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Litani River Authority calls on dairy company to clean pollution

4-11-2020

Renewed efforts by Litani River Authority (LRA) to rehabilitate the river are back in the news. The head of the Authority, Sami Alawiyeh, directed a letter yesterday to Baalbaq-Hermel mayor, Bashir Khudr, asking him to press “Alban Lubnan” company to treat and clean the 6-km waterway which it occupies (around the towns of Howsh Sneid, Howsh Ghanam, Howsh Rafqa and Howsh Nabi) from cattle dung and the waste of factories and farms, based on the newly-introduced Water Law amended and approved by the Parliament on October 16. Noting, that Articles 25 and 94 of the bill stipulate the implementation of repair works, including the treatment of pollution and the maintenance of the affected area by the party which caused the pollution. LRA has earlier (https://lkdg.org/ar/node/17925), sued the aforementioned company before the Financial Public Prosecutor and the Single Criminal Judge in Baalbaq on charges of discarding cow manure and industrial waste water from the dairy factories in the Litani Basin. This prompted the company to get a subsidized loan from Banque du Liban to set up a water treatment plant pledging before the court to build ponds for collecting the manure as of the beginning of 2019. Meanwhile, and with the start of the olive season, LRA asked the ministry of interior to advise the municipalities and municipalities unions along the Litani River Basin to warn the owners of olive presses against discarding the olive mill wastewater, known as zebra, generated from olive oil extraction, in the waterways. The acidic colored water could damage the areas around West Beqaa and Marjeyoun, namely the waters of Ain Zarqa, the main source of drinking water for many villages and towns there. On the subject, Al Akhbar on October 29 wrote that the estimated overall cost of the ecological degradation resulting from the olive oil industry in the country since 2006 stood at USD 13,27 million. Speaking to the newspaper, the general director of the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute (LARI), Michel Afram, said nothing changed since then concerning the disposal of zebra, for a simple reason, the lack of control, the official indifference towards the problem and the failure to take legal action against violating parties. (Al Akhbar, October 29, November 4, 2020)

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