Archive for the “Action” Category

We only have Tier 1 and Tier 2 generators in Lebanon that are providing electricity to supplement the market. These are causing severe air pollution and particulate pollution that cause so many different health problems ranging from asthma to cancer to  various respiratory problems. We urgently need to solve the electricity problem in Lebanon.

Information on pollution of Tier 1 and Tier 2 Generators:

Where the USA is now:

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February 18, 2012 01:31 AM

The Daily Star
The waterway of Nahr Beirut turned red after a sewage pipe expelled an unidentifiable stream of effluvium into it, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
The waterway of Nahr Beirut turned red after a sewage pipe expelled an unidentifiable stream of effluvium into it, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Pollution in Lebanon is rife and obvious, from its sea to it rivers and quarries, and this despite the dozens of organizations, NGOs, and committees in the country that purport to protect the environment for current and future generations of Lebanese.

Over the years these entities have failed to make any significant impact on the wellbeing of the environment. They remain silent until a catastrophe strikes, and then the country is suddenly inundated with statements, condemnations, vows and plans, but nothing on the ground.

The contamination this week that turned Beirut’s river red is just the latest example. Already, the Litani River in the south is contaminated to such a degree that the vegetables that grow around it are liable to cause all kinds of diseases because of the chemicals deposited in the river by farmers, olive tree mills and factories.

The Bekaa’s Qaraoun Lake is another disaster, with animal carcasses mysteriously appearing in its environs.

Meanwhile, the unregulated quarries across Lebanon eat into the country’s natural resources.

In the poorer areas, where the state is absent, ancient trees are chopped down in order to sustain people.

These issues flare up in the public conscience at certain times, only to die down again. A big noise is made, probes are promised but no action is ever taken.

In the 1960s, 33 percent of the country was green. That figure is now less than 12 percent. If these levels of environmental destruction continue, before long the country will be turned to desert.

Yet the Environment Ministry is treated as a luxury, with a budget barely enough to sustain the wages of the few who work there, and some insignificant expenses.

The ministry’s ability to protect the environment, to educate people and to crack down on those who do not abide by its laws, is therefore minimal.

Every minister who tries – and some have put sincere effort into their work – has found that this environmental destruction is protected by parties and politicians.

Therefore any effort to curb environmental violations is met with opposition from whichever politician or party holds a vested interest.

Statements, investigations and promises to prosecute are merely an exercise in semantics. The Lebanese have learned that measures are cosmetic, having never seen the conclusion of an investigation, nor the conviction, let alone the public naming of a perpetrator.

This country needs a state of environmental emergency, with tough laws so the ministry is treated as one of its vital institutions, with the clout to put an end to the violations of nature and rehabilitate its green spaces.

Otherwise our children will wake up immersed in disease, surrounded by deserts, polluted waters and poisoned food.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 18, 2012, on page 7.

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(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

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For the first time in Lebanon American University of Beirut Launches an Air Pollution Study in a Moving Van

The Atmospheric and Analytical Laboratory (AAL) at the American University of Beirut (AUB) under the supervision of Dr. Najat A. Saliba with the support of Rasamny Younis Motor Company – RYMCO, Nissan’s exclusive dealer in Lebanon and Bank Audi sal – Audi Saradar Group launched their new environmental study that aims to monitor the air pollution caused by traffic.

A first of its kind in Lebanon, this project will measure the particulate matter (PM) generated by biogenic and anthropogenic sources among which vehicles are major contributors through a real-time device installed in a Nissan Urvan moving Van. The van, exclusively offered by Nissan for this project, will travel along a busy road connecting Beirut to Jounieh for one year starting today from 7:00am until 10:00 am and from 5:00pm until 8:00 pm on both sides of the roadway.

“In Beirut, as in many other overpopulated capital, traffic is the main source of air pollution,” said Dr. Najat A. Saliba, specialist in air pollution and Associate Professor at the Chemistry Department at AUB. “Numerous studies have determined that air pollution caused by traffic near residential areas affects the health. We aim throughout the year to study, understand and assess the levels of PMs so that the results will benefit the public sector and guide them in their pursuit of new and efficient rules and regulations.” She added.

“Being part of the automobile industry mandates that we take a responsible role in developing strategies to help address air pollution and its consequences, one of the highest priorities of environmental issues in line with Nissan two-pillar strategy for year 2010”, said RYMCO’s CEO, Abdo Sweidan. “We are confident that if more companies realize the impact of simple measures such as these have on reducing environmental harm, perhaps more of them will become carbon neutral,” he added.

As for Mr. Ibrahim Salibi, Assistant General Manager – Head of Corporate and Commercial Banking at Bank Audi sal – Audi Saradar Group, he added: “As the leading bank in Lebanon, we strongly believe we have a civic role to play within the community we operate in. It is from this perspective that we owe it to ourselves and to society to give the environment the importance it deserves. This specific initiative of measuring the quality of the air and the pollution in Lebanon is key to the blooming of environment-friendly schemes which can only contribute to the well-being of the community.”

Measuring PM levels will report, for the first time in Lebanon, drivers and passengers’ exposure during their travel to and out of Beirut. Results will serve as basis for studies on the impact of traffic pollution on the population’s health while highlighting to the public sector the imminent need for traffic measurements and regulations.

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في بيان أصدرته امس منظمة أندي – أكت وجمعية الثروة الحرجية والتنمية، أن أكثر من 120 ناشطاً وناشطة بيئيين ينتمون اليهما تجمعوا الأحد في غابة أرز الشوف للاحتجاج على تغير المناخ ولالقاء الضوء على آثاره المترتبة على غابات لبنان. ومطلبهم هو أن تدرج الحكومة ومجلس النواب المقبلان مشكلة تغير المناخ كإحدى الأوليات على جدول الأعمال.
ووقف الناشطون خطاً واحداً ورسموا بأجسادهم حاجزاً بشرياُ في الغابة، وهي كبرى غابات الأرز في لبنان، “والتي يمكن أن تختفي جراء تغير المناخ في المستقبل. ذلك إن الارتفاع المطرد في درجات الحرارة سوف يدفع العديد من اصناف الأشجار نحو الشمال وإلى مرتفعات أعلى لتعديل هذا التغير في الحرارة، مما قد يؤدي إلى تحويل لبنان إلى بلد صحراوي. إن تغير المناخ وما يصاحبه من عواصف وجفاف سوف يؤدي إلى زيادة في الأوبئة والحشرات وحرائق الغابات الى درجة أن معظم غابات لبنان سوف تختفي وتحل مكانها أراض عشبية. حتى إقامة المحميات والتشجير ووضع خطط لصد الحرائق لن تستطيع حماية غابات لبنان إن لم يتم الحد من مشكلة تغير المناخ. إن الحرائق في غابات لبنان في إزدياد مستمر عاماً بعد عام، لكن معظم اللبنانيين لا يعرفون ان تغير المناخ يلعب دوراً مهماً في هذه الحرائق. منذ أعوام خلت، إجتاحت حشرة جديدة إسمها سيفالسيا تانوريننسيس غابات الأرز في تنورين وكادت تقضي عليها تماماً، وعندما قامت الجامعة الأميركية في بيروت بدراسة عن الموضوع وجدت ان هذه الحشرة تفشت بسبب ارتفاع الحرارة من جراء تغير المناخ. كما إن بزرة الأرز في حاجة إلى ان تغطى بالثلوج لكي تنبت، لكن ارتفاع الحرارة سوف يؤدي إلى فقدان الثلج في لبنان مما سوف يؤثر على غابات الأرز”.
وصرّحت كرين الزغبي من جمعية الثروة الحرجية والتنمية: “المشكلة هي ان حرائق الغابات لا تزداد بالكمية والحدة فقط، لكن موسم الحرائق في توسع مستمر. ففي السنة الماضية سجلت اول حالة حريق غابة في شهر كانون الثاني”.
ونادت المنظمات البيئية كل المرشحين للنيابة “لحفظ رقم 350 جيدا لانقاذ غابات لبنان. 350 “جزء في المليون هو تركيز ثاني اوكسيد الكربون في الجو الذي يجب ان نصل اليه لتفادي كارثة التغير المناخي بحسب احدث الدراسات العلمية. ثاني اوكسيد الكربون هو الغاز الاساسي المسبب لمشكلة تغير المناخ والذي منذ الثورة الصناعية الى الآن ومن جراء ادماننا النفط والفحم ونحن نضخه في غلافنا الجوي”. وصرح وائل حميدان المدير التنفيذي لإندي – آكت: “لن تستطيع غاباتنا أبدا التأقلم مع آثار تغير المناخ، والحل الوحيد هو ايقاف كل المسببات لهذه المشكلة وتاليا تفادي الآثار المترتبة علينا. ان لم نفعل ذلك فعندها سيخسر لبنان رمزية الوطنيين (الارز والثلج) تاركا علمنا فقط مستطيلا احمر فارغا”.
وخلص البيان الى انه في كانون الاول المقبل ستجتمع حكومات كل دول العالم في كوبنهاغن بالدانمارك لتضع اللمسات الاخيرة على المعاهدة الدولية حول تغير المناخ خلال اكبر واهم قمة في تاريخ البشرية. “إندي – آكت وجمعية الثروة الحرجية والتنمية تناشدان الحكومة اللبنانية ادراج مشكلة تغير المناخ كاحدى اولوياتها على جدول اعمالها وان تشارك بجدية وحيوية في محادثات تغير المناخ الحالية”.


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