'Worst Spill Disaster': Large Tar Deposits on Israeli Coastline Filter Into Lebanese Beach

Published February 22nd, 2021 - 12:52 GMT
A worker at the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center cleans a sea turtle at their center in the Israeli coastal moshav of Mikhmoret, north of Tel Aviv on February 21, 2021, after powerful winds and unusually high waves pummelled Israel's entire Mediterranean coastline earlier in the week, with tonnes of tar staining beaches from Rosh Hanikra, just south of Lebanon, to Ashkelon just north of Gaza. The environmental protection ministry vowed to locate the source of the pollution, saying it was on a rare scale and
A worker at the Israeli Sea Turtle Rescue Center cleans a sea turtle at their center in the Israeli coastal moshav of Mikhmoret, north of Tel Aviv on February 21, 2021, after powerful winds and unusually high waves pummelled Israel's entire Mediterranean coastline earlier in the week, with tonnes of tar staining beaches from Rosh Hanikra, just south of Lebanon, to Ashkelon just north of Gaza. The environmental protection ministry vowed to locate the source of the pollution, saying it was on a rare scale and that the cleanup was set to be "long and difficult". Volunteers from a network of NGOs began cleaning up the beaches along with the ministry, which allocated emergency funds to the relevant municipalities to expedite the manual cleaning. MENAHEM KAHANA / AFP
Highlights
The part of the Lebanese coast covered with tar is a popular tourism site and a beach many Lebanese enjoy.

Tar deposits were detected on the southern coast of Lebanon Monday, caused by an offshore oil spill in neighboring Israel.

Black deposits were discovered on the coast of Tyre and covered around 200 meters of the area that mostly make up a major part of the Tyre Nature Reserve.

The black deposits on Lebanon's shore were detected by after great quantities of tar were spilled on the Israeli coast while being unloaded from a ship. Israel is facing its "worst environmental disaster in a decade” as reported by international media outlets as it has to deal with a devastated coastline covered with tons of tar.

The part of the Lebanese coast covered with tar is a popular tourism site and a beach many Lebanese enjoy. The coast is also a habitat for marine life and a turtle breeding area.

The search and exploration team working in the nearby area has not been able to verify yet if there are more affected areas.

The director of the nature reserve Hasan Hamze told The Daily Star that they still do not know the impact of the oil spill on the area but they noted several contaminated turtles.

"This oil spill poses a very , very big threat to sea life and biodiversity," Hamze added.

Environmental teams started to conduct a survey and assessed the coast stretching from Tyre to Ras al-Naqoura to the south searching for any other areas similarly affected.

The team until now has registered the presence of another tar deposit in the Ras al-Bayada.

Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab followed up on the issue and tasked caretaker Defense Minister Zeina Akar and caretaker Environment Minister Demianos Kattar, in addition to the National Council for Scientific Research, to look into the issue and request from UNIFIL personnel to prepare an official report on the incident and include damage assessment.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

 


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