Monthly Archives: December 2015

The water we are drinking

Source: Al Akhbar

In November 2014, Health Minister Abu Faour declared that the condition of food and water sanitation in Lebanon as catastrophic. Abu Faour revealed that there are around 800 water companies that are not licensed and that 90% of this water contained sewage. Following this announcement, Abu Faour ordered the closure of all unlicensed water companies selling bottled potable water. Today, over a year after this announcement, Industry Minister Hajj Hasan and Health Minster Abu Faour announced that “more than 80 percent of Lebanon’s potable water doesn’t meet health standards” in a joint news conference. Abu Faour also stated that the majority of the water samples taken are from unlicensed water companies.

Had the Ministry enforced their decision 13 months ago to shut down those unlicensed water companies, the situation today would have been different. In Abu Faour’s latest press conference, he stated that by the beginning of 2016 all water companies that don’t meet the health standards will be shut down. Given Lebanon’s history, it is hard not to be skeptical. However, one can still hope that the public’s health as a high priority will lead to government action this time around.

Lebanon’s contribution to the Paris Conference on climate change

Source: Washington Post

For the past two weeks, world leaders have been meeting in the suburbs of Paris for the 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (COP21). The main objective of the conference is “to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.” For over 20 years, countries have failed to reach a legally binding agreement over climate change until COP21. Nations at the conference agreed to keep global temperatures rising more than 2˚C from pre-industrial levels by 2100, with an aspiration not to let it rise more than 1.5˚C. In order to achieve this, countries have agreed to set emission reduction targets every five years. The deal also stipulates that developed countries should financially assist developing countries in reducing their emissions. No figure has been put but developed countries had previously pledged $100 billion a year for 5 years. Only certain parts of the agreement are legally binding, mostly reporting of emission reductions. The emission reduction targets set by each country are still voluntary. Continue reading