AUB-OSB professors burning to find better waste management solutions

​​Closure of a key landfill several years ago caused waste collection in Lebanon to screech to a halt and residents frequently resorted to open burning in order to deal with quickly accumulating garbage. Two AUB professors were recently awarded a 75, 000 Euros grant to help identify the public satisfaction from the progress of waste management initiatives and create a tailored recommendation for moving forward.

The team at the AUB Nature Conservation Center (AUB-NCC), led by Alain Daou, assistant professor of entrepreneurship at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) and Najat Aoun Saliba, director of the Nature Conservation Center and recent recipient of the 2019 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Award for Africa and the Arab States, plans to collect data on perceptions about solid waste management in Lebanon. 

The current crisis in Lebanon's waste management sector has placed unprecedented pressure on municipalities and community organizations to manage their own waste outputs. With the closure of the Naameh landfill in the summer of 2015, waste management by companies such as Sukleen came to a standstill or was severely limited across Lebanon. For parts of Lebanon inside Sukleen's service area of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, municipalities were suddenly faced with the challenge of managing their own waste while lacking the technical capacity to implement environmentally sound and sustainable waste management practices.

This study is part of a wider evaluation project that aims to identify the current status of the operation and service provision of 11 facilities to create a tailored recommendation framework based on up-to-date ground data.

“In order to improve the current services, it is key to understand the perception of end users on the quality of solid waste management in their area" noted Dr. Daou, “at the end of the day, end user inclusivity is a key component of any project and this includes the right to be heard, ensuring public feedback mechanisms and creating public education and awareness to ensure effective behavioral change". 

According to Dr. Aoun Saliba “No entity other than NCC is well prepared to conduct this public participatory approach to look into end-user inclusivity. We have pioneered in this work and have gained the trust of the community".