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.