Lebanon Businessnews News

Rules for determining ecological impact set
Nasraoui said procedures must not
hinder the operations of industrialists
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The Ministry of Environment has set guidelines for the assessment of the environmental impact of public and private projects. The ministry issued a decree in early August in which it determined the steps to be followed in performing an Environment Impact Assessment.

The environmental impact assessment is an official requirement for obtaining a license to initiate certain activities, mainly industrial projects, irrigation, sewerage, agricultural, and sanitation projects.

George Nasraoui, president of the Syndicate of Foodstuff Industries (SLFI) said this step is very important for protecting the environment, “but it should not be allowed to obstruct the performance of industrialists.” He said environmental impact assessments entail additional financial costs that are paid for by industrialists.

“The environmental impact assessment requires new machines and equipments, and larger investments,” Nasraoui said. He said the government should start by performing environmental impact studies for public projects before asking the private sector to do so. He also said the government should rehabilitate infrastructure before taking such decisions.

According to the decree, an application needs to be submitted requesting an environmental classification from the Ministry of Environment which classifies each project based on its anticipated environmental impact. If the ministry decides that the project requires an environmental impact assessment, the project owner will have to carry out a study.

Raphael Debbane, chairman of the agriculture committee at the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon said: “Lebanon should be more advanced environmentally, but such procedures should not take too much time to be processed, otherwise they would delay project implementation.”

Debbane said environmental impact studies are as necessary for agricultural projects as they are for industrial enterprises: “Agricultural projects should take into account the amount of chemical fertilizers used.”

Reported by Rania Ghanem
Date Posted: Aug 28, 2012
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