Archive for January, 2015


Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you are following our political programs, then you know that on January 17th, 2015, the council of ministers is set to meet. One of the many items set on their agenda is to discuss what to do with the Naameh Landfill.

In response to the activism coming from those living by the area, the Naameh landfill was supposed to be shut down last year. The understanding was that a new landfill would be opened in its place. Owing to the dynamics of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard), the council did not make a decision as to where the new landfill would be, and delayed shutting down the Naameh landfill for a year. Now, the time to make a decision as to what to do has come again.

According to Minister of Health Wael Abou Faour, garbage will be spread in the streets on January 17th in order to pressure the council of ministers to take action, as opposed to postponing the decision yet again.

I cannot help but wonder though, why the idea is to simply create more landfills. Why not use waste management plants? Believe it or not, we actually have a number of such plants which are built, but not operational. Why not put our resources not only in diverting the trash away from Naameh, but also to processing our trash more responsibly in facilities which we have already built?

In any case, we are about to see environmental political protest in every sense of the word. Let us hope that this gets resolved soon.

Hello all. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. As I’m sure you all know, we have been enjoying a considerable amount of rain and snow coming from Storm Zina. Given that a picture says a thousand words, let’s take a look below:

What I find interesting is not only the unusual amount of rainfall that we are getting, but how markedly different it is than last year, when we had a severe drought and needed to appeal to international agencies for water.

Have we forgotten about that so quickly?

While weather fluctuations are normal, ones that are this dramatic are symptomatic of responses to climate change. In sum: we will most likely experience drought again, and we need to be prepared for it. It’s bad enough that there are water distribution problems in parts of Beirut and Mt. Lebanon. But if we harvest the rain, some of our water needs will be addressed. Let us not allow this opportunity to pass us by!

While I have addressed rain-harvesting before, I am going to do so again. Simply put, one places a large container on the roof of their building, which catches the water. The water is then funneled through a filtration system, making it potable. Below is a diagram:

The water can then be used for household purposes.Naturally, this is a template, and a catchment system is designed to suit your needs.

I hear the sighs of many people, saying that it is too expensive to build, that their neighbors in the building will never agree to having it, etc. I will not argue, as I am not familiar with either your budgets or your neighbors.

There are some who are so happy to have this water that they are placing plastic barrels either outside or on their roofs, bringing the containers inside when they are full, and boiling the water in the kitchen to cleanse it. This way they can shower, which they cannot do usually. Quite a thought, Lebanon.

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I’m sure you all heard the news three days ago, when Minister of Health Wael Abu Faour announced that one of Beirut’s principle grain silos allows for heavy exposure to rats and pigeons. The images on MTV news indicated dead rats, pigeons on the rafters, and raw sewage floating in the road in front of the storage apparatus. Interestingly, 4000 drivers are responsible for transporting the grain, and they do not have access to bathrooms.

I am going to take a moment to let the implications of this sink in.

What I found even more outrageous was the fact that the Moussa Khoury, the director of the grain silo, kept arguing that everything was alright even though the camera captured all of these violations. He tried to pretend that raw sewage was rain water from the day before, and that it smelled bad because it had “rotted.”  He kept insisting that the rats and pigeons were only in the areas surrounding the the silos, and not in the actual storage units. Even if that were true, having such animals which are heavy carriers of disease around grain is enough.

Moussa Khoury isn’t the first defender of disease in Lebanon. At the Karantina slaughterhouse, Dr. Zeineddine Hasan, the resident veterinarian, said that there was nothing wrong with the slaughtering process. The process he was referring to was one where animals were being dragged through their own feces and slaughtered in front of each other while fully conscious.

To those who perpetuate these sub-standard health conditions: stop trying to defend yourselves. Stop acting as though you are innocent, as though everything is alright, and that you have nothing to do with perpetuating disgustingly low hygiene conditions. Admit your ineptitude, your inability to safeguard clean conditions for food, your pathetic inability to do your job well, and apologize for the mayhem that you’ve created…perhaps you’ll be slightly redeemed. But to think that you mean to convince us that “everything is alright”..that’s upsetting. On the bright side, at least you are temporarily shut down.

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I am staring outside of my living room window, and wondering why all of the rain that is falling is going completely to waste. Last winter we had a drought. This winter we’ve had an abundance of rain–even floods–but it has yet to dawn upon us to conserve our water for such periods. Jeez.

If you watched Kalam al-Nass a few days ago, then you also heard that outside of the conflict in the region, resource scarcity as it applies to electricity and water demotivate the propensity to invest in Lebanon.

In a country where 300 out of 365 days are sunny, and where we have enough rain to harvest and re-use it, we have within us to change this. We have an enormous resource available to generate electricity, and we can significantly reduce our water scarcity if we were to use our water wisely. The problem is not our lack of resources. Believe it or not, we have resources. The problem is our inefficiency at utilizing them effectively.

My fellow Lebanese, it is time for this to change. It is time for us to invest in the development of green technology for the purposes of our economy. It is time for us to invest in green technology for the purposes of our environment, our health, and our development. We can do it, Lebanon!