Tags / Environmental Protection
To celebrate the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity 2011-2020, an environmentalist and a photojournalist visited 10 countries in 300 days in order to discover the most innovative solutions implemented by the peoples of the world to preserve the biodiversity of our planet. A fabulous educational journey through the Amazon, the Arabian desert, the Andes, the Pacific Ocean and more!
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Nahr Ibrahim, Lebanon
Febraury 9, 2015
The construction of a dam in the area of Janna, Lebanon, is causing wide controversy among local residents, ecologists and even certain politicians.
Janna, whose name means ‘paradise’ in Arabic, is a picturesque valley near Ibrahim River in north Lebanon, which hosts a rare ecosystem according to ecologists. Concerned Lebanese fear that this project will ruin the natural site without succeeding in retaining water. Geologist Samir Zaatiti warns that the surface on which the dam is being built covers large pits that absorb water.
There are also fears that the project might threaten the water source that feeds the Jeita Grotto, a submerged cave known as a tourist destination.
Preparations for the construction have started and many trees in the areas have been cleared.
Despite its rich water resources, Lebanon has struggled with a water distribution crisis due to the lack of adequate infrastructure.
The full version of the story is available here: https://www.transterramedia.com/media/56852
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Dr. Samir Zaatiti, Hydrologist:
“My professor Michel Bakrovich, the president of the French Hydrologists Association, AHF, believes that this dam will be a like a sieve. He said that it will be dangerous. There is a high risk that earthquakes could occur under the dam.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man), Jean Abi Akar, Local Resident
00:42 – 00:57
“We have lived in this area since 1820. Our grandparents and fathers’ bones are here, as well as their sweat and blood. Nobody was able to preserve this land. The monks were not able to preserve this land and did not allow us to preserve it either. We were gradually displaced.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Man) Raja Noujaim, Archaeologist and member of the Association to Protect Lebanon’s Heritage
00:58 – 01:33
“The study we have conducted is very clear; this dam will not retain water because the surface at its bottom does not allow it. There are wells that can cover the need for water in the entire Byblos area. However, they [the government] are not interested in doing small projects like these. They want to do big projects to boast about them. Of course, corruption is involved. “More than 300,000 trees and shrubs in this area will be cut down. I dare any expert to come and say that this operation does not have a negative influence. I dare any expert to say that this dam is being built to serve agriculture.”
SOUNDBITE (Arabic, Woman) Joelle Barakat, Activist at the Association for the Protection of Jabal Moussa
01:48 – 02:12
“Many inhabitants of the area are farmers, so this river is vital for them. The local inhabitants are the only people who will suffer because of this project. Their natural environment will be ruined; they will no longer benefit from the valley as a touristic site. All of this is being done so that water which is not clean can reach Beirut; water that needs to be purified.”
A view of farmlands in threat from what local farmers call the 'cyanide mountain', formed by the dumping of mine tailings from the local gold mine.