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Environmental impact study funded by the EU
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A project funded by the European Union studied the effect of urbanisation, tourism pressures and potential hazards on the country’s coastal environment. High habitat risk was detected in areas such as the old city of Byblos, Raoucheh, Ramlet Al Bayda, Jnah as well as the shore that lies south of Beirut International airport.

The project, called Great Med, was implemented and concluded by Saint Joseph University (USJ), between the end of 2013 and last month, in both coastal areas of Byblos and Beirut, and in three other Mediterranean countries.

The total budget for Lebanon was around $300,000. GREAT Med dealt with crucial environmental issues, such as sustaining biodiversity, and focused on an integrated strategy for the conservation of the coastal area. Magda Bou Dagher Kharrat, President of the Natural Sciences Division, Faculty of Sciences, at USJ, said that “Great Med helps authorities (nationwide) and municipalities (locally) know where the most threatened coastal areas are, so that urban planning will refrain from giving permissions to build new facilities except according to the risk map.”

Urban expansion, frequent tourism, road networks, oil spills, infrastructure and industrial waste are among the threats that jeopardize the coastline environment.

The work was done in collaboration with the National Council for Scientific Research (NCSR) and the American University of Beirut (AUB).
Reported by Walid Merhi
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Date Posted: Jan 13, 2016