Hi Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Have any of you taken a drive through Jabal Lebnen, Beirut, or El-Jnoub recently?  If you have, then I am sure you have noticed what I have: an exponential increase in buildings, and a reciprocal decrease in trees and vegetation.

Many of these buildings remain empty among  completion, and many builders do not bother to rehabilitate the construction state, or re-plant the trees we have lost. In addition, many of these buildings are illegal, and their owners and investors do not face consequences. Lebanon, there is a profound lack of urban planning in our country. This leads to overcrowding, the inability of existing infrastructure to support the residents of the area, poor sanitation, pollution, and possibly, the spread of disease. This is also leading to desertification, for we are not  replenishing our once-plentiful and abundant forests. As a result, our air becomes of diminished quality, the weather becomes hotter, and the overall quality of our environment deteriorates.

Lebanon, we need to press for stricter rules about construction licenses and urban planning in our nation. Do you like having to drive in choked roads, often with cut electricity wires on the streets? Do you like having to step over cracked sidewalks, or jump over mini-puddles in the streets when it rains? Do you like having to smell your neighbor’s sewage? Infrastructure cannot be expected to support citizens adequately if there is no urban planning behind it! Not only that, but our country, that was once 35% forest, is now at most 13%! Is that fair to us? Is that fair to our nation?

As such, we need to press for stricter rules regarding urban planning and the rehabilitation of our environment. We deserve better, and our country deserves better.  At the level of the individual, we can focus more on fixing existing old buildings rather than building new ones from scratch. In all circumstances, be it fixing old buildings or constructing new ones, we can make sure to rehabilitate the construction site upon completion and plant trees around the structure. But Lebanon, we are fast losing what we used to be famous for; our Green Forests. Instead, we are living with the consequences of no urban planning every day. Lebanon, we deserve to live in a clean and green environment. We can do it if we want to!!