Tag Archive: pollution


Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you watched the news tonight, then you saw footage of our once-beautiful Nahr el-Kalb. It is completely flooded with sewage, garbage, bottles, litter, and more. According to those who are close by, this once pristine waterway now smells so much that it prevents sleep and comfortable daytime activity. Disease-spreading parasites also buzz around the area, posing health risks for those who are close by. 

Much of this garbage comes from Jeita, Zouk Mosbeh, and other surrounding areas. Enough is enough. Heavily polluted waterways lead to soil pollution, higher rates of cancer, increased rates of parasite-spread disease, polluted crops, and more. For once and for all, our waterways are not garbage dumps. Interestingly, our local government officials are remaining tight-lipped about this issue.

We must advocate for improved methods of trash disposal, and educate our citizens on how to dispose of their waste effectively. We have 12 rivers in Lebanon, and we treat them like the sewers that they are not. It is completely unacceptable to simply flood our waterways with untreated trash. Let us fight for positive change for once. We can do it, Lebanon!  

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Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. The Naameh landfill is closed again. In my neck of the concrete (there is no need to use the expression “neck of the woods”–images related to forestry are not applicable), the 48 hour opening period made no difference, as my neighborhood’s trash was never collected. After driving around today it actually wasn’t collected in a lot of places all over Beirut and Mt. Lebanon. Either way, the protesters have decided that the dumpsite remain closed until a comprehensive plan is presented to them. 

What I find interesting is that this creates the immediate need for governing bodies to act. For this to happen, cabinet needs to be formed. Who would have thought that environmental protesters would have highlighted the need for government in a few days in a way that other methods have not? I  certainly hope this happens soon, as our streets are becoming more and more polluted by the minute. Furthermore, leaving trash untreated allows for the fast spread of disease. This happens through direct exposure to germs from trash, and through infection by bugs that are attracted to trash. If the trash is left there in the long run, the waste could get into our soil and ground-water, and create soil and water that is no longer fit for human use. 

My fellow Lebanese, I wish I had something good to report lately. All I can say is that we are at rock bottom at this point. No government, no trash collection, no peace, no security…but you know all of this. Given our considerable room for improvement, I can only hope that we will take the hint and not continue our race to the bottom. Let’s hope that this problem–and others–gets solved soon!

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I have news to share about capital city, Beirut.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, research shows that our city is alarmingly polluted. While only 3% of our capital is made up of green spaces (an environmental problem that has large ramifications),  pollution caused mostly by car emissions has reached two-thirds over the global standard. In a study conducted by researchers at USJ which was published in July, air samples were gathered by 52 machines that sampled the air quality throughout the city over 24 weeks in 2010. Nitrogen dioxide levels averaged 53 micrograms per cubic meter, and reached as high as 67 in the most polluted areas of central Beirut. The global limit set by the WHO (World Health Organization) is 40.

Lebanon, this is really bad news for us. Such pollution causes respiratory diseases, cardiac diseases, cancers, and increases other health risks. It also creates a form of smog that can damage sensitive vegetation–which we sorely lack. “Lebanon the Green” is turning into “Lebanon the Gray.”

Typically, such problems are supposed to be solved by government-planned environmental policy. Given the fact that our government is weak, corrupt, and inefficient, I do not expect plans to improve the environment to come from them–much less be enforced. I cannot help but wonder if our politicians have wondered whether or not they can count their money while holding their breath. 

Fortunately, there are some things that we can do. We can carpool. We can use public transport. We plan our trips such that we use minimal gas. We can turn our cars off if we are stuck in traffic for long periods of time. We can walk from place to place if the weather and distance permit. My fellow Lebanese, our city is turning into an unlivable health hazard. We cannot allow this to continue. The rate of cancer in Lebanon increases by 5% annually. We need to make a difference–and we can do it if we want to.

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. I want to show you a picture of Nahr Beirut. Go ahead, take a look.

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)

Notice anything? It’s red. A sewage pipe burst into it and flooded it with chemicals. And guess what? It’s industrial dye from a leather factory. Meaning that industrial-level pollutants are going into our water, our soil, and will be rushing into our sea. We’ll be ingesting everything in this blood-red water soon enough.

My fellow Lebanese, does this sound familiar? It should. We have no proper sewage treatment facilities, so we flood our rivers with our sewage. I sincerely doubt that I’m talking to an uninformed audience. We’ve been doing this for years…it’s just not red, so we don’t have to pay attention to it. We’ve also be rock quarrying illegally all over the country for years, building illegally all over, polluting the sea and our land for years…Lebanon is in dire need of environmental help. We need to act. I’ve been posting different ways as to how, but I honestly think this picture shows it best. This pollution is going to give us diseases that we won’t be able to fight. It’s going to make our vegetables and fruits unfit for consumption. It’s going to sicken us until we die. Already, the rate of cancer in our country increases 5% annually.

What does the color red make you think of now?

Lebanon, enough of shrugging our shoulders saying “this is Lebanon”, blaming everyone but ourselves, twiddling our thumbs, and allowing the situation to deteriorate further. That’s something we’ve done for years and it’s gotten us nowhere. It’s time for us to act!!!!

Lebanon: Ana Ma Bkebb

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. It’s no secret that we as Lebanese have a nasty tendency to litter. Not only is this disrespect to our land, but it’s unhealthy and bad for the environment. I’ve gone over the effects of littering repeatedly on this blog, so there is no need to do it yet again. Instead, I have good news to report.

A new initiative has started, called “Ana Ma Bkebb” in Lebanon. Translated into English, it means “I don’t throw” (meaning: I don’t litter). This is a campaign against the widespread pollution in our country. Indeed, they have come up with their own logo, displayed below:

Xic

You may have seen this logo on car stickers. This is to raise awareness about the fact that there is far too much pollution and littering in our country. With more awareness, hopefully more people will take heed.  For more information on the campaign, please follow this link: http://www.causes.com/causes/537801-ana-ma-bkebb/about

My fellow Lebanese, let us treat our country with the respect that it deserves. We’ve ravaged it through war, political unrest, pollution, illegal activity, and blatant disrespect our fellow countrymen. Let us try to combat it in a way that is both simple and effective. Let us stop littering. We can do it, Lebanon!!

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you watch the news with any regularity, then I’m sure the title of this post makes sense to you. BankMed launched a series of environmental awareness ads of people doing environmentally unfriendly things (throwing trash on the ground, causing unnecessary air pollution while driving, etc.), and when those who are doing these things are confronted by people who are bothered, the response is “shu, we2fet a3layeh?” This sentence implies that poor environmental habits are widespread throughout Lebanon, and that those who practice them are neither the first nor the last, so it makes no sense to try and get involved. The polluters then get a taste of their own medicine when someone else does it to them (throws garbage on their car, pollutes the air so badly that they cannot see or breathe, etc.), and receive the same response in turn when trying to confront the perpetrator.

First, I’d like to tip my hat off to whomever designed these campaigns. The idea that “everyone does it, so don’t complain when I do” is perhaps the most contagious in our little country.  And it has dire  consequences. Allow me to illustrate as to what the “everybody does it” mentality leads to:

Pollution in Our Sea:

Pollution On Our Land:

We do a great job of taking care of our land, don’t we? My fellow Lebanese,  is this what we want to live in? Is this the type of environment we want our kids in?

I didn’t think so. So yes, it starts with us. We can’t constantly blame others for our problems and not do anything about them. It’s time for us to be the positive change that we want to see. We can do it, Lebanon!!!

Hello all…it’s your friendly Green Patriot. Did anyone watch Marcel Ghanem’s “Kalam el-Nas” on LBC the other day regarding the state of cleanliness of our food? If so, then you probably know what I know: we need some help.

As it turns out, we fertilize our fruits and vegetables with sewer water. Yes, we do. We also let our fertilized soil bleed into our drinking waters. Indeed, 60% of all of our water is polluted. We eat these fruits and vegetables, and feed them to our kids. We have invested so little in our country in this domain that the number of people who have experienced food-poisoning is increasing each year; this year to over 500 when only two years it was less than 100 (the numbers were indicated on the show, should anyone want to reference). What are we to do?

What we need are better ways of dealing with water waste management. Fortunately, such technology is available. Membrane Bio-reactor (MBR) technology combines a biological reactor with advanced membrane filtration, and it is the most advanced biological treatment option available. It is also the most eco-friendly option available. The mechanisms of this technology are aerobic in principle, and combine the advantages of activated sludge and other biofilm systems. These are used to remove Biochemical Oxygen Demand, Chemical Oxygen Demand, and Nitrogen Waste from water streams. These  facilities are in operation worldwide, and are even used at the industrial level.

My fellow Lebanese, we deserve better than to pollute our own country, eat polluted food, and then get sick. Our country, once called “Lebanon the Green”, is in danger. It is time for us to take action. We have methods of technology. It is time to lobby to bring them here, and save both our environment and ourselves.