By Mohammed Zaatari
The Daily Star

SIDON: Sidon’s municipality will embark on a plan to rehabilitate a beach in the southern coastal city by furnishing it with sand, in preparation for the summer season.

The city’s municipal council decided during a session last week to buy hundreds of tons of sand for the beach in the Qamla coastal neighborhood in an effort to replace the sand it has lost over the decades.
The coastal area had been contaminated with sewage before the solid waste treatment plant in Sinnik began to operate earlier this year.

Sources from the municipality told The Daily Star that the sand will be bought from local companies that usually buy the material from Egypt.

The sources added between 1,500 and 2,000 tons of sand is needed to cover the 120,000 square meter beach.

Meanwhile, Sidon’s municipality is working on clearing the beach of refuse that the sea carried in from the city’s massive waste dump during winter.

It is hoped that these steps will enable city residents to enjoy a clean and sandy beach once again.

Engineer Ziad Hakawati, head of the engineering office of the municipality, told The Daily Star that the municipality will ensure ongoing maintenance in the Sinnik plant over the summer to prevent sewage from being washed onto the beach again.

However, the waste dump, which is located on the southern side of Sidon, remains a major environmental problem which successive governments have failed to address.

The municipality announced in March that the dump has reached capacity and can no longer accommodate refuse from towns surrounding Sidon where garbage has piled up on streets as residents have nowhere else to leave their trash.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 12, 2011, on page 3.