BEIRUT: A ministerial report calling for the construction of waste-treatment centers in the Batroun district was bitterly disputed by Telecoms Minister Boutros Harb Friday.

“The city and people of Chekka have suffered for decades from a dangerous environmental problem,” Harb said.

Chekka suffers from the “highest cancer prevalence rate in Lebanon” due to the fact that it has become an industrial zone, the minister added in a statement.

“You can’t solve Lebanon’s waste problem at the cost of a city and the health of its people.”

A ministerial report drafted by a committee tasked with overseeing waste treatment called the construction of a landfill in the northern town of Chekka. Two waste-treatment centers in the area would also be constructed, the report suggested, saying that an estimated 1,000 tons of solid waste would be sorted and composted a day. The waste-treatment centers would utilize and manufacture “refuse-derived fuel” – produced by shredding and dehydrating municipal waste such as plastics.

Harb warned that the people of Chekka wouldn’t stand for the decision, while stressing that he would take their side in opposing the move.

The minister’s rejection of the report prompted the drafting committee to reconsider the location of their project.

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