The United States Embassy Beirut is hosting waste-to-energy expert Thomas Henderson as part of activities for Earth Day and in support of the Global Sustainable Development Goals, the embassy said on Thursday.

“Henderson is in Lebanon from April 6 to 10 to share his 37 years of experience in the field of waste management with government, municipality, and civil society representatives. He will also deliver a lecture for industrial engineering students at Lebanese American University,” the embassy said in a statement.

Earlier on Thursday, Henderson and embassy representatives met with Sidon municipal chief Mohammed al-Saoudi.

“They discussed waste management concerns and how the municipality has approached finding waste management solutions. The discussion was followed by a tour at the waste management plant,” the embassy said.

The visit comes in the wake of an unprecedented waste disposal crisis that gripped Lebanon for around eight months and saw streets, forests and riverbeds overflow with garbage.

Last month, workers began removing tons of accumulated rubbish under a controversial government plan that involves a two-month reopening of the Naameh landfill and the setting up of two new landfills in Khalde and Bourj Hammoud. The Sidon waste management plant will also be used to treat part of Beirut’s garbage.

Civil society activists and environmental experts have lashed out at the new plan, warning that it does nothing to allay their ecological concerns.

“The idea of taking the rubbish and dumping it in landfills — this is how the crisis started in the first place. So they (authorities) are basically ignoring the crisis of the past eight months, pretending like nothing happened, and taking us back to square one,” environmental and industrial engineer Ziad Abi Chaker has said.

He explained that Lebanon could in fact recycle up to 90 percent of its waste.

But “there’s a corruption dimension … There is no huge money to be made out of recycling. The only way to make crazy money is with another corrupt contract,” Abi Chaker said.

“The cherry on the cake is that after the four years, we will have incineration — I don’t know if you can call this a plan, because it certainly has nothing to do with planning.”

Activists from the “You Stink” movement and other groups have also demanded long-term solutions, including investment in recycling and the transfer of waste management duties to municipalities.

The movement has in recent months led a string of protests that has seen thousands of people taking to the streets, accusing the government of mismanagement and corruption, and even calling for its downfall.

Below is Thomas Henderson’s biography, as provided by the U.S. embassy:

“Mr. Thomas Henderson is principal management consultant at Arcadis, the leading global design & consultancy firm for natural and built assets. He has more than 37 years of experience in developing and managing large Waste-To-Energy (WTE) facilities and integrated solid waste management systems. Mr. Henderson has served as a project manager on WTE facilities with more than 10,500 tons per day (tpd) of waste and 307 MW of electrical generating capacity. These facilities have successfully combusted more than 62 million tons of municipal solid waste over a combined 72 years of operation. His experience includes the planning, design, permitting, financing, construction, startup, and operation of projects including transfer stations, landfills, material recovery facilities and waste-to-energy facilities.”