Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. Today I’m going to discuss a topic that I’m sure all of us are familiar with…factory pollution.

Factory pollution accounts for more than half the volume of all water pollution, and produces the most deadly of pollutants, such as phosphates, asbestos, mercury, nitrates, grit, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, sulfur, oils and petrochemicals. Construction-related factories produce toxic compounds that are corrosive, abrasive, and poisonous. These are found in the waste water that comes from industrial factories. Sadly, this waste water is discharged immediately into the sea without treatment. We’ve all seen them. They are all across the coastline. Just to give one of many examples, there is a factory that floods its water into the sea just a few meters away from the beautiful Cyan beach. As we all know, there are many others like it.

This effects us badly, as we swim in this sea, eat its fish, and rely on it for maintaining our weather. Not only that, but the presence of these chemicals in our environment elevates our risk of cancer, neurological disorders, cardiac, liver, and kidney diseases, and behavioral problems.

Nor is this the only problem. Because they flood warm waste water into the sea, power plants and factories cause thermal pollution when they increase water temperatures. These increases of temperature affect the amounts of oxygen in the water. Changing the oxygen levels of water the ecological balance,  kills animal and plant species, and encourages the growth of bacteria instead.

Factory pollution does not only affect us by sea. In terms of the air, factory pollution  includes carbon monoxide, which if inhaled in high amounts, can cause death. Think about the cement factory in Chekka. It produces sulfur dioxide and petrochemical emissions, which are toxic.  Hydrocarbon gases and nitrogen oxides are also frequently emitted by industrial factories. Nitrogen oxides combine with hydrocarbon gases to create the brown smog that hangs over Beirut in the summer. Although we call it “dirty air”, it is actually a cloud of toxic chemicals that hangs over our city. This contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. To make matters worse, sulfur oxides that are produced by factories that emitted into the air cause acid rain that is powerful enough to corrode metal. This type of pollution also causes severe health problems. By inhaling these gases, people are prone to respiratory problems, skin rash, eye problems, cancer, neurological disorders, cardiac, liver, and kidney diseases, and psychiatric problems. By land, how it affects us is clear. The factory pollution waste-water eventually makes its way into our soil water, which then contaminates our plants and crops.  As such, these chemicals get into our food, and we ingest them. It goes without saying that this is bad for our health.

Lebanon, this is an enormous problem. What are we to do about it?

Fortunately, there are solutions to this problem. We can use sources of renewable energy to power our factories, which lessens the amount of toxins created and emitted. Also in the long run, it is cheaper to use sources of renewable energy. In addition, there is factory technology which would allow waste water to pour into specifically designed septic tanks or protected tubs; the waste water would not flood into our sea,  but treated in isolation instead. This is far better than flooding into our sea.   

Lebanon, we as a nation agreed to reducing our waste; we signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocols, which commits us to reducing harmful greenhouse gases such as  carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, and perfluorocarbons. These alone are very harmful to our environment and to us. We have already agreed to make the change, and the technology is out there to improve our environment and save our health. We can do it, Lebanon!!