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Environment Ministry touts response to 2006 oil spill caused by Israeli bombing.

Byline: Sara Mansour

Summary: The Environment Ministry has released a new booklet containing information about the environmental catastrophe caused by Israel's bombing of the fuel tanks at the Jiyyeh power plant during the summer 2006 war. Funded by the Hanns Seidel foundation and entitled "One Year On ... Oil Spill Crisis.

BEIRUT: The Environment Ministry has released a new booklet containing information about the environmental catastrophe caused by Israel's bombing of the fuel tanks at the Jiyyeh power plant during the summer 2006 war. Funded by the Hanns Seidel foundation and entitled "One Year On ... Oil Spill Crisis, July 2006," the 15-page booklet in both English and Arabic recounts the history of the spill between July 2006 and July 2007. This includes a rundown on the events and phases, estimates of environmental degradation and costs and other information, including action that was taken and is to be taken, such as surveys and interventions.

The impact of the spill, estimated at between 12,000 and 15,000 tons, was determined by wind and water currents that spread it across 150 kilometers of Lebanese coast.

Reactions to the oil spill came through different phases.

According to the booklet, initial intervention began with coordination from the Environment Ministry of and various embassies and non-governmental organizations. This resulted, the booklet says, in preventing about 25,000 more tons of heavy fuel oil from being spilled into the sea.

According to the ministry's booklet, subsequent intervention, which ran from August 2006 until March 2007, determined the criteria and resources necessary to alleviate the adverse effects of the oil spill based on a shoreline survey. This completed Phase I of intervention.

A "comprehensive survey of all polluted sites," running in April and May 2007, identified priorities sites for Phase II work. The results of an underwater survey are listed, in the booklet, as well as a map of Lebanon with thumbnail images from each location surveyed.

There is also information about the cleanup process, which recovered 1,144 cubic meters of liquid waste and 7,537 cubic meters of semi-solid and solid waste.

The booklet provides information about the locations the waste was moved to, the method of its storage, and options for the disposal of the waste outlined in order of priority.

Briefly discussing the cost of environmental degradation, the booklet also mentions a United Nations resolution that assigns blame to Israel for the oil spill and its responsibility to compensate Lebanon for the damage. A copy of the resolution is printed in the booklet, as well as a list of all involved partners in the crisis and images of the sites discussed.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Date:Feb 28, 2008
Words:454
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