BEIRUT: Koura’s natural resources are at risk of disappearing due to several environmental breaches carried out in north Lebanon, MP Fadi Karam warned Monday, calling for action to end these violations.

“It’s as if some greedy people are fed up with watching the Koura greenery, so they surrounded it with projects that aren’t suitable for citizens’ health,” Karam said during a news conference held at Parliament.

“Starting with a suspicious construction project in the Zarkoun and Fiih area that might be turned into a quarry, to smoke emitted from companies – which have always promised citizens to reduce the sufferings of people who inhale their carcinogenic dust … to a landfill that will be forcibly implemented in the Chekaa-Koura area, which would increase the percentage of pollution,” he said.

Karam also pointed to an ineffective sewage system that was dumping waste in fields.

“In the name of the Koura citizens, we say we will not let anyone increase their profit in a suspicious, corrupted and twisted way at the expense of our health [or] the cleanliness of our environment,” Karam said.

He stressed that the Naameh dump scenario would not be repeated in Koura, referring to a landfill in the Chouf set up in 1997 that was supposed to stay open for only six years. The dump has exceeded its original capacity five-fold and continues to receive garbage from the Metro Beirut area, which has exposed residents to dangerous gas emissions and odors.

Describing it as a “conspiracy” to affect Koura’s environment, Karam explained that the district’s green spaces were in danger because the new projects didn’t fulfill the minimum requirements for protecting the environment and keeping it clean.

The reason for the continuation of such violations, Karam explained, is because there’s a lack of planning coupled with irresponsibility and corruption. “And some political groups are covering up for such projects.”

“I call on the environment minister [Mohammad Machnouk] to join the citizens of Koura in defending their threatened and collapsing environment faced by pollution and corruption,” Karam said. “Let’s preserve, just once, those areas of ours that remain healthy and qualified.” Machnouk couldn’t be reached for comment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on December 02, 2014, on page 4.
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