Disaster waste management challenges and enabling factors for strategic planning: the case of the Beirut Port explosion

Lara Al Tawil, May A Massoud*, Marco Bardus, Ibrahim Alameddine

*Corresponding author for this work

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Disasters occur in both developed and developing countries, generating large amounts of disaster waste including construction and demolition (C&D) waste that needs to be appropriately managed. While developed countries are capable of implementing adequate disaster waste management (DWM) strategies to facilitate their recovery processes, developing countries generally struggle to find the resources and expertise needed to develop such strategies. Lebanon is a developing country vexed by several systemic challenges that hindered its abilities to manage disaster waste. In this paper, we focus on the Beirut Port explosion (4 August 2020), which generated more than 800,000 tonnes of disaster wastes. This study first assesses the executed strategies and identifies their enabling factors and implementation challenges. It then proposes a framework for the proper management of disaster waste, which was validated through 18 in-depth interviews with experts and stakeholders involved in disaster management. Interview notes and transcripts were analyzed using an inductive-deductive process that allowed to identify themes using the constant comparative method. The data revealed that the main barriers toward implementing a successful DWM strategy were the absence of appropriate technologies, infrastructure, expertise, legislative framework and financial resources. The study concludes by proposing a DWM roadmap that includes contingency, risk reduction and implementation plans (IPs) that can enhance decision-making and ease the recovery process.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWaste Management and Research
Early online date4 Feb 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Feb 2023


  • Disaster waste
  • challenges
  • roadmap
  • developing countries


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