial capacity of the MoE, comprehensive environmental monitoring to environmental release standards is not foreseen in the near future. This implies that there is a need to insure that the implemented strategies are financially sustainable

under the tutelage of the MoI.

in addition to being environmentally sound. If funds can be raised for specific areas of implementation then these assets can be mobilised to secure both human and technical resources to implement the required mitigation measures and policies. Municipalities in coordination with the MoE can implement these activities with the overall responsibility for monitoring under the latter. In addition, there is a potential for increasing the involvement of private sector associations, institutions, and NGOs in environmental management (ERM, 1995b; World Bank, 1996). This involvement may promote sustainability, but it is likely to remain deficient in the absence of proper institutional support mechanisms (UNIDO, 1995b).

Public participation, Non-governmental organisations, and information dissemination Education and information dissemination play an important role in changing the public perception concerning proper environmental



M. El-Fadel et al.

management. Environmental education is vital to raise the overall level of awareness and mobilise public opinion when a local community is faced with a polluting industry. At times, the most effective way to deal with polluting industries that escape governmental control is to mount an aggressive campaign involving the local community and the media to force industries into compliance. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) can play a vital role in bringing flagrant violations to the attention of responsible authorities (ERM, 1995b). During the last decade about 65 environmental NGOs were created in Lebanon (ESCWA, 1999); many are involved in raising awareness on current environmental issues, exposing environmental threats, protecting natural reserves and habitats, and preventing excessive pollution. In addition, a few international NGOs have established offices in the country and coordinate efforts and activities with their local counterparts.

Discussion and Conclusion The industrial sector in Lebanon is relatively small with 84% of all industrial units employing less than 10 workers. More than 22 000 industrial establishments generate a heterogeneous stream of noimpact, low and high impact substances. An estimated 347 000 tons of solid waste, 20 169 600 m3 /year of liquid waste and between 3000 and 16 000 tons of hazardous waste are generated annually from 41 poorly delineated industrial zones and currently disposed of without any control measures. Country-specific options for industrial-waste management require pre-treatment at source for the majority of industrial waste effluents and secured landfilling for hazardous waste. Waste minimisation technologies should be adopted and industry owners and managers encouraged to initiate material recycling and reuse. While the development and construction of waste treatment and disposal facilities is essential to manage the waste generated, it is imperative to address the necessary institutional needs and introduce effective legislation with proper standards for environmental protection and pollution prevention. The systematic enforcement of regulations

and policies is also crucial to the success of industrial-waste management. Sound monitoring practices are necessary to ensure that future regulations are developed on the basis of accurate data and waste trends.

Management options In assessing management options, it is important to note that neither the government nor the industries are able to immediately introduce and sustain radical changes which necessarily entail high investment costs. While the post-war reconstruction drive has burdened the Lebanese government and its resources, the majority of industries still face numerous obstacles that impede production. Despite the existence of various technologies that can mitigate and reduce environmental impacts associated with industrial wastes (both at the source of generation or at a central waste-treatment facility), their implementation requires financial resources that existing small and medium scale industries cannot afford. Imposing additional financial burdens will inevitably marginalise the industries further. However, newly established industrial companies that utilise more advanced technology can implement pollution control and waste minimisation options. Technical management practices should therefore aim at reducing pollutant levels sufficiently to achieve compliance standards. Fortunately, the bulk of industrial waste in Lebanon requires only minimal treatment to render it adequate for regular disposal. Therefore, the most cost effective waste-management strategy should be based on pre-treatment at the source followed by proper disposal (engineered landfill for solid wastes and codisposal with municipal wastewater for liquid effluents). Pre-treatment options based on pollutant type and characteristics are well established (WEF, 1994; LaGrega et al., 1994). Following pre-treatment of waste, the preferred treatment/disposal option will depend on the volume and composition of waste, environmental standards (Williams, 1998) as well as the availability of adequate technical and financial resources. Hazardous

Non-hazardous waste Low heavy metal content waste Industrial mixed waste Wastewater sludge End of life vehicle Special household waste Asbestos waste Sludge from asbestos/cement manufacturing 2400 Non-hazardous waste Ceramic/cement industry waste 73 000 Phosphoric acid gypsum Recyclable waste

Putrescent waste

Co-disposal with MSW

On-site storage

Recycling schemes

Agricultural applications

Modified from Tebodin, 1998b.

Hazardous waste

Food and beverage production Municipal wastewater sludge Industrial wastewater sludge

Used lubricating oils End of life vehicles Industrial recyclable packaging waste

Pesticides PCB

32 000 80 000 6000

10 000 6300 Not quantified

1290 20 000 Not quantified 700 3000

326 40

4000 14 000


Hospital waste Car tires

Infectious waste combustibles

1166 1018 538 Not quantified Not quantified

Approximate quantity (1998)


Waste containing heavy metals Industrially oily waste Industrial paint, resins, dyes, residues Incineration fly ash and bottom slag Industrial wastewater sludge

Type of waste

Hazardous waste

Waste category


Treatment/disposal option

Table 10. Preferred waste-treatment/disposal options

Cheap and feasible Health impacts Soil degradation

Economy of scale Lack of technical expertise

Limited capacity

Cheap and feasible Increased generation of high strength leachate


Expensive Lack of technical expertise Public opposition Economy of scale

Cheap and feasible low availability in urban areas


Industrial-waste management in developing countries 297


M. El-Fadel et al.

waste requires separate treatment, handling and disposal methods. In this context, several treatment and disposal options can be considered simultaneously, including reuse and recycling; physical, chemical or biological treatment; landfilling, incineration and export (World Bank, 1989; Freeman, 1998). A synopsis of country-specific preferred treatment-disposal alternatives under current economic conditions is presented in Table 10.

Institutional considerations Evolving the necessary institutional infrastructure encompasses a wide range of requirements including: (1) appropriate financial services; (2) training facilities; (3) development of quality standards; (4) industrial information systems; (5) promotion of investment and technology inflow; and (6) research and development (UNIDO, 1995b). The growth and expansion of small and medium industries, particularly in developing countries, is largely dependent on the availability of proper institutional support and financial resources (UNIDO, 1995a). Moreover, the establishment of clear institutional responsibilities is essential to ensure the effective implementation of policies and reduce the potential for conflicts of interest. It is not possible to develop an operational wastemanagement system and recover incurred NGOs/public Environmental monitoring/education

costs in the absence of a proper institutional setup (Tebodin, 1998b). This involves a dramatic reform in the current institutional setup, and introducing appropriate re-organisation and regulations. This seems to be unacceptable to many policy-makers, particularly in developing countries, where rigid social, cultural, political and economic structures prevail (ESCWA, 1996). Figure 7 depicts a proposed framework for waste management taking into consideration existing country-specific institutional characteristics. The MoE would be the natural entity to assume the responsibility in initiating and executing proposed actions of a wastemanagement plan. This will require the unfailing cooperation and support of the other ministries in drafting, implementing and enforcing the decrees within the Environmental Framework Law. Although it is evident that a grace period will be required for existing industrial establishments to comply with proposed environmental standards, the imposition of punitive measures on lawbreakers should be enforced as a deterrent to future violations.

Acknowledgements Nationwide surveys and studies on industrial waste management in Lebanon were funded by the Mediterranean Environmental Technical Assistance Program (METAP), World Bank, German

Ministry of Environment Propose national environmental policy Update waste-management legislation

Ministries of Public Health/Labor Protect public health/safety

Set standards (air quality, wastewater effluent, water, soil) Set clear definitions for waste types and hazardous materials Establish proper waste disposal methods/techniques Require EIA procedures in industrial licensing

IDAL/Directorate of Urban Planning

Promote waste minimisation and recycling

Industry type classification

Environmental education/awareness

Land use zoning for industry

Environmental monitoring

Ministry of Industry Devise a national industrial management strategy Simplify industrial permitting requirements Implement industrial information management systems Monitor industrial establishments Environmental education/awareness

Figure 7.

Municipalities/Governorates Licensing requirements Environmental monitoring

Ministry of Interior Enforce legislation and regulations

Proposed inter-relation of institutions in industrial-waste management.

Industrial-waste management in developing countries Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and the European Commission.

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