Lebanon - Environment



Lebanon's forests and water supplies suffered significant damage in the 1975–76 war and subsequent fighting. Rapid urbanization has also left its mark on the environment. Coastal waters show the effects of untreated sewage disposal, particularly near Beirut, and of tanker oil discharges and oil spills. The water pollution problem in Lebanon is in part due to the lack of an internal system to consistently regulate water purification. The nation has4.8 cubic kilometers of renewable water resources with 68% used for farming activity and 4% used for industrial purposes. Lebanon's cities produce an average of 0.5 million tons of solid waste per year.

Air pollution is a serious problem in Beirut because of vehicular exhaust and the burning of industrial wastes. In 1996, industrial carbon dioxide emissions totaled 14.1 million metric tons. Control efforts have been nonexistent or ineffective because of political fragmentation and recurrent warfare since 1975.

The effects of war and the growth of the nation's cities have combined to threaten animal and plant life in Lebanon. In 1986, the National Preservation Park of Bte'nayel was created in the region of Byblos to preserve wooded areas and wildlife. As of 2001, five of the nation's mammal species and five of its bird species are endangered. Three of its plant species are also threatened with extinction. The Mediterranean monk seal, African softshell turtle, and dogfish shark are on the endangered list. The Arabian gazelle and Anatolian leopard are extinct.

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