“Curious, always on the outlook for the latest development in sustainability related field, and passionate about being an agent of social change in my community “
Written by Lama Diab from Lebanon
Lebanon was once famous for its wild green forest among its neighboring countries. The reason I say “was” is because unfortunately we have “Mafia Quarry”.
Illegal quarries are estimated to number between 700 and 1,300 in Lebanon. They extract stone or sand, which is then used by construction companies to build apartments, shopping malls and offices, as well as for landscaping. The proliferation of quarries began in the early 1990s, at the end of the civil war, as the country tried to rebuild itself after 15 years of a large-scale destruction. While quarrying can be performed in a sustainable way, most of the country’s quarries are illegal, unregulated, and are rapidly beheading Lebanon’s mountains. And the more “Mafia quarry” is putting behind their back the environment problems that they are causing due to the chaotic approach of destruction of the forest and trees, the more climate is affected.
We all know that quarry companies are generating lots of money, so stopping them is impossible. However, what we are asking is to have an organization, monitoring, and the application of the correct law, so the negative impact of the quarries can be reduced. We want to advocate these operations in environmental ways, to find rules and laws to control them. In fact, according to environmental journalist Nabil Abu Ghanem, such rules were established by the Ministry of Environment in 1997, but are not applied.
In my opinion, it is crucial that the quarries choose locations that do not adversely affect the natural surroundings and the living creatures that live there; they need to know how to select the site.
On another note but in the same context, we can notice that in Lebanon the private sector consortium still does not really understand the concept of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). For example, a famous company destroyed the only and rare green space in Beirut to build a mall (as if we need another one..). The same company is preaching through a CSR program about Recycling and Eco-conscious initiatives.
In conclusion, we hope that the Lebanese government will start applying the environmental rules on the quarries, and private sector will start implementing sustainable strategies into their core businesses, instead of harming the environment and then “doing good”. Following that strategy, the damage on the Climate change will decrease.