The case of the Eden Rock Resort and EIA framework in Lebanon (UPDATE)

Update: The Shura council reversed two of its previous decisions to halt the construction permit of the Eden Resort at Beirut’s Ramle El Baida beach. The Shura Council’s first decision was based on number of legal violations related to land and environmental regulations. Until now, no explanation has been given on why the Council decided to change its mind, putting into question the independence of the judiciary in the country.

For more information on the previous rulings and how it impacts environmental legislation:

Image result for eden resort beirut construction ramlet el baida

Source: The Daily Star

A Lebanese Urgent Matters Judge issued a court order to halt the construction of the Eden Rock Resort on Ramlet El Baida beach in Beirut or pay fine of a 150 million Lebanese Pounds (US$ 100,000) for every day the order is violated. The issue was brought to the court by the plaintiffs (Green Line Association and Legal Agenda) after the developer refused to abide by the two previous two Shura Council rulings. Continue reading

Another legal environmental win for Lebanon

Image result for ramlet bayda beach eden rock lebanon

Source: Firas Bou Zeineddine/Facebook

Yesterday, the Shura Council ordered a temporary one month stop to the construction of a resort on the Rablet El Baida Beach in Beirut. This case was brought to the Council by Green Line Association and the Legal Agenda on November 11, 2016. The plaintiff’s case was based on the lack of adherence to land and environmental regulations, misrepresentation of information to the Higher Council of Urban Planning, and the citizen’s right to the sea. Continue reading

Environmental justice makes a rare appearance in Lebanon

Image result for costa brava landfill birds lebanon

Source: Lebanese National News Agency

On January 31st 2017, a Lebanese court ordered the permanent closure of the Costa Brava landfill in four months. The issue was brought to a court by a group of plaintiffs that consisted of lawyers and civilians living near the landfill. The landfill was ordered to be closed to preserve a healthy environment and to protect the safety of the passengers that use the only international airport in the country. Continue reading

Update: What is happening in Costa Brava?

Source: L’Orient Le  Jour

Over the past few days, photos of hunters on the coast and dead seagulls have emerged on social media. Acting under the instructions of the Middle East Airlines chairman, these hunters were dispatched to the outskirts of the airport to shoot down the increasing seagull population which it seems have been attracted to waste accumulated at the site of the new Costa Brava landfill. The chairman stated in a television interview that the hunting will resume until “the government initiates solutions.” Continue reading

More alarming data on health implications of Lebanon’s waste crisis

Image result for trash burning lebanon

Source: Daily Star

The waste crisis that started in July 2015 has still not been fully resolved. In March 2016, eight months after the crisis, the government announced a new solid waste management plan for Beirut and Mount and Lebanon. The government tried to develop more than one solution but eventually agreed on maintaining the same solid waste management principle that created this crisis which is based on landfilling. As explained in a blog post last June, the process of selecting the locations for the proposed landfills was not transparent, lacked basic environmental selection criteria and seemed to be purely dependent on political bargaining. Despite public resistance, two new landfills in Bourj Hammoud and Costa Brava (south of Beirut) are being constructed to receive the bulk of the waste that used to be disposed of in the Naameh landfill. Continue reading

Will renewable energy fix Lebanon’s electricity problems?

Image result for lebanon solar power beirut river

Source: BRSS Lebanon

Lebanon’s electricity sector has never fully recovered from the civil war which ended 26 years ago. During this time, the national electric company, Electircité du Liban’s (EDL) economic losses have been signficanly high, reaching $USD 2.2  billion in 2012, about 20% of GDP. . As of 2012, EDL was producing 1,500 MW of electricity. Electricity consumption exceeds the total produced by 900  MW, which is 60% more than what is being produced. There are also negative environmental externalities from this sector. Residents of Jiyyeh and Zouq have long complained about the pollution caused by the power plants in the two areas. Continue reading

Air pollution and the lack of environmental data in Lebanon

Image result for air pollution lebanon zouk

Source:Blog Baladi

A major problem with not monitoring environmental indicators regularly, such as the case of Lebanon, is that the severity of an environmental problem is never clear. For example, there is a general consensus in Lebanon that pollution is high. There are various studies that measure the pollution in certain areas, but continuous national data that has been collected over a long period time that shows the level of pollution is either non-existent or inaccessible. Continue reading