The streets of Beirut are finally getting cleared of the heaps of trash that have mounted ever since Lebanon’s largest landfill closed nearly a year ago.
The country temporarily opened three landfills to address the problem. But what will happen next? Lebanon’s garbage crisis has many people thinking about better ways to recycle and manage the things we toss away.
The people speak
Mountains of trash
Packed for transport
“All for the country”
Public health concern
Looking to solutions
One “waste to energy” idea for Lebanon — and other parts of the world — comes from Tom Henderson of the design firm Arcadis. He visited Lebanon in April 2016 to discuss the waste disposal system that he helped design in Florida that combines recycling with electric power generation.
Much of the trash at the Florida facility never ends up in a landfill because it can either be recycled or used to generate electricity. A giant, claw-shaped grapple scoops the nonrecyclable garbage into boilers, which produce steam that turns turbines and generates electrical power. Advanced scrubbers minimize air pollution while methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is collected from the landfill and used to generate additional electricity.
The facility in Florida keeps 3,000 tons, or 90 percent, of trash from the landfill every day and converts it into enough electricity to power 40,000 homes and businesses.
“The primary purpose of these facilities is to eliminate the need for a landfill,” Henderson said.
This article draws on reports from the Associated Press.