Environment minister Fadi Jreissati headed the summer season's opening of the Palm Islands Nature Reserve in the northern city of Tripoli, and in the presence of MP Faisal Karami, as well as environmental activists, and other official figures.
The Palm Island Nature Reserve, so-called since 1993, consists actually of three islands situated about six kilometers northwest of Tripoli. It reopened in 1999 after being closed for seven years, becoming a popular destination for bird-watching, snorkeling, and hiking.
Palm island, which is the largest of the three islands, is also known as Rabbit Island because it used to be the habitat of a large population of rabbits that were later removed for environmental reasons: They were threatening very important plants.
During the opening of the island this year, Minister Jreissati stressed on protecting the Palm Islands Nature Reserve. He said that the opening of the islands "puts Lebanon and Tripoli on the map of global environmental tourism," adding that "all of us in Lebanon must strive to protect our migratory birds and ecological diversity."
From his side, MP Faisal Karami thanked Jreissati for sponsoring the opening of the island, praising his work, not only in Tripoli but in the whole country. He also pointed out that "there is no tourism and economy without the environment."
Minister Jreissati toured the islands around the coast of Tripoli, taking a series of photographs to add to the ministry's studies on islands in the region and prepare for future projects.
Ahead of the islands' visit, Jreissati visited the city’s landfill, where he pledged to find the necessary solution to the sorting of waste in the area.
The Palm Islands Nature Reserve is now open to the public from July to September, where the promenade boats at Al-Mina can ferry back and forth those wishing to visit the islands.
Note that visits to the islands outside the season, from October to June, require a permit, which can be obtained from the office of the Palm Island Nature Reserve Committee.