Lebanese environmental group LEF and Lebanese environmental movement LEM just launched a project along the Lebanese coast: "Sea without plastic", which aims at raising awareness about plastic risks, developing legislation and initiatives to reduce its use, and encouraging the civil society to take measures in reducing its negative impacts on our sea.
The project was launched in a press conference at the cultural center in Jbeil, under the auspices of the European Union Ambassador in Lebanon Christina Lassen, with the support of the EU Delegation in Lebanon.
After welcoming the guests, Mayor of Byblos (Jbeil) Mr. Wissam Zaarour emphasized the significance of this millenary city as a way to introduce the importance of the project. In his words, "Jbeil is seven thousand years old. It is the city that exported the alphabet to the world, and the first, since the Phoenician days, that built ships and sent them to Egypt where they were used for trade."
He went on stating, "We have set up a complete project for the city's development and tourism. This city has the potential to attract the largest number of tourists. Byblos did win the 2016's Arab Tourism Capital."
Mr. Zaarour explained that an at- source waste management's policy has been implemented in the entire city since before 2017 as Jbeil has been indeed sorting its waste from the source. As per Mr. Zaarour, "The rate has reached 100 tons per month; an achievement for Jbeil!"
He also spoke about the decisions of the Municipal Council for the preservation of the environment in the "City of the Word" (Byblos), like replacing the plastic bags with eco-friendly ones.
"Despite some people considering that this project could not have seen the light, the results were different," he asserted. "We need more and more awareness, especially in terms of plastic damage to the environment, hence the children, the families, and the sea."
The municipality of Byblos intends to be strict in implementing these eco-friendly decisions so to reach and maintain a highly clean environment. That includes the non-use of plastic and the replacement of light bulbs with solar lights, especially in the old streets of the city, and "within international standards."
Mr. Zaarour expressed his determination to make it happen. He asserted, "Surrender does not exist in our agenda."
"We are a people with culture, but we need to raise awareness about plastic's negative effect on our environment. We should fight this to the end," he concluded.
From her part, Mrs. Lassen considered the project "Sea without Plastics" a small initiative but at the same time "very useful if everyone cooperates for the public good."
In her words, "We visit the city of Byblos to enjoy its beach and its tourist spots. Today, we visit it with greater pride, especially after the initiative of its municipality to launch and implement the slogan Take the plastic out of your head. We all live in this beautiful country (...) We should preserve the beauty of the beaches in Lebanon, through combating the use of plastic, which is a permanent threat to marine life."
Mrs. Lassen thanked the municipality of Jbeil for this initiative, adding that the European Union can only help Lebanon through these initiatives, but "eventually, it is the Lebanese people's responsibility."