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Abu Faour promises 'zero pollution' in the Litani River by summer's end; Jarrah says problem lies not in funding, but in file management

Jun 10

Abu Faour promises 'zero pollution' in the Litani River by summer's end; Jarrah says problem lies not in funding, but in file management

NNA - Minister of Industry, Wael Abu Faour, confirmed Sunday 'the commitment to reach zero industrial pollution in the Litani River by the end of this summer.'

He stated that the final deadline will not be extended and on June 28, the interval given to industrial establishments of the fourth and fifth degrees will expire, whereby measures will begin to be implemented.

'No Lebanese can claim, or be certain that he is immune from the current health and environmental damage caused by the current state of the River,' Abu Faour said, stressing on addressing this issue as a 'legitimate need.'

His words came during a meeting held at the West Bekaa Country Club in the town of Khirbet Qanafar in Western Bekaa earlier today, at the invitation of the Ministry of Industry, to discuss with various industrialists and municipalities ways of treating the pollution of the Litani River and its tributaries.

The meeting was attended by Minister of Information Jamal Al-Jarrah, and Future Parliamentary Bloc Members, Deputies Mohammad Al-Qaraawi and Henry Shdid, and former MPs Antoine Saad and Nasser Nasrallah.

'There is a great effort undertaken by Prime Minister Saad Hariri, with the Committee in charge of addressing this pollution problem, not only at the industrial level, but at all levels,' disclosed Abu Faour.

'The problem at large is at the level of sanitation,' he added, referring to the tragic and urgent situation that requires immediate action and shortening of deadlines given to industries and speeding up implementation in order to eliminate the damages.

Abu Faour pointed out that 'industrial damage according to statistics is a small quantity, but the most harmful aspect is in terms of health and environment, because industrial wastes, including heavy metals, are the most harmful to citizens' health.'

'The municipalities are responsible like us,' he corroborated, stating that all municipalities of the Litani basin shoulder the same responsibility of trying to keep the river clean.

In turn, Minister Jarrah considered that 'the focus should basically be on industrial decontamination, and other contaminants such as sanitation, because this water is used in agriculture while being polluted, and there are large contaminants that lead to serious diseases.'

'This affects agriculture, our economy and exports, and the excessive use of chemicals and agricultural medicines reaches our underground waters,' he added.

'We managed to get $25 million from the Development and Reconstruction Council to clean the Litani, because the amount of waste in the river is incredible,' Jarrah said, noting that the problem lies not in securing of funds but rather in the management of the dossier.

He called on municipalities to 'prevent people from throwing waste into the river, and to create a culture of protection of the Litani River and the preservation of such important natural resources, which are the basis of our livelihood, especially agriculture.'