Farmers in eastern Lebanon were caught irrigating crops using the contaminated water of the Litani River, the Litani River Authority (LRA) announced on Tuesday.
LRA teams located these activities, which pose serious health risks to public health, in the Bar Elias area, the LRA said in a statement.
The three farmers in question had been irrigating their respective corn, potato, and parsley crops using water from the highly polluted river and some of its tributaries.
The authority also uncovered new attempts to pump water out of the river for irrigation purposes.
The water of the Litani River remains unsafe for irrigation, for it fails to meet the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), according to the LRA.
This is because the percentages of total coliforms and heat-resistant coliforms in some areas of the river exceed 200,000 colonies per 100 ml, according to periodic analyses conducted by the LRA.
For context, the maximum allowed concentrations are 1,000 colonies/100 ml for total coliforms, and 100 colonies/100 ml for heat-resistant coliforms, according to FAO (or 1,000 colonies/100 ml for heat-resistant coliforms according to WHO).
The pollution of the Litani River is the outcome of the continued pumping of huge quantities of sewage and waste into it every year.