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Launching of COMMON project in Tyr to tackle Marine litter

COMMON project (COastal Management and MOnitoring Network
for tackling marine litter in Mediterranean Sea), was launched at Beit Al
Mamlouk, Tyre on July 18, 2020.

This project aims at building a collaboration network
between Italy, Tunisia and Lebanon, to support a correct management of Marine
Litter. The waste of sea has become a serious concern in the Mediterranean
basin, which calls the need for a collective response with an integrated
approach, in which the various political actors and civil society can work
together and in a coordinated way. The event was presented by Eng. Hasan Dbouk
(TCNR committee president, President of the Union of Tyr Municipalities), Mr.
Malek Ghandour (AMWAJ President), Dr. Fadi Karam (JTS officer – Lebanon),
Mohamad Itani (ENI CBC MED Focal Point – Lebanon), Mr. Hisham Abou Jaoude (TE
COMMON-AMWAJ) and Dr. Nahed Msayleb (PM COMMON- TCNR), in the presence of
different stakeholders, municipalities, journalists and citizens. Tyre Coast
that extends from Litani River estuary (Al Qasimiye) to Ras Al Ain is one of
the five pilot areas of the project, where awareness campaigns and monitoring
activities will take place, both to study the issue and to preserve the

The COMMON project, funded by the European Union under the
ENI CBC MED programme, with a budget of 2.2 million euros, gathers the Amwaj of
the Environment NGO and the Tyre Coast Nature Reserve from Lebanon, the Italian
NGO Legambiente, the University of Siena, and the Mediterranean Agronomic
Institute of Bari from Italy, and the National Institute of Sciences and
Technologies of the Sea and the University of Sousse from Tunisia. One common
goal: tackling Marine Litter using the principles of Integrated Coastal Zone
Management (ICZM) in 5 pilot areas, two in Italy (Maremma, Salento), two in
Tunisia (Kuriat Island e Monastir) and one in Lebanon (Tyre) in order to
develop the use and monitoring of resources and promote an effective
participatory approach involving stakeholders and local communities, with the
ambition to test a model possibly transferable throughout the whole
Mediterranean basin.

COMMON wants to improve the awareness on marine litter
issue, to develop training and capacity building activities for local and
regional authorities, Marine Protected Areas, Sea Turtle Rescue centres and
citizens in general. It will activate awareness-raising campaigns and
networking activities, will involve local communities and economic operators in
the integration of marine waste management and disposal with the ICZM approach.
Given the nature of marine environments, not isolated from the surrounding
context, sea-related problems can only be tackled at the community level and
with a multi-stakeholder approach.

“On average, waste generation in Lebanon is estimated at 481
kg per capita every year, which is considered high in comparison with countries
with similar economies. This amounts to 6,555 tons of municipal solid wastes
daily”, says Nahed Msayleb, Director of Tyre Coast Nature Reserve and project manager
at TCNR. “85% of solid wastes get disposed-off in landfills without any
treatment or sorting, some of which are marine. Recent studies showed that 80%
of marine litter in Lebanon is composed of plastic, which requires 1000 years
to fully decompose, making it the most dangerous litter type on marine
biodiversity, with 124,000kg daily disposed-off inadequately. Moreover, the
Lebanese shoreline is under huge litter pressure generated from dumpsters on
the coastal line, rubbles generated from public construction projects,
domestic/Municipal Wastewaters and Factories’ flows that get injected in the
sea. So, there is the need to projects like COMMON, to tackle the waste problem
in an integrated and coordinated way”.

Mr. Malek Ghandour president of AMWAJ described the
situation at the pilot area “Tyre, is a historical peninsula listed on the
World Heritage List, and located in the middle of the pilot area chosen for the
implementation of the project on the coast of South Lebanon that extends from
Litani River estuary (Al Qasimiye), to Ras Al Bayada. This coast is
distinguished by the sandy beach, the agricultural lands for citrus, bananas,
vegetables, trade ports, fishermen, natural springs, marine fountains, and
marine turtle nesting sites. All these characteristics prompted to work on
issuing Tyre Coast Nature Reserve law (South of Tyre – 1998) and the Abbasiye
Coast Reserve law (North of Tyre – 2020) for an integrated management of the
Lebanese coast in partnership with governmental and non-governmental sectors
and municipalities, on announcing and managing marine reserves for important
sites for protection, and supporting local communities through improving
livelihood and economic resources and involving 
them in the protection and management of resources in a balanced and
sustainable way”.

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