Last week, the Minister of Environment blamed building violations for the “unacceptable” condition of of El Ghadir River, claiming that one of the sources of pollution is sand washers and called for an investigation to determine the full impact the washers have on the river.
The National Center for Marine Sciences Research Center released an update of their previous study on beach pollution. Last October, the results of a sea pollution study were disclosed to the public and two days ago the results were updated with data from May 2016.It is important to note that what was released was a description of the results and not the actual results. The methodology of the study, such as which pollutants were measured, the actual level of each pollutant and the criteria used to judge their level of acceptability have not been disclosed. This information is necessary to properly understand the types and level of pollution. The following figure is an info graphic published by the press indicating the environmental condition of various locations of the Lebanese coast.
It is no secret that Lebanon’s water resources are in bad condition. A couple of years ago, two studies showed high concentrations of heavy metals and other dangerous pollutants in the Hasbani River and Lower Litani River Basin. Recently, farmers in South Lebanon complained that the water quality of the Litani River was destroying their crops. Villagers from North Lebanon complained of illnesses spreading due to the increased pollution at the Al-Fawar River and a large number of dead fish were found in the Qaraoun Lake. Continue reading
Last week, the Minister of Agriculture approved the logging of 33,000 trees to build the controversial Janna Dam along Ibrahim River located in Mount Lebanon. The dam aims to store approximately 90 million cubic meters of water and generate four megawatts of energy. It is one of the 55 water infrastructure projects that the Ministry of Energy and Water have proposed to build by 2020 as part of their National Water and Strategy issued in 2012. It will cost around US$ 1 billion. Continue reading
One of the ten interventions planned by the municipal election campaign Beirut Madinati targets Beirut’s large water, sewerage, and electricity infrastructure. Lebanon has major infrastructure and structural problems that prevent it from providing an adequate supply of clean water, and electricity as well as sewerage treatment services. This has lead to high costs on the Lebanese Government and people. There are also serious adverse environmental impacts. Wastewater is disposed to the sea with no treatment and the thousands of unregulated private generators have decreased Beirut’s air quality. Continue reading
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.
The current political crisis in Lebanon has crippled the parliament, which has failed to convene in over a year. This has affected the whole country, but particularly the public sector. Among the outstanding issues that need to be discussed and ratified by the parliament, is a dam project located in the town of Bisri in South Lebanon. The dam will be funded by a $474 million loan from the World Bank, the largest loan the World Bank has ever given to Lebanon. In addition to the World Bank loan, the Islamic Development Bank will fund $128 Million and the Lebanese government will invest $15 million. If not approved, the project will expire and Lebanon will lose the secured funds for the project. Continue reading