Adonis Diaries

Archive for May 8th, 2021

Ziad Abi Chaker wants to replacing stolen metal drain covers with recycled materials that last longer and cost less (and do Not entice the robbers to resume their beneficial enterprises?)

Saving Lebanon’s streets: the engineer with a sustainable fix

Using recycled single-use plastic, the industrial and environmental engineer applies a technique known as extrusion to melt the raw material and form it into the required shape.

In this case, Mr Abi Chaker repurposes plastic waste to make drain covers to replace stolen ones.

Where other people see rubbish, he sees opportunity.

“I’m an industrial engineer, so my job is to find resources for manufacturing,” But I’m also an environmental engineer, so I find these resources among discarded, recyclable material.” Mr Abi Chaker told The National

Mr Abi Chaker makes use of all single-use plastic, such as plastic bags, plastic bottles, food packaging and more, and turns them into long-term sources of raw material to give them a new life.

His line of thinking offers a creative solution to a mounting problem in Lebanon.

Metal theft is becoming increasingly common as the country’s economic situation continues to deteriorate.

The stolen materials are being sold for scrap in US dollars as people grow increasingly desperate to generate income in a country with scarce jobs and a depreciating currency.

Ziad Abi Chaker, Lebanese industrial and environmental engineer and CEO of Cedar Environmental. Courtesy of Ziad Abi Chaker
Ziad Abi Chaker, Lebanese industrial and environmental engineer and CEO of Cedar Environmental. Courtesy of Ziad Abi Chaker

Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces confirmed the increase in these crimes to The National, with at least one person arrested for stealing a drain cover off the streets.

Other recent thefts included steel wires and pylons from power stations, plunging Lebanon further into darkness in March.

Eleven metal graveyard doors were also stolen from a small Lebanese town in Bekaa on April 4, prompting protests against sanctity violation.

Yasa, a Lebanese NGO for road safety, warned of the dangers of missing drain covers after a car got stuck in an uncovered manhole in Jnah, Beirut in April.

But with his simple and sustainable approach, Mr Abi Chaker is saving the environment and the streets.

So far, the engineer has been able to manufacture three manhole covers, with 20 more in the works, out of his own pocket.

Capable of supporting 100 kilogrammes, up to 400kg, they are fit for human and road traffic. He is also producing a cover able to carry up to 800kg.

The first manhole was set to replace a missing lid in the south of Lebanon, while the two others were placed near Beirut River.

According to Mr Abi Chaker, the plastic covers are much more cost-effective than metal ones.

“The human traffic covers are between $20 and $30, while the vehicular ones cost between $40 and $60,” he told The National. “They’re 50 per cent cheaper than steel covers.”

The plastic drain covers are also faster to make, taking two to three days to complete each piece, which is “a record compared to casting iron”.

Although the plastic covers are a highly efficient quick fix, Mr Abi Chaker cannot carry the cost burden on his own.

He is on the lookout for contributions from supporters of the project in the Lebanese community. “It’s the best way to go,” he said.

Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani showed interest in the project, telling The National he is open to receiving a proposal from Mr Abi Chaker team on the details of the initiative to study potential collaboration and methods of implementation.

“Of course we’re interested in an alternative, replacing the metal covers with new metal ones costs a fortune,” he said.

But Mr Abi Chaker would rather secure funds independently from the municipality owing to the urgency of the matter and lack of faith in Lebanon’s officials – a sentiment shared by many who took to the streets in October 2019 against political corruption and mismanagement.

Mr Abi Chaker is working with lawyers to pursue legal action against the municipality for “failing to properly and hastily respond to an imminent danger affecting vehicles and pedestrians of the city”.

Manholes in Lebanon have been coverless for some time after the thefts began during the first quarter of 2021.

Despite the huge risk to pedestrians and vehicles, authorities have yet to take action. The open drains join a long list of malfunctioning public properties, alongside failing traffic lights and low-grade infrastructure.

The manhole covers are not the first initiative by Mr Abi Chaker to take the country by storm.

One of his projects, the Green Glass Recycling Initiative Lebanon, was ranked eighth out of 10 most innovative companies in 2021 for the Europe/Mena region after recycling 125 tonnes of discarded glass after the Beirut port blast.

The August 4 explosion killed more than 200 people, injured more than 7,000 and destroyed large parts of the city, leaving huge piles of shattered glass in the streets.

Instead of discarding the glass in Lebanon’s overrun landfills, the initiative collected the material and provided it to the few remaining glass packaging factories in the northern city of Tripoli, supporting the country’s glass industry and one of the poorest cities in the Middle East.

When asked why he continues to give to a country that does not give back, Mr Abi Chaker said: “When you love someone, do you give up on them in their time of need?

“Our country is afflicted with a disease of the ruling class, and I won’t give up on it now. Even though I was tempted by numerous offers to do the work I do over the world, I love being here, I love the work I do here, I love the impact we make here, I love the people and places here, and this is why I won’t leave.”

READ MORE

German firms unveil $7.2bn proposal to revamp Beirut port

Explained: Why Lebanon has an ongoing trash problem

Why Nadine Labaki believes Beirut blast marks the ‘birth’ of a new world: ‘There’s a revolution inside us’

How Monetary Currency instituted mendicancy?

Posted on November 9, 2010

Since mankind shifted from a barter economy to dealing with currencies, societies turned steadily and consistently away from production to a specie of mendicants.

In the barter trade, every individual in the tribe, clan, women, men, and children had a special task to support the survival of the tribe. 

Once a member is entirely incapacitated to be a productive entity in the order of the small community, or unable to get moving at a regular pace with the tribe to better seasonal greener pastures then, the member was relocated to a shady place near a source of water to tend to his peaceful death a “paradise for the old spirits“.

Most probably, a core of compassionate individuals delegated their services to aiding these old spirits as best they could.   They extracted from these elders oral stories of myths and traditional laws of conduct.

Transmitters of oral teaching and education are called “marabout” or “grios” in Africa:  They have been transmitting the oral spiritual traditions of communities around bonfires.

A few of them decided to institute religions, based on the captured myths told about the creation of the universe and what happen to the souls after death; until the written languages codified the sacred religious knowledge within the sacerdotal classes.

Currently, old people are still Not that scared of death: Just fearing a state of lack of liquid currency, lest they are forced to beg to staying alive.

They are Not afraid of dying of hunger:  Just apprehensive that no aides will come, unless they have to beg.

After years of toils and unconditional disposition to raise a family, sending them to universities, marrying their offspring, and distributing properties to their married children, old parents are dragging their arthritic feet as best they can and feeling ashamed to ask for small money.

I am witnessing a grandmother, wrecked with arthritis, barely able to shift its body during sleep, and having to do dishes, sweep, do laundry, preparing jams for the winter season, and even cook for her married daughter with six children, many of these children are way over 25 years of age.

I am witnessing a grandfather, having difficulty getting in a car and thus, deciding to stay home, dragging his feet three flats up in order to replenish water in the water tanks on the roof:  He had plenty of reasons not to trust automatic systems and the damage they did when they failed.

Old people are worried that their children will not make it in this new harsh world: They were not adequately trained to fending for their survival.

Old people without any social covering are waiting to die in pain and hopelessness.

Old people of the middle and upper classes, with health coverage, are willing to undergo heart surgery at the age of 80, only to survive three lousy months in pain and suffering.

I am pretty sure they were warned by surgeons of the humiliating conditions they will suffer, but sacrifice is forgotten at a senile age.

We beg for food and pocket-money, though we are entitled to vote, to drive expensive cars, to join armies, and to kill for “motherland”.

We beg for better grades; we beg for jobs; we beg for a raise; we lick asses to keep our jobs; we forget morality and ethical conducts and obey the boss; we claim that we are skilled survivors.

There was a time, still as valid now as ever, when materially fallen noblemen, had priority over the most disinherited people for the money collected in churches.

Poor Noblemen had to be secured firstlest the social structure disintegrates and chaos reign supreme.

Multinational financial institutions have to get first help:  They worked so hard to bilk people out of their earned money.

Multinational do Not beg: They demand their rights as knights and barons of the establishment.

The verb to “beg” was created for the poor people and it does not apply to the rich barons of industries who demand their rights to financial aids:  They invented the social and economic structure for the begging citizens.

We are effective beggars: we keep the mask of revolting against mendicant behaviors.

Wild animals and pets search for a shady and isolated place to die when the time approach:  They refuse further unnecessary suffering and pain.

They leave the company of the tribe:  They cannot expect the community to feed them; this is contrary to the nature of the specie.  Mankind is willing to beg mercilessly and assiduously to the last moment.

Millions of kids faking work, selling chewing gum on streets for a loaf of bread.  

Millions playing the meditative game, so that their collective spirits in prayers will bring about world peace, in exchange of one daily meal.

Billion of people are producing nothing.

They are the ones who cannot teach art but expose the results of art.

They cannot teach how to make shoes, but display instead varieties of shoes for you to select from.

The shopkeepers, working a lifetime in a box, collaborating with wholesalers, quickly turning over products in warehouses.

Engineers, supposedly trained to design products and services and ending up working salesperson.

Engineers  are hired to selling products and services, thinking that they can extend the illusion to consumers that they know something about the product or engineering practices.

It never crosses the mind of this engineer to make the effort of “re-designing” the product/system he is selling.

Sales people selling whatever there is to sell, uttering big technical terminologies: they have no ideas what these words mean.

Lawyers, shuffling papers and documents, bilking people, communicating with the lawyer of the other party, hammering out settlements, because they were Not trained or lack the talent to defend clients in courts.

Teams upon teams of “hygiene engineers” cleaning offices, gathering trash, vacuuming,  and then collecting garbage.

The lower middle class, learning technical skills, working around conveyor belts, assembling consumer products and canned food.

Now and then, facilitating modern lifestyle by updating plumbing and electrical systems:  running water, ready electrical power, and automatic appliances that were meant to liberating essential time for a real productive life, but falling short on target.

Who are the producers?  

They are the peasants in remote areas, no one paying them a visit, except wholesalers at harvest time.

Millions working in sweat shop factories:  the modern sacrificial lambs targeted to die at young age for disastrous workplace conditions.

Millions working in underground tunnels, extracting raw materials, trapped in worse conditions than taupe.

Millions working in open grounds, extracting raw materials, dying young, in polluted environment, for their daily meals.

If those are the people producing something then, how come so many trillions of dollar-kind money have been accumulated?

Trillions being talk about like we are meaning billions of dollars.

The world is currently  posting $60 trillion GNP per year; $15 trillion are saved by the “poorer” developing States so that multinational financial institutions move the surplus to the “powerful” States to maintain their higher standards of living.

The financial institutions cut out their commissions for facilitating the transfer of money from the poor people to the “richer” people maintaining high State indebtedness.

Last century, people were producing.  

In this century, worthless paper money are being printed, shifted, transacted, and transferred around as valuable earning: Fictitious wealth backed by the power of aircraft carriers and lethal killing equipment.

Millions of “men of war” in 200 official armies, begging for their daily meals in exchange for killing their own kinds, fighting for the “fatherland”.  

Millions of men of war enlisted in militia organizations fighting for the honor of the tribe, the trampled dignity of a local  leader, a religious cleric.

There was a long period in mankind history, tribes going on razzias expeditions against richer tribes and rounding up livestock.  Tribes expected razzias: They were meant for survival purposes under harsh conditions.

In the last three centuries, razzias on grand scale, are directed for pure greed.

Mankind: a specie of mendicants, with no dignity and no shame.

A specie that convinced itself that life is precious, even if they are totally worthless to producing anything spiritual.

Compassion is meant to help the abler body.

A specie toiling a lifetime not producing a dime’s worth;  unable to write an article, even an illegible one.

A specie no longer worth surviving.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2021
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