The Daily Star
Residents of Aley’s Ain Dara Municipality gathered outside the Industry Ministry demanding it revoke the license of a controversial planned cement factory Thursday. At the protest, Ain Dara Mayor Fouad Heidamous accused businessman Pierre Fattoush, who owns the factory, of “illegally obtaining money, destroying the region’s environment and polluting its water,” according to the state-run National News Agency. He added Ain Dara was ranked the 11th most polluted area in Lebanon as a result of quarries and crushers, citing a recent report by NGO Green Globe.
Heidamous appealed to Industry Minister Wael Abou Faour to take a “historic stance” by revoking the planned factory’s license.
Fattoush caused a stir in 2017 when he pushed ahead with plans to build a cement factory in Ain Dara, despite local opposition to the project for environmental reasons.
In a statement released in response to the protest, Fattoush’s Al Arz Cement company said the Industry Ministry had issued the license in compliance with the law, and that the factory would be within “environmental provisions specified by local and international law.”
In 2017, Fattoush claimed around 25 unlicensed quarries were operating in the same area, “but the mayor [Heidamous] is only targeting and criticizing Fattoush, who is working legally.”