Campaign to Destroy Opium Fields in Lebanon Begins
On Tuesday, guarded by policemen and soldiers, bulldozers started destroying fields of opium poppy plants around the eastern ancient Roman city of Baalbek in the Bekaa Valley of Lebanon, according to AP.
The campaign, one of the biggest in years, came days after Interior Minister Elias Murr promised to destroy the poppy crop and bring growers and dealers to justice.
The Bekaa Valley, long notorious as one of the world's main narcotics-growing regions, was used for growing opium and cannabis during the 1975-90 civil war, generating an estimated $500 million annually.
A government crackdown, supported by troops, in the early 1990s eradicated most of the plantations. However, some Bekaa farmers have recently returned to cannabis and opium cultivation due to the fact that alternative crops encouraged by the government were not profitable. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)