Greenpeace organized today a press conference to launch its most recent report titled: "Lebanon's Toxic Coast: an overview of threats, problems and solutions.” This report comes after several months of work by the Greenpeace staff and presents a warning about the state of the Lebanese coast.

Rayan Makarem, Campaigner, presented the work. He told that the findings in the report showed that there were hundreds of dangerous chemicals that can be found in the waters discharged into the sea, many of which are proven to be dangerous to both human and environmental health. He emphasized that the responsibility was divided between the public sector and the private sector. Furthermore, Lebanon has responsibilities to abide by the Barcelona Convention, which was ratified by the Lebanese government and requires us to diminish the pollution of the Mediterranean.

It is the responsibility of the government to handle the issue of waste water management, through the implementation of current plans to complete the wastewater infrastructure for the country and stop the dumping of raw sewage directly into the Mediterranean. In addition, new legislature should be passed to allow for a complete upheaval of the solid waste sector, which is suffering from the absence of modern rules and regulations.

As for the private sector, the responsibility lies mainly at the heels of the industrial sector. He said that in many of the samples collected, there was huge evidence of the byproducts of industrial production. He stressed that industries in Lebanon can and should be able to control their emissions in accordance with existing legislation (namely Decision 8/1 from 2001) as well as invest in improving their industrial process or in the installation of the required filters.

The study was performed by Greenpeace, in collaboration with the University of Exeter in the UK and the input of Miss Carol Sukhn, a leading expert in Lebanon on eco-toxicology. A total of 30 samples were collected and the report shows that the pollution is highest close to the three major cities Beirut, Tripoli and Saida. Makarem added that a study commissioned by the Ministry of Environment in 2005 had discussed the problems facing the Lebanese coast but unfortunately, this study had been sitting in a drawer for the last 7 years.

Greenpeace launches its new report “Lebanon’s Toxic Coast”

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