Industrial waste management is a major problem in Lebanon which has exacerbated in recent years. Unlike other MENA countries, Lebanon is blessed with an abundant supply of freshwater resources but most of the water bodies in the country are highly polluted, primarily due to reckless discharge of untreated industries wastes. Due to the lack of wastewater treatment facilities, large amounts of industrial wastes, both solid industrial effluents and industrial wastewater are discarded directly into lakes, rivers, sea as well as on land.
The major polluting industries in Lebanon are food processing, cement, textiles, minerals, chemical products, metal fabrication and agriculture. According to conservative estimates, 70% of freshwater sources in Lebanon are exposed to untreated sewage from domestic and industrial sectors which has led to dangerously high levels of microbial contamination of water bodies.
The northern city of Tripoli has the highest reported cases of freshwater contamination while Nahr Ibrahim River and Litani River are regarded as the two most polluted rivers in Lebanon. In addition, there is restriction on the use of Qaraoun Lake for fishing because of the presence of heavy metal from industrial effluents.
There is an urgent need to implement industrial waste treatment strategies and adopt modern practices to treat and recycle industrial wastes as well as industrial wastewater, in order to ensure a sustainable future for Lebanon.