Al-Akhbar: Al-Naameh landfill is exposed to a disaster similar to the harbor earthquake

Last Thursday, City Blue told its employees to leave work inside the Naameh landfill, after their task was to vent the landfill and burn the gases emitted from it, get rid of waste juice and take care of the grass planted on the landfill, which is estimated at 291,000 square meters, in the event of a fire. With this decision, the landfill has become a time bomb that threatens the lives of the residents in its vicinity. As the gases emitted from it stop being vented or burned, the possibility of ignition and spontaneous explosions can wipe out nearby residential areas and become an immediate danger, in addition to the dangers resulting from the leakage of waste sap into the ground with its toxic substances and heavy metals

The Naameh landfill case is one of the most prominent corruption cases. It shows how the nepotism state turns its back on smoothly once the file becomes financially unprofitable. Thus, the landfill, which has operated for more than 18 years, is left unchecked.

Since last February, after the end of its contract with the state and the evacuation of the landfill, Sukleen has kept about 10 of its employees inside the landfill to carry out maintenance work. Their mission is to take care of the gas network, which used to generate electricity for free and around the clock for 7 generators, benefiting the areas surrounding the landfill that were damaged by its construction, according to a cabinet decision in 2016.

After a year of operating these generators, Sukleen handed them over to the Electricité du Liban, on the condition that it would feed the surrounding areas free of charge. However, generators and free electricity soon disappeared. The workers, who were receiving their salaries from Sukleen, returned to their old task of getting rid of the emitted gases by burning them, as the gas network is connected to underground pipes and open through regretts that workers use to vent the gases that collect inside the landfill, in addition to extensions for 4 flasks (burners) whose mission is to burn These gases via pressure watches located underground. The workers do the burning and venting twice a day, an average of 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours at night.

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In addition to incineration and venting, the task of Sukleen workers includes handling the waste leachate by transporting it from the gathering area called “Fife” to the refinery, which contains 6 swamps. From there, workers draw the juice to a large mixer to mix it with large tons of lime before the tankers transfer it to the Ghadir River. They also took care of the grass that was planted on the area of ​​the landfill, which is estimated at 291,000 square meters, and dealt with any fire incident that might occur. The workers realize that the outbreak of any fire, no matter how small, means a real disaster. Therefore, they would mobilize in the winter if lightning struck the gas pit, which quickly ignited, to throw dirt on bulldozers into the heart of the pits to cut off the air from it and put out the fires. In the summer, the grass that covers the landfill is prone to ignition because it is not irrigated, given that it needs millions of liters of water. Therefore, Suklin fenced the landfill to prevent anyone from entering it for fear of throwing flammable materials.

“Sukleen” kept its workers because of their experience in dealing with the landfill, despite the expiry of its contract with the state, after the Council for Development and Reconstruction failed to agree with a company that manages the maintenance work of the landfill, according to the conditions book. Some companies that rejected the council’s offer indicated that the agreement provided for the maintenance of the landfill and an agreement with companies specialized in generating electricity from gases in return for payment in pounds or through bank checks.

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On November 11, City Blue Company took over the maintenance work suddenly, without signing an official contract with the Council for Development and Reconstruction. All that happened was a visit by the company’s official in the Choueifat area, Issam Al-Hajjar, accompanied by one of the officials in the council, Samer Selim, in the presence of the general manager of “Sukleen” Ayman Jaafar and the person in charge of the consulting company Lacico (working to monitor maintenance work according to a contract signed with the state). ) Joseph Algol. The agreement stipulated that the 10 workers who were working for “Sukleen” in the landfill will move to “City Blue”, which will undertake the maintenance work.

Thus, things returned to their normal course, just as the waste sap that was thrown into the Naameh River and from there to the sea without refining or treating it. The next day, City Blue paid a contractor to transport the leachate to transport it to the Ghadir River. This is what happened for a whole week, before City Blue informed its employees of the need to leave work inside the landfill last Thursday without revealing the reasons, although some indicate that the reason is a dispute within the Council for Development and Reconstruction, between those who want to sign the contract with City Blue. » It is rejected. While those responsible for this file refuse to disclose the real reasons.

In the end, the landfill, like other random landfills, turned into a real danger threatening the surrounding population, especially since the workers did not perform the task of venting it and burning the gases emitted from it for 5 days, i.e. a total of 40 hours. In addition, the waste leachate that accumulates in the Fife area will seep into the soil and water, knowing that the rate of leachate that accumulates in the swamps daily is 340 tons.

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This prompted many residents of Al-Naameh area – Haret Al-Naameh and the surrounding areas to raise their voice yesterday for fear of an explosion similar to that of the port and endangering their lives.

Environmental expert Naji Qudeih confirms that gases are still emitted at high rates from the landfill, even if they reached their peak in the last stage, warning that the presence of gases in an airy medium in a closed and pressurized area underground and then mixing with air at a rate of 5 to 15% turns it into a mixture capable of The risks of spontaneous combustion and localized explosions increase with the large size of the compressed space, especially with the absence of personnel who can deal with such emergency accidents.

Qudeih warned that the possibility of fire accidents and explosions inside the landfill “is very large, threatening great dangers to the surrounding residential area, in addition to environmental risks to public health and the environment due to the emission of toxic gases, especially since the mixture of these gases is of unknown composition.” He stressed that “it is not permissible for the landfill to be left unmanaged until the gas leakage ends.”

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