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19 February 2018
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Environmental Disasters > Oil Spill Catastrophe
Environmental Disasters
Oil Spill Catastrophe

On July 13 and 15, 2006,  Fuel Storage Tanks in Jiyeh power plant (30 km South of Beirut) were bombed by Israel.
Out of around 75,000 tonnes of Heavy fuel oil stored in the power plant storage tanks, around 12 – 15,000 tonnes spilled and the rest burnt.
More than 70 sites (along 150 km of the coast of Lebanon) were affected by the spill: public or private, rocky, sandy, or pebble beaches, including cultural, historical and touristic resorts and harbours and fishermen’s wharfs. 
South West winds and water currents carried the pollution Northwards along the coast of Lebanon reaching the coast of the Syrian Arab Republic. 
The Ministry of Environment requested assistance from no less than 31 countries via their embassies in Lebanon as well as the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC),The ministry of Environment, also, contacted around 71 national and international organizations and 80 national NGO's requesting help.
To manage this crisis (lack of resources), the Ministry of Environment prioritized the work that needed to be done and divided it into two main phases:
  • Phase I: From August 2006 until March 2007 covered 70 sites
  • Phase II: From April 2007: After completion of Phase I work in March 2007 and to identify priority sites for Phase II work, a comprehensive survey of all polluted sites was carried out over the months of April and May 2007 and a map of these sites was produced and circulated to all potential partners. 
An underwater survey was also conducted in order to assess the status of the intertidal zone all along the coast from Jadra (south of Jiyeh Power Plant) until Abdeh (Northern Border). ). The results were that some submerged heavy fuel oil was detected only in:
  • a sandy stretch in Jiyeh, 
  • a sandy beach in Byblos
30 sites were identified and plotted on the map
Other Major Developments:
  • Issuance of 10 resolutions by the United Nations General Assembly that clearly assigned blame to Israel;  (Res. 61/194, Res. 62/188, Res. 63/211 , Res. 64/195, Res. 65/147, Res. 66/192, Res. 67/201, Res.68/206 , Res. 69/212 , Res. 70/194)
  • Production of an award winning documentary titled “The Oil Spill in Lebanon” which was funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the IUCN
  • Post Phase II: Comprehensive shoreline Survey from tyre to the northern Borders of Lebanon: UNDP/EPE (shoreline survey and Underwater survey): 12 sites are still polluted (4% of the Lebanese coast and only 1% is heavily polluted)
  • Clean-up of the remaining 10 sites.
Waste Management
Spill Cleanup Operations generate Oil Spill waste: 
  • liquid waste (collected fuel) or
  • semi-solid (polluted sand),
  • and solid (polluted pebbles, equipment and debris). 
All waste was stored in sealed containers and moved from the sites (on the shoreline) to the following safe temporary storage sites:
  • IPC Oil Refinery 
  • Zahrani Oil Refinery 
  • Jiyeh Power Plant
  • Zouk power Plant: all liquid waste
Oil Spill Waste Treatment: 
  • Ramlet El Bayda: Sand washing by Recoverit Recoverit International Pty Ltd
  • Sand Dunes – Byblos: Stabilization with Quicklime of Oil Polluted Sand for use in base coarse layers of road works in the reclaimed sea area by the Lebanese Company for the Development and Reconstruction of Beirut Central District (SOLIDERE) in cooperation with the Council for Development and Reconstruction
  • Zahrani Oil Refinery – Oil spill waste treatment by Recoverit International Pty Ltd
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