Tag Archive: water


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!

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Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot. If you watched the news tonight, then you are aware that there is fresh water available for our use that could be accessed beneath the sea. For the record, we have known about this for years. However, we still insist on creating plans to import water from Turkey. If this works out, our dependence on foreign nations will increase, and the room we have to make independent decisions with will be reduced.

However, independently of state-level environmental decisions, we must be aware as to how to use our water wisely at home. My fellow Lebanese, this drought was predicted many years ago, and we have done nothing to safeguard ourselves against water over-use. As such, let us look at some of the ways that we can conserve water at home.

 

1. Check faucets and pipes for leaks

A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons.

2. If it’s yellow, keep it mellow…

Every time you flush your toilet, five to seven gallons of water is wasted. Hence the environmentally-friendly phrase, “if it’s yellow keep it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.”

3.  Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower. A four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water. 

4.  Install water-saving shower heads, toilets, and low-flow faucet aerators. It is even possible to buy water-saving laundry machines.

5. Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush.

6. Use your dishwasher and clothes washer for only full loads.

Automatic dishwashers and clothes washers should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. With clothes washers, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an added 20 liters (5 gallons) for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load.

7. When washing dishes by hand, don’t leave the water running for rinsing.

8. Don’t let the faucet run while you clean vegetables; just rinse them in a plugged sink or a pan of clean water. 

These small tips do make a large difference. Whenever I discuss water use with others, I often hear people saying “let other people do it before I do.” Or “the problem isn’t with us, it’s with the Syrian refugees.” My own personal favorite is “well, I’m leaving the country, so it doesn’t really matter!”

Water conservation is very important, regardless of wherever you are located. More importantly, your efforts to save water are unrelated to the efforts of your neighbors, friends, and political problems. The decision to fail to shut off the faucet while brushing one’s teeth is a very private one indeed, and does not require enormous political change before one starts doing it.  

Let us not hide behind our existing problems in order to avoid making any efforts to effect positive change. We can do it!!

Hello, Lebanon. It’s me, your friendly Green Patriot.  Have you ever thought about the water wealth that we are famous for, and wonder what we do with it? Indeed, we have 12 rivers in Lebanon that go into the sea, which is a rarity in the Arab world. Yet, we use them as garbage dumps or sewers. Take a look.

 Yup. We did that. Through individual pollution and poor waste management, we did that. We pride ourselves on being educated, classy, sophisticated, and exposed, but we did that.

Nor is it the only image of our poor polluted rivers. Why don’t we take a look at our famous Litani river.

That green is not a good sign. The river is covered with algae and plankton; the water isn’t even moving. We have turned the river into a natural sewer. It got this way through poor waste management. Fertilizers and pesticides contain high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus, as does raw sewage. Without proper waste management systems, these pollutants seep into our rivers and  groundwater resources. Once in the rivers, these chemicals induce an excessive growth of algae and plankton, which choke up the waterway. This leads to the collapse of the river’s natural ecosystem.

The Litani isn’t the only river affected with this problem. As a whole, Lebanon’s rivers are choked with raw sewage, garbage, e-coli, and coliform when they could easily be a source of usable and potable water. Lebanon, these rivers used to be freshwater rivers that our ancestors used to DRINK out of! Now, our contaminated rivers are both a source of disease and pollution that affect us and our marine life. Nor does this pollution stop at the level of our rivers. Our aquifers, rivers, seas and oceans are inter-connected. Practically, this means that polluted water mingles with non-polluted water. Translation: all of our water is polluted.

 Guess what’s being done to ameliorate this problem?

Nothing.

The solutions to this problem are clear. We need to regulate use of agricultural fertilizers and pesticides and treat wastewater. At the level of the individual, we also need to stop throwing our garbage into our rivers. However, this story is about to get worse.

We do not have a single functioning wastewater treatment plant. Yet, we have the facilities. Wastewater treatment plants have been built. In fact, there is even one located next to the Qaraoun dam on the Litani. However, none of these wastewater plants are  functional.

Realistically, there are two causes for this: the budget for their maintenance isn’t there, and/or there is a lack of coordination as to which government agencies are responsible for their maintenance. The waste water treatment plants fall under the care of the Ministries of the Environment, Water & Energy, the Council for Development and Reconstruction, and the individual municipalities where the plants are located.  That’s far too many, and leads to inefficiency. Clearly.

My fellow Lebanese, this problem has devasting effects on us. This pollution poisons our water and our food, and our health suffers because of it. After all, farmers use this water to irrigate their crops, and we eat these vegetables and fruits. Economically, because of this pollution, our agricultural exports are being returned back into the country. Lebanese vegetables and fruits are no longer marketable. In addition, this pollution decreases the level of water available for our use, be it for drinking water, agriculture, or industry. Long story short, we are becoming both poorer and sicker because of water pollution.

Are we happy to just sit back and let this happen?! Although there are laws that forbid this pollution of our rivers, the Minister of Agriculture admitted in July 2011 that there are no government offices that enforce this law or supervise waste water treatment. For more on this story, click here: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Health/2011/Jun-23/Lebanons-lack-of-water-treatment-poses-health-risk-AUB-professor.ashx#axzz1XWMyaokz

 It’s time for us to advocate for these waste water plants to become functional. We need to push for our government agencies to sort this out and and open these facilities, clean our water, and protect our welfare. In addition, we need to push for enforced environmental regulations as to the amount of fertilizers and pesticides used in farming, and to supervise wastewater management. This could be a tough battle, but the chemotherapy that we’d need to treat the cancer that these polluted rivers cause would be tougher. So let’s get together and fight  for ourselves and our environment. We can do it, Lebanon!!