Sorting and storing a mountain of waste to protect the health of local residents at Sidon in Lebanon

In Sidon, Lebanon, waste had turned into a nauseating mountain with serious implications for both human health and the environment. SUEZ was called upon in 2013 to build a safe and efficient site for waste storage, recycling and sorting. Its added value? Customised solutions, and the desire to see the local population benefit from healthy public spaces as well as involving them in their conservation.
The mission

Avoid an ecological and health disaster in Sidon, Lebanon

Sidon is the third-largest city in Lebanon. For 40 years, it dumped its waste in an open landfill. In the late 2000s, the accumulated waste stood over 50 metres high. Some 3 hectares of waste were destroying the flora and fauna of the coastline. Both the air and the land were polluted. The health of the 250,000 inhabitants of the city was at sta
tonnes of waste on average dumped per day.
of waste forming a mountain located 1 km from the shore.
the distance from the coast where waste from the unauthorised landfill can be found floating.
Our solution

Remove the landfill thanks to a sustainable waste management solution 

In 2013, SUEZ, together with a local Lebanese company, implemented its expertise to sort, treat and recycle the waste in Sidon. With a budget of $25 million allocated under a United Nations program, SUEZ and its partners decided to wipe the unauthorised landfill off the map of Lebanon. A new waste storage, recycling and sorting site opened after 18 months of work.

We rehabilitated the site according to environmental and societal imperatives, taking care to: 

  • Categorise waste treatments to better guarantee safety
  • More than 25 sampling points, some up to 43 km deep, allowed a multi-parameter analysis of the existing waste. Specialised equipment was used to make the area more reliable. A laboratory controls all of the waste.

  • Meet global management requirements through a personalised approach 
  • Waste treatment is now part of a genuine regional industry favouring storage, material recovery and energy production from waste

  • Clean up the air and treat water to improve the health of the local inhabitants 
  • A program for odor nuisance management, NOSE, and a network for the collection and treatment of biogas have now been implemented. NOSE is an innovative Suez solution that identifies, treats and monitors the odors resulting from treatment operations. In total, more than 120 researchers work on sustainable solutions to enhance the quality of life of local populations.

  • Give the people back the use of their land
  • Rehabilitated as a healthy space, 33,000 m2 were transformed into public gardens, part of which comprises an open-air theatre. Awareness programs encourage everyone to take ownership of these new waste treatment practices.

The results
Nearly half of the waste from the landfill was sorted, and the other half stored under the supervision of a control laboratory. The major risks in terms of both the environment and public health were thus avoided.

The waste incineration plant today allows for recycling 95% of the waste produced by Sidon, and the multi-recovery plant more than 85%.

The port has been relocated to a remediated site and the quantity of waste at sea considerably reduced. Beyond waste treatment and recycling facilities, SUEZ developed a project in line with the local culture (processes and plants, public spaces, etc.) and laid the foundations for the sustainable development of this part of the city.
tonnes of waste sorted from the landfill.
tonnes of waste safely stored under the vigilance of a control laboratory. 
months of post-rehabilitation follow-up carried out by the Suez teams.