Feature: Lebanese officials, activists advocate village-based effort to ensure clean environment

2021-11-30 15:05:44 GMT2021-11-30 23:05:44(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIRUT, Nov. 30 (Xinhua) -- Government officials and environmental activists have emphasized the significance of replicating an environmental project in southern Lebanon in all villages across the country to ensure a clean environment.

Mira Khoury, head of the environmental committee in Kawkaba, a municipality in southeast Lebanon, said the project, which began in a local village about five years ago, will have a significant economic and social impact on Lebanese by improving agricultural production through the use of organic fertilizers.

The project, which has enabled local people to collect, sift, and recycle rubbish in order to transform it into organic fertilizers, stems from the cooperation between the municipality, local and foreign associations, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL).

The project entails allocating one day per week to clean the village's streets and courtyards in collaboration with members of the municipal council and volunteers, followed by the placement of 80 waste containers in some neighborhoods and the distribution of approximately 1,000 waste sorting baskets to households, according to Kawkaba Mayor Elie Abu Naqoul.

With the funding respectively provided by associations, the Spanish battalion operating with UNIFIL, and the Italian Celim Association, the municipality built two plants for sorting, compressing, and recycling solid trash in order to convert it into organic fertilizers, and a composting plant to treat organic waste.

In addition, the Italian association has provided the municipality with shredders to cut down trees and transform them into fertilizers at the composting plant, rather than farmers burning them. The municipality has also planted two 13,000-square-meter field plots with roses, thyme, and lavender, which will help to humidify the air and can be used in plant industries. To raise people's awareness of protecting the environment, the city also planned multiple garbage sorting training courses, as well as a series of seminars and lectures on the culture of waste sorting, according to the mayor.

Waste sorting and composting operations create large amounts of organic fertilizer, with small portions given away for free to small farmers and distributed at affordable costs to others, Mira Khoury said while urging other villages to copy this model to improve environment.

Environmental activist Samer Khoury urged all municipalities in southern Lebanon to follow Kawkaba's lead and eliminate random rubbish dumps that create fires and harm the air, springs, wells, and groundwater.

Samer Khoury advocated for increased environmental awareness and the establishment of a waste-sorting culture, both of which would aid in the creation of a clean environment in Lebanon.

"In light of the chaotic dumping and burning of rubbish and the development of over 617 landfills across cities and villages throughout Lebanon," he said. "We need to raise (environmental protection) awareness in the country." Enditem