In his delivered word, Nazarian first assured that the Ministry of Energy, which will always assume its national responsibilities, had worked to improve the quality of gas emissions and reduce pollution levels by more than 80%.
"The measures we have taken will reduce the pollution that the inhabitants of the region suffer," he said.
A protest movement against Zouk power plant had kicked off Saturday, April 25, at a press conference with the President of Zouk Mikael Municipal Council, Nouhad Naufal, followed by a demonstration in front of the entrance of the plant. The demonstrators were protesting against the pollution that has a significant impact on their quality of life and health, but also against the expansion of the plant.
Nazarian said that Zouk power plant was strategic and critical for the electricity sector in Lebanon, ensuring that his department adopted the open door policy and welcomed all those who wished to complain.
"We want to be consulted to discuss problems and find solutions according to the laws and systems in place, especially as these problems are not new and had never been subject to any objection before," he said.
Finally, the Minister pointed out that his ministry and EDL were both performing their duties, but that "several projects are still on hold, pending the decisions of the Cabinet and parliamentary approval."
For his part, Hayek stressed that the Zouk plant was built in 1956 "in an industrial area."
"For 5 years, we have been working on the problem of pollution that the plant causes and we are open to all scientific proposals that could lead to a solution," he said.
He then assured the locals that the rate of emissions from the plant was measured daily, noting however that the filters in place were powerless against certain pollutants.
About the dense black smoke leaking from the factory exhaust towers, the CEO of EDL said that it was due to a failure of fans and that the rehabilitation of the factory would solve this issue.
"Some say the new plant does not comply with environmental standards, but we guarantee the opposite," he reiterated, concluding that the exhaust gases from cars carried more pollutants "because of the daily traffic jam between Nahr el-Kalb and Jounieh."