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Image via The Guardian
Last February, Lebanon’s Shura Council revoked permits for the construction of Eden Bay resort at Beirut’s most prized public beach, Ramlet El Baida. When the massive construction project was initially announced it caused uproar among Lebanese citizens who argued that one of Beirut’s last public beaches should remain public and should not be privatized, in addition to strenuous environmental concerns surrounding the project. The public’s protests were heard and, in February, the permits for the construction of Eden Bay resort were revoked, to our relief.
Today, news has broken out that the Shura Council has, again, changed their minds, revoking their cancellation of the project. Without providing any information as to why they changed their minds, the judiciary has, yet again, disappointed the Lebanese public. Beirut Mayor, Jamal Itani, was quoted countless times stating that he will always vow to protect Beirut’s treasured coast, but his words have yet to prove true.
Rather than relying on heavily researched scientific evidence which proves the damage – both environmental and relating to public health – that will be implicated with the construction of such a massive resort, the Shura Council has prioritized the interests of one or two investors over those of the Lebanese people. Although Lebanon’s coast is protected as a public space, the majority of its shoreline has been privatized – with increasingly expensive entry fees – meaning that much of Lebanon’s population is deprived of access their city’s own coast.