Lebanon's waste issue has long been gaining much local attention. Recently, Beit Mery Municipality has launched a campaign "No for plastic bags" to reduce the use of plastic bags in shops and supermarkets within the municipal area.
The municipality issued a memorandum signed by mayor Roy Abou Chedid, calling upon shops and supermarkets within the municipal area to stop using plastic bags. These bags, which are detrimental to the environment, must be replaced with tote bags carrying the logos of both the store and the municipality of Beit Mery.
Mayor Abou Chedid told Annahar that this new campaign complements the one initiated by the Municipality in 2016 for the waste treatment project, which has been treating since then waste from the source in a factory located in Beit Mery.
It was during the treatment process that the Beit Mery Municipality discovered how problematic large is the amount of plastic generated by the local shops and supermarkets.
Taking into serious consideration the high cost of recycling and the risk of its technologies in spreading carcinogens, the municipality has decided to enforce the reduction of plastic and nylon, hence the official memorandum to use tote bags instead.
The municipality launched its new campaign by distributing a number of tote bags to the local shops. These tote bags will be given for free for each purchase exceeding 50,000 Lebanese pounds (about $33).
On the other hand, plastic bags will still be available for the price of 250 LBP/bag (17 cents) for those who still wish to purchase them. The fees from these plastic bags will be used to finance the production of tote bags and constitute a financial incentive aiming at reducing the use of plastics.
This constructive endeavor is not the first of its kind in Lebanon. In July 2018, the municipality of Byblos headed by the mayor Wissam Zaarour also issued a decision calling upon shop owners to replace plastic bags with eco-friendly alternatives in accordance with the city’s environmental plan.
The municipality of Byblos followed its endeavor with a supporting campaign in December 2018, distributing eco-friendly tote bags to households within the parameters of the municipality.
The project aimed to raise environmental awareness and limit the use of plastic bags.
We highly commend the eco-friendly endeavors of both municipalities and invite all municipalities across Lebanon to do the same, and for our fellow citizens to comply. It is our Lebanon. We ought it as much.