Monthly Archives: September 2014

A primer on the Dalieh controversy on Beirut’s coast

Lebanon’s real estate market is one of the most lucrative in the country. The limited amount of land and the high level of foreign capital, particularly the remittances from the Lebanese living abroad, have all contributed to very high prices of property and land. This is especially evident in the capital Beirut and along the coast.

Over the past few months a piece of land on the coast of Beirut, adjacent to the iconic pigeon rocks, has caused a lot of commotion. For decades this land, called the Dalieh, was an open space that people used for various activities. A couple years ago it was lauded in the press as a “true example of utilized public space”. Makeshift cafes were operating on the strip and fishermen had built houses there since the 1950s. Continue reading

Hopes for Lebanon’s electricity sector are dimming

Source: Gino's Blog

Source: Gino’s Blog

For the past month, Lebanon has been suffering from nation-wide blackouts as electricity rationing has gotten worse. Power outages longer than the scheduled 3-hour cuts since 2006 are becoming more and in the capital Beirut while other areas of the country are much worse off. Some towns and municipalities have taken matters into their own hands. The municipality Barouk in the Chouf Mountains for example has partnered with private entrepreneurs to install 4 power generating stations and a brand new network to provide electricity to the town. The homes in the town now have 2 meters, 1 for the barely functioning government electricity and another for the municipality’s generator. Continue reading

Smoke from flawed agriculture practices covers Lebanon’s north


Source: Kingshay

Every year Lebanese farmers trim their pear and other fruit trees in mid September to prepare for the apple season. During this period, the farmers have developed a habit of burning the agricultural waste produced during the trimming process t as a way of disposing of them. This results in white smoke covering the skyline over many villages in the north and residents complaining about the practice. Some are suggesting adopting more environmentally sound methods, such as using the waste as fertilizer.

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Unsustainable waste disposal practices have all contributed to the larger waste problem of Lebanon. One way to help alleviate this problem is to make use of the agricultural waste instead of throwing it away. There are already businesses that buy recycled plastic and metal and it seems reasonable to assume that creating industries that use agricultural waste could be a profitable way to get rid of this waste. The agricultural fibers found in the waste could be used to create paper or construction materials such as load bearing walls. Cogeneration facilities could create electricity and steam from a wide range of agricultural waste such as pits from fruits and tree prunings. There are many other examples around the world. Of course to implement such industries, a lot of research will need to be conducted to determine the most suitable use of the agricultural waste produced in Lebanon. Considering the local state of the economy and environment, now is the perfect opportunity to undertake such ventures.

Will additional freshwater resources really solve Lebanon’s water problems?


Source: Skyscraper City

The Lebanese government is considering the possibility of extracting fresh water from springs under the Chekka Bay. The proposal to the government was submitted by the Civic Influence Hub, the lobby group behind the Blue Gold Project. According to the proposal the water extracted from the sea will help alleviate the country’s water shortage and reduce extraction of groundwater from the inland. The cost of this project is estimated at $472,000 and would take about 42 days to complete. The project entails an assessment of the springs to be conducted with the Lebanese Navy, cleaning the sea floor, pumping soil out of the area and installing water capture devices on the sea floor and a pumping station to deliver water inland. Dr. Nadim Farajalla, an environmental hydrologist at the American University of Beirut, argued that although the springs are a good source of water, reducing water waste (fixing pipes and preventing people from washing sidewalks) would be a cheaper alternative. Continue reading

Environmental prosecutor: a first step towards environmental accountability in Lebanon


Source: MintPress News

Residents of Iqlim al Kharoub in the South of Lebanon have accused truck drivers of disposing waste from Beirut along the roadsides of various towns of North of Sidon and causing adverse impacts to the environment. The towns of Jadra, Jiyyeh, Rmeileh, Wardanieh, Sibline, and Barja claim to have been facing this problem for a while but lack of accountability is preventing a solution. The affected municipalities are therefore filing a lawsuit with the public prosecutor in hope that the perpetrators will be stopped. Continue reading