Cooking up opportunities: West Bekaa can experience a “sizzling success” by recycling used cooking oil.

Improper disposal of used cooking oil can have severe consequences for the environment and wildlife. When poured down sinks or drains, it contaminates water bodies, forming a thick layer that blocks sunlight and oxygen from reaching aquatic organisms. This leads to decreased oxygen levels, harming fish and other aquatic life. Additionally, the toxic substances in used cooking oil can contaminate water sources, posing health risks to wildlife and humans alike. Birds are particularly vulnerable, as oil-coated feathers impair their ability to fly and regulate body temperature.

The effects of oil pollution can persist long-term, continuing to harm ecosystems and wildlife. Moreover, cooking oil can disrupt the treatment process in municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) by forming clogs in pipes and interfering with biological treatment. This reduces treatment efficiency, increases maintenance costs, and can lead to untreated wastewater being released into the environment. Proper disposal methods and recycling initiatives are crucial to mitigate these impacts and protect the environment.

An initiative has been launched to address environmental concerns related to oil pollution in the West Bekaa area, especially the village linked to the Joub Jannine WWTP, with the aim of improving WWTP efficiency, safeguarding water resources, and protecting wildlife in the region. As part of this effort, barrels are being distributed to households for collecting used cooking oil and other oil waste. An awareness campaign is also underway to educate residents about proper disposal methods for oil waste and emphasize its negative impact on the environment while promoting responsible disposal practices.
The Fish and Wildlife Unit has played a crucial role by providing expertise on the impact of oil pollution on aquatic ecosystems as well as guidance on conservation practices to mitigate effects on local wildlife.
To ensure the success of the initiative, collection points have been established in easily accessible locations, and partnerships have been formed with municipalities to facilitate participation. The ultimate goal is to reduce oil contamination in the area and minimize its impact on the environment.
Collected oil will be responsibly transported to recycling facilities, relieving pressure on the WWTP, and making treatment processes more efficient. Ongoing monitoring will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of such actions.

This analysis aids in identifying areas for improvement while offering potential expansion opportunities into regions facing similar challenges.