Summer is here and so is enjoying the beach. Lebanon is known for its outstanding Mediterranean beaches that extend from the North to the South. Either you are a tourist or a resident, chilling on the beach with your friends or family under the sun lets all the stress vibes and worries vanish.
Unfortunately, a good number of these beaches is unsafe to swim in its water, according to the recent study conducted by the National Center for Marine Sciences.
The study showed a high number of bacteria and chemicals polluting the water. This is mainly the result of the disregard of both the public and the government for the importance of taking care of our environment and their underestimation of the major hazardous consequences of pollution.
According to the study, 14 sites only are considered safe for swimming this summer. These sites include Tyre, Al-Naqoura, Batroun, Jbeil (2 beaches), Anfeh, Fidar, Okaibeh, Menieh, Damour, Maamaltein, Ain el Mraysseh, Tripoli, and Tabarja.
Al-Naqoura, which is on the southern board, is the cleanest site measured as of date.
In addition to that, Ramlet al-Bayda, Manara, Dabayeh Marina, Antelias, Tripoli, and Qal'at Akkar are all heavily polluted and are considered the most dangerous for swimming.
There are some beach sites that were labeled ”caution” to ”critical” including Rmeileh, Sidon, and Sarafand.
The Minister of Environment, Fadi Jreissati, had a say on this report, as he reported that he will work with municipalities to ban the entrance into the polluted beaches, including Ramlet al-Bayda public beach.
Following Jreissati, the Minister of Agriculture Hassan Lakkis stressed that his ministry will contribute to improving this situation by enhancing fishing conditions. That's deemed critical to us since Lebanon imports large quantities of fish that are an important aspect of the state of the country.
There is no denying that we are facing a catastrophe that doesn't only affect us but also the coming generations. We need to stand up and do something regarding this situation. One should take the initiative to save our water and environment.
We should start protecting our beaches, especially the public ones, as they are the only available escape for those unable to spend their summer paying entrance fees to beaches. Small actions actually can make a difference, and these actions start with us, the individuals, endorsing cleaner behaviors at our beaches.
We may, similarly, take more proactive steps and volunteer some of our time to help. There is now an online platform that is connecting caring citizens with such worthy causes in Lebanon. These two young women who founded it the platform thought it all and have made it possible for all of us to get actively involved in making a difference. Our country is our home, hence it is our responsibility.
Next time you go to the beach, remember to take responsibility for the space you enjoyed, and take your garbage with you or just throw them in their suitable place!