Report by Michella Sassine
Translation by Rasha Zantout
NNA - The environmental issue is back to the forefront in Batroun and its surroundings, and this time the concern comes from Koura, particularly the town of Kefraya which is tightly linked to the neighboring Batroun towns of Chekka and Al Heri, especially after the Environment Ministry issued a decree allowing the incineration of expired medicine in the ovens of Holcim Company, bypassing the authority of concerned municipalities, which in turn categorically rejected the decision.
Head of the Environmental Protection Committee in Chekka, Pierre Abi Chahine, told the National News Agency that in 2013 there was a "failed experience with Holcim Company, which attempted to burn five tons of medicaments, but turned out to have burnt forty tons instead of medicines and corrupt material."
"I visited the mayor of the North, Ramzi Nohra, who formed a committee of advisors to study places for the incineration of medicines at the company, and I informed him that there is a circular issued by PM Foad Siniora which forbids advisors from being part of any committee. The mayor’s response was that he wants to apply the law."
According to Abi Chahine, the environment law 444 in article 12 says that only the Cabinet is allowed to give permits in grave environmental issues, and any other decision issued by the Environment Ministry or a mayor is not valid.
"The decision of the municipalities of Kefraya, Chekka and Al Heri to reject the burning of medicines and corrupt material in the ovens of Holcim Company has been taken to Deputy Speaker Farid Makari, Minister Boutros Harb and MP Antoine Zahra, all of whom refused said incineration."