BEIRUT: The Environment Ministry signed a 1.6 million euro ($2 million) agreement with the Greek Embassy and the United Nations Tuesday with the aim of monitoring environmental resources.

The initiative was valued at 1.64 million euros and will include studies of various types of pollution in Lebanon and several environmental projects.

Environment Minister Mohammad Rahhal ratified the agreement with Greek Ambassador to Lebanon Banos Calogeriopolis and the UN Environment Program regional director Habib Habr.

Rahhal thanked the UN and the Greek government for their aid and said the agreement was “a fundamental project in executing the ministry’s work plan.”

“We know that our environmental losses exceed $700 million per year,” he said, noting that 70 percent of Lebanon’s pollution was air pollution caused by the transportation system and the industrial sector.

Rahhal then mentioned a ministerial plan to improve the transportation sector and talked about the environmental responsibility each Mediterranean country should have to preserve its shores, mentioning the hazards caused by the notorious waste dump in the southern coastal city of Sidon and by directing waste water canals to the sea.

“This annoys our neighbors in the Mediterranean,” he said, and added that he expected the Sidon landfill problem to be solved soon.

Calogeriopolis also stressed the need to preserve Lebanon’s beach and described the Lebanese shore as “a treasure.”