Lebanese Volvo dealer AMTRAC is supplying Zahlé municipality with an L110F wheel loader in a bid to help alleviate the country’s waste crisis.

Lebanon is 12 months into a nationwide waste dilemma. The Middle Eastern country was thrown into an untidy mess last year, following the planned – but no less contentious – closure of its main waste treatment facility and largest landfill site in Na’ameh. With the cities and municipalities unable to deal with the volume of daily waste, trash soon began to pile up on the streets. A year later, the country is still struggling to cope.

The difficulty came as a result of the increase in waste entering Zahlé’s independent solid waste facility from neighboring towns and the rising number of displaced people settling in the area. Situated 55km (34mi) east of the capital Beirut, Zahlé is the third most populous city in Lebanon and home to approximately 150,000 inhabitants. Over the years, the city had attracted tourists thanks to its pleasant climate, numerous riverside restaurants and quality arak (an alcoholic spirit), and had even been dubbed ‘The city of wine and poetry’. Today the situation is far from poetic.

In January 2016, Volvo CE’s Lebanese dealer AMTRAC won a tender to provide a Volvo L110F wheel loader to help alleviate the problem. This came after the international NGO Mercy Corps invited sealed bids from interested parties in November 2015. Mercy Corps has been providing humanitarian and development assistance in Lebanon since 1993. Under the UK-funded Improved Networks Training and Jobs (INTAJ) program, Mercy Corps has been working with the Zahlé municipality to upgrade its solid waste sorting facility as part of an initiative to create jobs in the solid waste management and recycling industry.

Offering the best solution, AMTRAC was awarded the tender and has now delivered the machine to begin work at the Zahlé municipal solid waste treatment plant. The L110F is being used for multi-purpose applications, but its primary focus is feeding the sorting lines and loading trucks with rejects to dump in the on-site landfill.

Working with unsorted waste, from municipal and industrial sources puts an enormous amount of stress on the equipment. The machines are subject to heavy workloads and high pressure on their hydraulic systems. Therefore, the site required durably-designed equipment with protected components to maximize machine lifetime and minimize downtime.

With over 25 years’ experience in waste handling, Volvo CE was the natural choice for the job. All Volvo machines are designed to meet the industry’s high requirements for safety, dependability and cost efficiency.

The Volvo L110F wheel loader itself brings an impressive resume to this demanding job. Built to withstand even the harshest environments and extreme heat, the machine boasts high machine uptime and long service intervals. Some of the L110F’s standard features include the effective air filter system, engine-cooling system and well-protected electrical systems. These were essential factors, as the machine is required to operate 10-hour shifts, helping to move 250+ tonnes of waste each day.

Fast work cycles and smooth bucket movements help to make light of heavy work. The Volvo TP-Linkage combines high breakout torque with parallel lift throughout the entire lifting range, making it easy to load the bucket and reduce spillage. In addition, user-friendly hydraulic controls, good visibility and great comfort make the operators’ lives easier and safer. The Volvo L110F provides the optimal combination of performance, fuel economy and environmental care.

“A fast delivery period and, of course, Volvo CE’s good reputation and product performance were the main reasons that we were able to win this tender,” explains Anthony Abdelmassih from AMTRAC’s management team, who submitted the winning bid. “We were awarded the tender, which I think says a lot about our products and service. The benefits of this project were two-fold: it was a great opportunity to give something back to the region and to help it recover, and to help us stay ahead in the waste treatment segment.”

“Currently, the landfill is serving 24 municipalities, plus 23 companies and industries in the area,” says Rami Nassif, mechanical engineer and head of the technical division of MORES, a consulting firm overseeing the operations. “The site is put under immense strain every day, so anything that can be done to help take some of the weight off is welcomed. Creating a sustainable system to manage the trash within our country is crucial for so many reasons. Our natural resources’ and people’s safety and health are, without a doubt, the main concern. Additionally, the ramifications of the waste crisis discourage tourism and investment, which in turn affects the county’s economy. The sooner we can put an end to this crisis, the better.”