By Mohammed Zaatari
Thursday, August 12, 2010

SIDON: Sidon Mayor Mohammad al-Saudi diverted the Qamleh wastewater canal on Wednesday, in a first step to limit pollution on the shore of the southern coastal city.

Saudi visited the Qamleh shore, facing the Zaatari Mosque, and described it as “polluted by sewers.”

He said the wastewater canal was “one of the biggest canals going into the sea.”

The mayor ordered the closing of the duct and he ordered linking it to the main tube, leading to the Siniq water pump.

“This step was not born today. We started working on it as soon as the municipal council assumed its duties,” Saudi said, calling it a big achievement.

He added that the Sidon shore would be cleaned progressively throughout the coming months.

“The remaining canals will be diverted in the coming months,” he said, noting that Sidon counted five wastewater ducts.

“The most important canal was at the Qamleh beach, which used to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the city. It’s a shame to see it polluted in such a manner,” he added.

The mayor apologized to the locals for any disturbance on Riyad al-Solh Street while executing the project.

Wastewater is not the only environmental problem in Sidon. Its notorious landfill, opened more than 40 years ago, is considered an environmental crisis and hazard to everyone.

Fires have repeatedly erupted at the dump and they have often proven difficult to extinguish. Also, waste has been constantly falling from the dump into the sea.

There have been many meetings and conferences to try and remedy Sidon’s environmental crisis – even before Saudi was elected – but projects of a support wall, a new landfill and a waste-processing factory have barely materialized.