Lebanon Businessnews News

Litani water treatment project approved
World Bank to help finance the $700 million plan
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The Parliamentary finance and budget committee approved a draft law for the treatment of Litani River. The draft received unanimous support by committee members.

Committee chairman Ibrahim Kanaan said: “The importance of this law is derived from the river’s use to water crops surrounding its banks.”

“Following long deliberations about the mechanism to treat the river’s pollution and allocate funds to finance the project, the draft law has been approved with a cost of $700 million,” he said.

The draft was proposed by MPs representing West Bekaa and Zahle, including the committee’s registrar MP Jamal El Jarrah, who said: “As lawmakers representing Bekaa, we found out that the number of cancer cases rocketed in only three years to 500 percent.” Pollution is focused in south middle Bekaa, in areas such as Anjar, Kob Elias, Bouarej, and Mreijat, which have no wastewater treatment plants or networks, according to El Jarrah.

There are four sources of pollution: Solid waste, industrial waste, wastewater, and agricultural pollution. “Most of the wastewater in Bekaa area is directly going towards the river, without any kind of treatment,” he said.

The draft law took months of preparation, prior to acquiring the approval of the parliamentary committee for public works and energy. It calls for implementing a seven-year plan that treats pollution from the river’s source in Eaat-Baalbeck until it reaches the sea.

El Jarrah expressed the public sector’s willingness to collaborate with civil society organizations to help end this phenomenon.

“World Bank has allocated $50 million as a first step to fund the project,” El Jarrah said, assuring that Mediterranean countries would also help fund the project, considering they are too affected by the project.

Reported by Yassmine Alieh
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Date Posted: Mar 12, 2014