Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You can make a difference - Tip 6

This edition of "You can make a difference" is an important one...instead of a tip, my friend S. sent out what she calls an "environmental mini-report about the tragic events in Lebanon". And as she so eloquently put it: "in no way does this report belittle this terrible tragedy. A war has many dimensions. Lebanon is facing its worst environmental crisis in its history, and it will be the only subject of this report":

Oil and water just don’t mix.

Some 30,000-ton of oil poured into the Mediterranean a month ago, after Israeli warplanes hit the oil-fuelled power plant of Jiyyeh situated on the coast, south of Beirut. One of the tanks burnt for days, sending thick black smoke across the country.

The marine environment, including the endangered green turtle, will suffer tremendously for years. Laid eggs on beaches usually start to hatch in late summer (in a week from now). Baby turtles need to reach deep waters as fast as possible. With the oil slick in their way, they will have no chance of making it.

Other impacts include air pollution and chemical spills due to the targeting of industrial factories, fuel bunkers, and other flammable structures; the use of depleted uranium in Israeli bombs, and the huge waste and sanitary crisis resulting from the 750,000 refugees, which can lead to water pollution and the spread of diseases.

Facts: Cancer cases are expected to rise significantly. The oil spill has hit more than 120 kilometers of the Lebanese coast. Thousands of oil- smeared dead turtles, fish and prawns have already been washed up on the shore. The Al Shouf Cedar Natural Reserve that shelters some of the few remaining century old majestic cedars was bombed three times since the beginning of the conflict. An estimated $30 million to $50 million is needed to clean up the shorelines.

Optimistic assessments suggest it will take at least six months for the shore cleanup and up to 10 years for the reestablishment of the ecosystem of the eastern Mediterranean. The longer the oil spill is allowed to go unchecked, the greater the irreversible damage.


nzm said...

The whole affair is just tragic.

I've read reports that the Emirates Diving Association is sending members to Lebanon to help clean up the oil slick. The plan was to camp and sleep on the beaches and clean up.

From the look of these images, I think that it's going to take a whole lot more than that. Heavy machinery is going to be needed to truck away and bury the oil and contaminated sand, and there's going to have to be tonnes of biogradable detergent used to clean away and break up the oil. This is a job for professional companies who deal with events like this.


AM said...

One more side of this tragedy, thank you for shedding the light and for the detailed info.

Jin said...

It is so sad honestly. The majority of focus is on the bombs & the violence of war, but meanwhile, back on earth, Mother Nature needs the little things like the turtles to keep the ecological balance correct.
Good entry hon.