Turning Lebanon Green?

Lebanon is anything but an environmentally friendly country. A simple five minute drive is always littered with people throwing things out of their car, with pile-ups of garbage on the sides of the highway, with smoke emanating from factories aptly located on our beaches…

Our electrical resources – whatever’s available of them at least – all rely of fossil fuel. The list of Lebanon’s lack of environmental friendliness can include non-existent sewage systems, non-insulated housing, etc.

The root of the problem, however, isn’t in houses and fuel electrical plants. It’s in the idea that throwing a (non-biodegradeable) bag out of your car is better than keeping it inside. As simple as that idea is, it happens very frequently and is a testament to the mentalities of people regarding the matter. The danger of such an idea is in its reflection on higher-up authorities, manifesting in an absolute lack of policies regarding the environment.

Perhaps turning Lebanon green isn’t among our priorities as a nation. After all, the current political debacle is about anything but the environment. However, with impeding gas and oil drilling, shouldn’t we start thinking more about how such projects impact where we live given that we might end up with the resources to think about such entities?

But it’s not all bad. There are current projects aimed at harnessing renewable energy for electricity purposes, of which I note Lebanon’s first win turbine (info) and covering the Beirut River with solar panels (info), regardless of any comments I might have on the projects. There are also people working to turn Lebanon green and more environmentally aware in the form of NGOs and environmental organizations.

Of those organizations is a new one called Lebanon Going Green (Facebook page) which is working at getting people to adopt a “greener” lifestyle. To illustrate what they’re trying to do, the following is something they highlighted.

Take a look at this house in Batroun:

Batroun House Environment

It’s an old, typical house. I’d say there’s nothing really special about it besides the location – it faces the sea. Perhaps it might be charming for some.

Now take a look at the same house again, this time in its current state:

Batroun House Environment 2What if I told you the above renovation was completely green-friendly and doesn’t cost more than similar luxury houses built in non-enviornmental ways?

The house has a green rooftop with an irrigation system that re-uses the water utilized by the house. The home appliances employed are all energy friendly, effectively reducing the house’s electricity consumption considerably. The wood you see is all treated and was used to replace cement in order to reduce the house’s carbon footprint. The walls inside the house were reinforced with reused wood. The house is also completely insulated, which further reduces the inhabitant’s need for heating.

Another example of Lebanese environmentally-friendly companies is Cedar Environmental, which has built 11 facilities since 1999 to ¬†accommodate up to 47,000 tons of waste. The waste received is turned into EU-certified fertilizers, furniture, etc…. Many of the furniture they make is donated to schools.

Perhaps people are becoming more aware about the need to be more careful with how they treat the place we’re all living in. For instance, the event Lebanon Going Green held at AUB a couple of weeks ago was completely booked, which indicates interest. But it’ll be a while before Lebanon goes green. However, with firm steps in that direction and no politically motivated people to create hurdles, I don’t see why those steps will stop.

Kudos to everyone involved in the aforementioned projects.