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Launching of the project towards a plastic free Mediterranean Sea

Lebanese civil society and the European Union Delegation to Lebanon today launched a new environmental initiative tackling marine litter. The joint initiative is part of the “Bahr Bala Plastic” project, which aims at raising awareness about the dangers related to plastic and reducing its use. The “Bahr Bala Plastic” project is funded by the European Union and co-managed by the Lebanon Eco Movement and Lebanon Environment Forum. The initiative launched in Byblos will allow small non-profit and for-profit organisations to receive financial support for local initiatives aimed at combatting marine litter, its causes and effects, and fighting plastic pollution all along the Lebanese coast.

The event was
attended by EU Ambassador Christina Lassen, Richard Hanna, First Advisor of the
Minister of Environment, Wissam Zaarour, Mayor of Byblos, Sami Assaf, Chairman
of the Association of the Lebanese Industrialists – The Environment Committee,
and members of the administrative bodies of the Lebanese Environment Forum and
the Lebanese Environmental Movement.

In her
speech, Ambassador Lassen reiterated the European Union’s commitment to
protecting the environment. “In the coming months we will be strengthening
our existing efforts and investing more than half a million euro for combatting
marine litter and fighting plastic pollution, and we hope that many
organisations will come up with innovative ideas to fight sea pollution”.
“Lebanon has a beautiful nature, but we are worried because we see how the
environment is degrading in all fields, and we hope the political will is there
to stop that degradation”, she added.

Paul Abi
Rashed, President of the Lebanon Eco Movement, addressed the global crisis of
plastic waste and its negative impact on the environment and public health,
especially in the seas and oceans. He stressed the dangers of plastics and
microplastics to birds, marine organisms, and humans.

Malek Ghandour, Head of the Lebanese Environment Forum stated: “The time has come to treat our beaches as national nature reserves rather than waste dumps”. He underlined the dangers of plastic on water and public health. Concluding, Ghandour explained that the new project will help identify the critical spots along the coast, lobby and formulate legislations to protect them.

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