Temps de lecture :2 minutes
Lebanon has the same surface area as Gironde (10 452 km2) but its population is three times larger (4 million people). Its wealth mainly stems from the exportation of minerals, consumer goods and fruits and vegetables. Agriculture is not limited by the lack of water. Indeed, even though Lebanon is in an arid region, snow from the many mountains on Lebanese territory supply the forty watercourses that run through it with water.
Oil slick. During the Israel-Lebanon conflict in 2006, the oil reservoirs in the South of the country were bombed and this caused an oil slick. According to Lebanon’s Environment Minister, it was the “biggest environmental disaster in the Mediterranean”. The oil contaminated the seabed and affected certain endangered regional species such as monk seals. 15 000 tons of fuel oil were spilt on the Lebanese and Syrian coasts, the equivalent of what was spilt by MV Erika when she sank in 1999. (See the Greenpeace video)
Fire. The conflict in the South of Lebanon set off fires that impaired the reforestation programme launched by the government at the start of 2006. Many trees with economic or symbolic value, such as the cedar tree, were destroyed.
Air pollution. Lebanese air is polluted by industrial waste and car traffic. Until recently, cars in Beirut were still running on oil engines and leaded petrol. In 2002, a law was passed forbidding diesel vehicles in particular from circulating.
In 1994, Paul Abi Rached, a lawyer by profession, launched T.E.R.R.E Liban. His method : to raise populations’ awareness of environmental problems by singing about deforestation or environmental responsibility. Some songs are now part of the national curriculum.