Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Sukleen


A Series of White Papers on the Garbage Crisis in Lebanon

Issue #1: Sukleen’s Waste Mangement; Reality versus Myth Author: Sahar Tarhini

The ins and outs of SUKLEEN and SUKOMI’s contracts: take a look at what the $2 billion from the independent municipal fund were paid for!

Why do we need White Papers on garbage?

The majority of the Lebanese public opinion is shaped by the information shared on mass media and social media.

A lot of that information is misrepresented in a way that limits the reader’s ability to build a sound opinion regarding a public issue.

Within today’s chaotic disputes around the garbage crisis, YEF wants to share sound information that can positively feed into the ongoing debates. Within this framework, and with the support of YEF’s research interns, a series of white papers are being published on the garbage crisis in Lebanon.

This is the first white paper of the series and its focus is on Sukleen’s track record for managing waste in Lebanon.

We will look into contract conditions, prices, and actual implementation

Background Information

Sukleen has been contracted by the Lebanese government to collect the waste in Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon since 1994.

In 1997 following the closing of the Bourj Hammoud dump site, the government decided to implement an Emergency Waste Management plan.

In 1998, the contract with Sukleen was expanded to include its partner organization, Sukomi. Both are divisions of the parent company Averda, which operates throughout the Arab region, and has expanded significantly since 2008 with major investments coming from Growthgate Capital.

Sukomi was charged with management of the then newly designated landfill in Naameh.

Since 1998, Sukleen/Sukomi has been responsible for the garbage collection, partial recycling and treatment, and landfilling, while the Lebanese government is responsible for providing the landfills.

Although the contract expired on July 17 2015, Sukleen continued to collect waste.

According to Averda, during the contract period, there were more than 1500 laborers collecting and processing 2500 tons of garbage per day at the recycling plants. However, the Naameh landfill far surpassed its maximum capacity of 2 million tons, and this is why the garbage crisis started.

So far Sukleen has refused to participate in any new waste management tenders. (But the government let it resume the collect and weeping part for $50 million for 18 months?)

What do the contracts with Sukleen/Sukomi state? Contract Description Contractor Contract Dates Period Total Amount Paid by CDR Source of Funding
COLLECTION & SWEEPING Estimated Cost from 1995 – 2015 USD 780 Million Solid Waste collection and sweeping of Greater Beirut and its surroundings Sukleen Dec 1995 – Aug 2007 (with extensions) 12 years USD 383 Million (estimate) Independent Municipal Fund
Solid Waste collection and sweeping of Greater Beirut and its surroundings Sukleen Sep 2007 – Apr 2015 8 years USD 384 Million Independent Municipal Fund
Supervision of garbage collection in Greater Beirut and its surroundings DG Jones & Partners Mar 1996 – Apr 2015 19 years USD 13 Million Council of Development & Reconstruction
PROCESSING WASTE Estimated Cost from 1998 – 2015 USD 684 Million Operating and Maintenance of a Household solid waste processing plants for Greater Beirut and its surrounding (Aamroussiyeh and Karantina) Sukomi Jun 1998 – May 2008 10 yeas USD 284 Million Independent Municipal Fund
Operating and Maintenance of a Household solid waste processing plants for Greater Beirut and its surrounding (Aamroussiyeh and Karantina) Sukomi Aug 2007 – Apr 2015 8 years USD 372 Million Independent Municipal Fund
Supervision of Processing Plant Operations Laceco Jun 1998 – May 2008 8 years USD 13 Million (estimate) Independent Municipal Fund
Supervision of Processing Plant Operations Laceco Jun 2007 – Apr 2015 8 years USD 15 Million Independent Municipal Fund
LANDFILLING Estimated Cost from 1998 – 2015 USD 607 Million Designing and Operating Sanitary Landfill for Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon Sukomi Jan 1998 – Feb 2008 10 years USD 233 Million Independent Municipal Fund
Designing and Operating Sanitary Landfill for Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon Sukomi Aug 2007 – Apr 2015 8 years USD 346 Million Independent Municipal Fund
Supervision of Sanitary Landfill Operations for Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon Laceco Jan 1998 – Feb 2008 10 years USD 13 Million (estimate) Independent Municipal Fund
Supervision of Sanitary Landfill Operations for Greater Beirut and Mount Lebanon Laceco May 2007 – Apr 2015 8 years USD 15 Million Independent Municipal Fund


Its scheduled closure date was set on the 17th of January 2015. This deadline was extended twice for a 3-month period, the last being on 17 July 2015.

What is Sukleen’s current position?

Sukleen serves municipalities that have provided alternative temporary storage space for baled waste. The management of these sites is the responsibility of the municipality, and Sukleen’s role in this instance is solely the haulage to the site.

Sukleen has been instructed by the Government, in the absence of any other solution, to continue the street cleaning and waste collection services for the transition period and until the new contractors are in place.

According to Sukleen’s website, it has decided not to participate in the recent Waste Management tenders for Lebanon due to the following considerations:

1. Sukleen cannot secure and provide new landfill locations.

2. The pre-requisite diversion from landfill and recycling rates cannot be achieved within six months.

3. The method of collection which has been in place for the last twenty years, and is also stipulated in the new tender, is based around the collection of bins from streets and curbsides. Today, with the continuing urbanization, population growth and the increase in vehicular traffic, this operating model is no longer appropriate and requires a modern, progressive approach and methodology.

What is Sukleen’s role in Chehayeb’s current Waste Management Plan?

(Chehayeb is the minister of agriculture but was appointed to handle the garbage crisis. Why? He is the same minister to handled the Bour Hammoud crisis in 1997 and was paid handsome on the side for dealing with his militia leader Walid Jumblat to open the Na3emeh landfill. Chehayeb has been meeting with representatives of the youth movements with expertise in waste management, but refuses to take notes or care for their inputs and solutions)

The Cabinet extended one part of Sukleen’s contract for 18 months. The extension covers the process of collecting garbage only. The section related to treating garbage and managing landfills is not part of the plan. | | Facebook/yeflebanon

Costs USD$/ton
Collection 25
Sorting 26
Bailing 16
Wrapping 13
Landfilling 52 (from 0 to 400,000 ton/year)

38 (from 400,001 to 500,000 ton/year)

45 (› 500,001 ton/year)

Composting 30
Total 130
Based on the above table, we can see how much each of the waste management contractors were paid by the Council of Development and Reconstruction over the past 20 years. Contractor Amount Paid Period
Sukleen USD 767 Million 1995 – 2015
Sukomi USD 1,235 Million 1998 – 2015
Laceco USD 56 Million 1998 – 2015
DG Jones & Partners USD 13 Million 1996 – 2015
TOTAL USD 2,071 Million 1995 – 2015

We Choose Lebanon: It will take more than Tear Gas and Bullets.

Aside from this being a political matter, it is not a matter of who’s right and who’s wrong.

This is no longer about trash Sukleen, electricity, roads, water, or pollution.

This is simply about the right that was acknowledged internationally in 1948 in the universal declaration of human rights:

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”…

What’s actually funny is that these words were written by mainly 5 people, including a Lebanese man.

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But hey let’s not cry about the past and say that it was all better in 1948 for our own damn constitution, the one all noble politicians in our country are striving to apply guarantees that right in its 13th article.


On this night, we as a population that considers itself as “outstanding” and most of us are, especially every individual that was in the manifestation today, WE got attacked by our employees.

Our employees who received orders by employees who have “for our sake” decided to rape our right to vote for 2 years till now,and today decided also to rob us from our right to protest. (Parliament extended its tenure twice for lame excuses)

You see our rappers are amazing, they’re just great after doing their “3amle” they decide to proceed with lies!

Going publicly and denying these acts? Where do these damn soldiers get their orders? A ghost?

For the love of anything that’s precious to them, Money mostly, buy some damn respect.

I am not just appalled by how I am being treated for expressing my opinion but how I’m being lied to!

Have they become so shameless that such orders were given, for bullets to rain on protestors?


On this night, the men, women and children who went to those streets in order to express themselves were somehow considered terrorists because somehow we ended up being shot at, Lebanese citizens in the middle of Beirut, but not da3ech in 3ersel.


On this night, I congratulate my government or actually my rapist for all that he has done.

This totally unproductive government not only tried to suck out every right I have but actually hit me when I said that their shit smells bad.


I refuse to live in denial anymore.

I refuse to stand by watching others asking for their rights. There are too many loose ends. There are too many questions unanswered.


The parliament might have the money, the power, the ability to amend and change laws as they please, the ability to influence the media to make us believe whatever their next plan is to rape us and our pockets…

But what they don’t have is whatever we’ve got.

We got heart and the last bit of hope they couldn’t kill in us, that no tear gas or bullet can kill, take down one, but you can’t KILL a whole nation.

We’ve got brains and a whole lot of guts to look your guns in the eye and tell you to move along.


We’ve got no religion controlling us or political party biding our thoughts.

We have too much heart to be passive and indifferent and we choose LEBANON over whatever reward this government has been choosing.

We will choose Lebanon every time and time and time again.

What The Hell Happened Yesterday In Riad el Solh?

Note: This was the first day of the peaceful rally and most of the crowd were educated youth, demonstrating peacefully

Posted By :

When I wrote a post yesterday morning on how to gear up for today’s protest, I never thought for a second that we might actually need to protect ourselves from tear gas canisters, water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

I never imagined that the ISF and the Lebanese Army would attack the protesters this way and would storm a group of peaceful protesters, beat them up and arrest them.

I haven’t slept all night following up on the news and checking on my friends to make sure they are all safe.

To be honest, I think we are very lucky that no one died in the protests yesterday because things were totally out of control

So what really happened?

I got to Riad el Solh around 6:20pm and walked all the way to the statue where protesters were chanting slogans and waving banners against the government.

Things were relatively calm until the riot police started firing water cannons.

People stepped back a bit and then all of a sudden tear gas canisters were fired in the middle of the crowds and one of them fell few meters away from me.

I’ve never been tear gassed upon before and I hope I never do again because it’s the worst feeling ever. Your eyes start burning and you feel as if you’re suffocating.

One protester got the tear gas right in his face and fainted for a second, while parents who had come with their children were panicking and running away from the gas.

At that time, I wasn’t aware what was happening near Annahar building but then we heard gun shots that were being fired in the air by the Lebanese Army as shown in many videos.

At the same time, the riot police kept throwing more tear gas and started attacking the crowds and trying to disperse them all the way from Riad el Solh to Beirut Souks.

Rubber bullets were used at this point. The clashes continued till around midnight when things calmed down and the police was ordered by our Interior Minister to free all the detainees.

The protesters were pushed back outside Riad el Solh square but they resisted and decided to set up tents and spend the night there.

I will not bore you with more details because the pictures and videos speak for themselves but I still can’t figure out what triggered all this mess, and who gave the order to fire at protesters but it’s outrageous and shocking.

Thousands of Lebanese men, women and children went down to protest for their most basic rights and for a clear and transparent solution to the garbage crisis away from politics and were all suppressed in an unnecessarily violent and disproportional way.

Even the press was caught off-guard and got its share of the beating. I have no idea what to expect next but hopefully things will be clearer by next week.

Whatever happened yesterday should NEVER be repeated and those who assaulted and fired at harmless protesters need to be reprimanded and this garbage crisis needs to be resolved once and for all in a transparent and efficient way.

(Note: Firing live ammunition and rubber bullets backfired and people from the 4 corners of Lebanon converged to spend the night with the protesters)

#YouStink rallying cry: Recycling ‘cornerstone’ solution to Lebanon garbage woes

By: Karim Traboulsi posted on 24 August, 2015

The ongoing garbage crisis has forced Lebanese to take to the streets

Pushing for a recycling-based solution, not calling for revolution, is the only way forward.

There are many different views on how to tackle Lebanon’s one-month-old garbage crisis.

Yet everyone agrees that the usual sweep-it-under-the-rug approach of the Lebanese government can no longer work.Indeed, the current problem is a turning point for an issue that many believe has been 40 years in the making

.Lebanon’s civil war (1975-1990) put a freeze on any progress on waste management in the country.

After the end of the civil war, due to a combination of factors – arguably led by incompetence and corruption – the Lebanese government failed to develop a modern solution to manage the country’s waste, and resorted to burying it in landfills with little to no downstream processing.

The Lebanese government and the private contractor Sukleen, which was paid hundreds of millions of dollars to collect rubbish from Beirut and Mount Lebanon, acted little more than a “garbage taxi,” in the words of Ziad Abi Chaker, one of Lebanon’s leading environmental entrepreneurs.

Up to 80 percent of waste is buried, if we go with a 2014 report by the Regional Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise network in Mashreq and Maghreb countries, and little of the remaining 20 percent is recycled or composted.

Lebanon waste in brief Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Generation: – 2.04 million tonnes per year (2013)

Final destination of MSW:- Composted 15 % – Recycled 8 %- Landfilled 48 %- Openly Dumped 29 %Waste composition:- Organic 52.5 % – Paper/cardboard 16% – Plastics 11.5 % – Metal 5.5 % – Glass 3.5 % – Others 11 %

Cost of waste management:- Collection and transportation: $10-$31/tonne- Total cost including disposal: $20-$143/tonne (Source: SWEEPNet (2014)

It was only a matter of time for Lebanon, a tiny mountainous country, to run out of space for its waste. This is exactly what precipitated the current, mother of all garbage crises, when the government shut down the overfilled landfill in Naahmeh, the main dumping ground for the capital’s rubbish, under pressure from frustrated locals.

They had had enough with the smell and worrying reports of higher cancer rates near landfill sites. The Lebanese government was stumped.

Already in paralysis, and structurally incapable of thinking outside the box of traditional solutions, it could do little to resolve the problem as no other Lebanese region accepted to absorb the waste of the capital.

The Lebanese government scrambled to find an easy, quick-and-dirty solution. It even considered selling waste to Sweden, which incinerates garbage to produce hot water, but that quickly failed as Sweden requires rubbish to be sorted first.

The next-best solution was to try and bribe neglected Lebanese regions in the periphery to become the capital’s dumping grounds (for example the neglected province of Akkar up north), in return for development projects.

Experts have spoken to local television stations about the prospect of acid rain over Lebanon. When emissions from uncollected garbage merge with oxygen and moisture, they warned, they could turn into acid that will combine with water droplets during the fast-approaching wet season.

The Lebanese government’s mishandling of the issue eventually prompted protests by civil campaigners and activists, who have launched the #YouStink campaign.

The first few protests were small in scale but the continuation of the crisis and violent police reaction has rallied more and more Lebanese around the cause and against government incompetence in general.

YouStink anti-government protests drew thousands over the weekend  forcing the government to deploy hundreds of police. The police clashed with the peaceful protesters, using water cannons and even tear gas. Hundreds were reportedly wounded, triggering a new political crisis and calls for the government to step down.

But protesters have been criticised for raising maximalist demands and expecting too much from a government that has no popular mandate and whose main function has been to prevent Lebanon from exploding under pressure from the Syrian conflict.

A few during the protests called for “revolution” against the system, but many believe the protests should have a more specific, achievable goal.

Predictably, some in the Lebanese left have accused YouStink of not being radical enough.

Ziad Abi Chaker believes that not only there is a feasible solution to the garbage problem, but also that it would be simple to implement a sustainable, profitable and eco-friendly plan.

Recycling and composting, or as environmentalists put it the 3Rs – Recycle, Reuse, Reduce – would be at the heart of such a plan.

The solution starts at the level of individual citizens. If the Lebanese government is unrepresentative and works for the service of a corrupt political class as it is alleged, then it is only logical that ordinary people should take the initiative and not wait for their unelected rulers to act.

The simplest two things people can do is to sort their rubbish and reduce their consumption to produce less organic and solid waste.

Ziad Abi Chaker and a number of NGOs have been trying to raise awareness about this for some years now, and the latest crisis has helped their cause dramatically.

Back in January, Abi Chaker and activist Sobhiya Najjar launched a viral video campaign to persuade Lebanese households to sort organic and solid waste using separate black and blue bags. Existing recycling plants in Lebanon could already absorb a lot of solid waste, including glass and plastics Existing scavenger networks would then pick the blue bags and sort their contents further, and sell recyclable items to private-sector recycling businesses.

Abi Chaker told al-Araby al-Jadeed that existing recycling plants in Lebanon could already absorb a lot of solid waste, including glass and plastics. He says there are other types of waste that Lebanon’s existing infrastructure cannot handle, such as green glass, but points out that the main challenge is organic waste

But even this would not be too difficult for Lebanon to deal with.

Abi Chaker stresses it would not take more than a few years for plants to be built, during which part of the waste could be safely stored for later processing.

Naturally, a comprehensive national waste management plan would improve sorting at home and not rely on scavengers, but rudimentary sorting is a good start to reduce the volume of waste, Abi Chaker argues.

Lebanese citizens could also do a lot more by way of reducing their consumption. Abi Chaker and NGOs advocating the 3Rs have been asking Lebanese people and restaurants, notorious for wasting food, to reduce organic waste by both consuming less and trying to compost when possible.

People can also reduce their solid waste by reusing and repurposing instead of disposing of items like glass or using reusable items instead of disposable ones. Part of the problem has been giving too much power to one company such as Sukleen Bypassing ‘centralised corruption’ Part of the problem has been giving too much power to one company such as Sukleen to handle the waste of metropolitan Beirut and Mount Lebanon, where the bulk of Lebanon’s population is concentrated.

Ziad Abi Chaker and others have instead proposed decentralising rubbish collection and downstream processing by working with local municipalities.Municipalities, together with citizens and environmental NGOs, can handle the sorting and collection of waste and then sell it to private recycling businesses for some revenue that goes back into improving infrastructure.

Municipalities are more answerable to local constituencies, and comprehensive decentralisation has been a constant demand after the civil war as one way to achieve fairer and more balanced development and reduce corruption at the level of the central government.

Enter the state gargantuan task of waste management in Lebanon in a way that meets modern international standards cannot be handled by civil society and the private sector alone, though these must take the lead and waste management must have a solid grassroots bedrock. Waste management must have a solid grassroots bedrock Lebanon’s Ministry of Environment and the Council for Development and Reconstrution, a quasi-state body, have already developed studies and supposedly drafted national waste management plants.

But these join similar plans for public transport, energy and water resource management plans on the forgotten shelves of Lebanese bureaucracy.The Lebanese state’s role, according go Ziad Abi Chaker, is primarily to develop tax incentives, draft legal frameworks and act as a facilitator for waste management stakeholders. It is also hoped that the Lebanese state would help finance and build large recycling plants, especially to handle organic waste.

The problem here is that it is hard to expect politicians to greenlight a radical recycling-based approach to waste management.

Many of those in power and their direct associates allegedly have links to waste management businesses and see no direct benefit for their pockets to go the sustainable way.In fact, politicians now seem to be taking advantage of the snowballing YouStink movement not to heed their citizens’ demands, but to settle scores among themselves and promote half-baked solutions favouring their cronies.Eyes on the prize #YouStink must learn from the mistakes of previous protest movements in the country

The YouStink campaign offers some hope by way of putting public pressure on the government to change its usual approach. But the campaign must learn from the mistakes of previous protest movements in the country, most recently the struggle of the Unions Coordination Committee (UCC) to end a 10-year-old freeze on pay rises amid a cost of living crisis, if it wants to avoid failure and losing public support.

The UCC protest movement expanded its goals so broadly that it eventually lost focus on its main objective.Worryingly, some in YouStink are going on tangents about changing the entire system and replacing the entire political class. While few in Lebanon disagree with these demands, the struggle to resolve the garbage crisis in a sustainable way must remain focused on the issue at hand.

The protesters must sustain pressure on politicians collectively and refuse any solution they propose other than the recipe environmentalists have put forward: No dumping, no landfills and no incinerators. The objective must be kept specific, technical and apolitical, at least until a nationwide recycling-based waste management system is up and running, where the citizens – not the state – take the lead.

Otherwise, the outcome will be more chaos and no solution to the country’s garbage woes.As the saying in Lebanon goes, we want to eat grapes, not kill the vineyard guard.Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff. – See more at:

Brown spills, sewage dump…: Beirut, Na3meh, Khaldeh…

For over 15 years, Sukleen (one of the Hariri clan company) has been renewing its contract with the government without bidding procedures and used open air dumps for its garbage collection enterprise.

Sukleen has been charging the municipalities $140 a ton of garbage and paid directly from the municipality fund (like taxes on payrolls), while the few private providers allowed to work and independent municipalities with their own system are paying $40 a ton.

Saida had amassed a hill of garbage and the municipality is fooling us that this hill will become a green garden for the citizens, eventually.  With potential perspectives and architectural plans… to back it up.

In Na3meh, the people have been suffering from increased cancer problems, living in an environment of constant stench. They endeavored to sit-in and prevent any more trucks to empty garbage.  The government has again promised to resolve this problem within two years...

Brown spills of Khalde

It’s a nasty sewage dump- mainly flowing from southern Beirut, Khaldeh and the suburbs like Aramoun/Bchamoun/Choueifat…

Noticed most of your recent posts have to do with that short trip you took to Jordan- best way to learn about Lebanon is to leave it for a few days every couple of weeks- refreshes your perspective

In addition to the landfill crisis on Beirut’s streets–covered on this blog yesterday— there appears to be a heavy dose of brown stuff spewing into the Mediterranean near Beirut Airport, as seen in these pictures I took a couple of days ago.
You can see the runway at the top right. And the output point appears to be near a sea resort near Khalde, a few hundred meters before the Ouzai tunnel running underneath the tarmac.
Zooming in on the same area in Google Maps, the brown substance appears to come from very close to this resort, near a green area, before being flushed out to sea via a short canal:
Zoom out and you can see the extent of the damage across the coastline:

But these satellite images could be quite dated– in some parts of Beirut I have noticed Google earth images to be 2-3 years old.

Judging by my current airplane window shots, could this mean that the slime has been pumped out constantly for 3 years or even much longer?
No wonder Sidon and Khalde are not safe places to swim.

En reponse a M Nehmat Frem ce soir sur telelumiere qui a specule qu'uniquement 15% des libanais seraient capables de trier leurs dechets, j'aimerais preciser qu'entre les annees 1996 et 1998 les habitants de Bsharri furent les habitants du premier village au Liban a trier leurs dechets a la source (c.a.d chacun dans sa maison). En effet environ 80 % des habitants avaient participe au tri des dechets organise par le Comite de Sauvergarde de l'Environnement de Bsharri, projet que la municipalite de Bsharri avait malheureusement refuse de reprendre lors de sa reprise de pouvoir en 1998. Avec de la bonne volonte, de la patience et du courage, rien n'est impossible M. Frem.
In response to Ne3mat Frem who speculated that only 15% of Lebanese (meaning municipalities, baladiyat?) are able to sort out their garbage… I would like to remind M Frem that between 1996-98 the citizens of the town of Bsharreh were the first to sort out their garbage at the source, their homes.
Indeed, 80% of the inhabitants participated in the project Safeguarding the Environment Committee. Unfortunately, the next municipality refused to take up that project.
With will, patience and courage, nothing is impossible.
The French text posted by Habib Rahmet:
En reponse a M Nehmat Frem ce soir sur telelumiere qui a specule qu’uniquement 15% des libanais seraient capables de trier leurs dechets, j’aimerais preciser qu’entre les annees 1996 et 1998 les habitants de Bsharri furent les habitants du premier village au Liban a trier leurs dechets a la source (c.a.d chacun dans sa maison). En effet environ 80 % des habitants avaient participe au tri des dechets organise par le Comite de Sauvergarde de l’Environnement de Bsharri, projet que la municipalite de Bsharri avait malheureusement refuse de reprendre lors de sa reprise de pouvoir en 1998. Avec de la bonne volonte, de la patience et du courage, rien n’est impossible M. Frem.




February 2023

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