Sustainable Environmental Practices and Policies (SEPP) Program
Sustainable Environmental Practices and Policies (SEPP) Program. Project Awarded by UN-HABITAT in 2010
The overall goal of the SEPP program was to improve environmental practices and policies for the management of both solid waste and waste water in rural Lebanon. In the area of environmental practices, the project established one solid waste treatment plant (SWTP) serving 56 villages and nine wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) serving 10 villages. The facilities have greatly improved waste management capabilities in the Bekaa Valley (South-East) and in South Lebanon (The Caza of Tyre).
Before the project, no public plan for waste treatment existed in the targeted regions. Natural water sources were often contaminated by sewage and children were frequently ill due to poor water quality. Solid waste was burned in open-air pits or buried in landfills without proper oversight. There was no recycling and waste disposal was causing conflict between communities.
There was a social priority to improve health, reduce the number of mosquitoes and flies in the towns, eliminate bad smells from over-flowing septic tanks, stop disputes among neighbours over waste problems, and develop a sense of democratic participation in addressing public issues.
Secondly, there was an environmental priority to eliminate principal sources of fresh water contamination, reduce harmful effects of solid waste pollution, and increase awareness on environmental issues especially among women, youth, and students.
Finally, there was an economic priority to increase funding for municipal governments, increase development in small communities, encourage ecotourism, and create jobs.
In response to the priorities listed above, the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Beirut, drafted three main objectives:
- Physical Infrastructure for Solid Waste and Waste Water Management: The YMCA will build 9 wastewater treatment and 1 solid waste treatment facilities using simple, low-cost and low-maintenance technologies.
- Dissemination of Knowledge on Environmental Management Practices: The YMCA will conduct a comprehensive environmental education program to strengthen the capacity of municipalities and local communities in environmental management.
- Policy Dialogue on Environmental Management: The YMCA will implement an ambitious high-visibility policy dialogue to re-direct national policies on waste management from centralized approaches to locally appropriate and cost-effective technologies. te and cost-effective technologies.
Referring to the physical Infrastructure for Solid Waste and Waste Water Management, the water treatment plants use 3 types of reliable, low cost, low maintenance technologies that directly benefit 13,000 people. All the centers were built with 50% cost-sharing by the local municipalities to develop long-term sustainability.
The solid waste center serves all 56 villages in the Tyre region (approximately 300,000 people) with a capacity to process 150 tons per day. The center collects all recyclable materials and turns the remaining organic waste into compost.
For the objective of dissemination of Knowledge on Environmental Management Practices, the YMCA launched a a 3-year environmental awareness campaign on sustainable waste management, to increase the visibility and long-term success of the project. The target of the campaing were women, youth, and students. The effort benefitted 10,000 students and teachers in 94 schools, 88 municipalities and communities, and more than 50 NGOs, women's groups and institutions.
Finally, to work for a Policy Dialogue on Environmental Management The YMCA organized meetings with government ministries, municipalities and representatives of the private sector on waste management in rural areas. This included tours of waste treatment sites and a roundtable discussion.
The municipalities provided key political and administrative resources in the social awareness campaigns and the discussions on government policy. The municipalities were key players in organizing the local communities and providing opportunities for debate and discussion with local stakeholders.
In terms of technical resources, the YMCA enlisted multiple consultants to provide environmental assessments, design and build the treatment centers, monitor the performance of new systems, and provide recommendations for future projects.
YMCA Environment Department
Delta Center, 3rd Floor,
Horsh Tabet, Sin el Fil
Mailing Address: PO Box 55-570 Sin El-Fil Beirut 2706-510
Phone: +961(0)1 490 640 / +961(0)1 490 685
Category: Sustainability and environment