Posted by: r.m. | November 25, 2013

political corruption + economic injustice = increased pollution, poverty

Once again, political corruption protects economic injustice and result in environmental injustice, threats to livelihoods, and pollution.

Once again.

What officially began as rehabilitation efforts for the fishermen’s ports in Beirut became construction efforts to privatize the port and deny these fishermen their livelihoods. Eviction notices were forced upon these fishermen – and yet they were denied their presence at the court.

And more recently, the crimes escalated to reach the Mediterranean Sea.

The fishermen of Daliyeh in Beirut’s Raouche woke to the noise of drilling and trucks early Wednesday morning, November 13. A bulldozer was carrying the debris piled in front of the port, which it had brought from somewhere a few months ago, and throwing it into the sea. The fishermen lost their cool, knowing very well the damage this will cause. Fisherman Amer Mahfouz shouted at the bulldozer driver. “Stop,” he ordered. “We will stop you by force. You don’t know what you’re doing. This rubble will cause the fish to leave the area. You are destroying the fish population.”

The driver called the company he works for and informed them of the fishermen’s reaction. The company called another company, its partner in the works, to solve the issue. One is owned by Jihad al-Arab and the other by Milad Abou Rjeily.

Speaking to Al-Akhbar, Mahfouz, AKA Abu Adal, wondered, “Who allowed them to throw the rubble into the sea? It is garbage, metal, and dirt. There is nothing more harmful to the marine environment. Where is the Environment Ministry in all this?

This is not the first time that politically-supported companies in Lebanon throw rubble directly into the sea. It is yet another crime – to be added to an increasingly long list of environmental and economic crimes.




  1. Theres nothing ‘eco’ about Fishing and plundering the marine ecosytem.
    ALL Fishing is barbaric and needs to cease

  2. I think that the nescience is not the reason behind this act. Actually, the authorities know its direct and indirect consequences.
    The point is that they are selfish. They know that they will not be much affected but the fishermen and the future generations. Nevertheless, they do not care..

  3. What does “backed-up” enterprises do not think of is the amount of damage they are causing. This devastation is not only affecting those fishermen’s income, but also the aquatic population as well as inderectly affecting ecotourism. This act is completely refuted and very unorganized. I guess the effects of climate change are not already enough for them to realize the vanadalism the are causing. After all, the absence of censorship will not solve this or similar issues..

  4. [What the*]

  5. Marianne Bersaoui biol207
    The administration corruption is leading to the drain of our eternal power sources. Those sources of energy don’t happen to be “eternal” anymore. If people think throwing garbage into the sea will solve global warming and lots of other enviromental dilemmad, they are fallaciously thinking; they are hasting the oceanic ecosystem to collapse, which will clearly affect the macro ecosystem. So people, think about nature before you act!

  6. The history of political corruption indirect impact on the environment in Lebanon is a long one. After all, we are all aware of beaches that illegally belong now to companies and resorts. Throwing garbage in the see; the issue that is presented in the article is a dangerous one. Moreover, the highest danger lies in the “metal” belonging garbage which might be incorporated into the tissues of fishes and ultimately end up affecting us due to the greed of certain corrupted people.

  7. Jad Ghantous Biol207
    In a country like Lebanon everything is possible in terms of political corruption. This is an incident that should bring shame upon anyone that allowed it because they are destroying a world of marine life who are the backbone of several poor fishermen looking for a decent living. Even the fisherman who is responsible for getting fish out of the sea and decreasing their population numbers is still aware of the environmental impact of dumping wastes and debris into the sea.

  8. Sami Nabhani BIOL207

    “Let’s get rid of our garbage by throwing it in the sea, what a wonderful idea!” The damage inflicted by these “politically protected” companies is just sickening. Just so that they increase their profit year after the other, these companies are throwing their wastes instead of recycling them because, well, it will obviously diminish their profit! It is quite sad to see that there is no one out there willing to stop this from happening since this will eventually lead to many serious consequences on the marine life. Knowing that there are countless non marine living organisms that depend on these aquatic animals, the damage inflicted basically reaches all of these organisms and not just the organisms living in the sea.
    As long as money is ruling our country then these companies will never stop on destroying the habitats of many organisms whether on land or in water.

    I really wanted to know more about marine habitat destruction so I saw this great article on the National Geographic website:

  9. when i read your article’s title, in mind i directly responded with “what is it this time?” because it could easily fit to many more articles concerning politics affecting environmental issues negatively. this is so expected and sickening. it is almost impossible to believe or trust anyone in charge in this country. and so aridi claims to admitting the whole truth while many questions remained unanswered. if it really was a thought out plan by the companies owned by hariris representatives why did it fail? the back and forth between what was said by the fishermen and what was thought to have happened is absurd. its sad to see how the people in such high positions continue to fabricate stories and sell it to the media to defend their actions. it just makes me wish that the people who make decisions about the conditions of regular citizen’s lives like the fishermen or even us are affected by these same conditions too. if they remain living on cloud nine off the money they make off of the helpless they would never start trying to actually do their job and contribute to improving the lives of the lebanese citizens.
    the fishermen knew how harmful the debris would be if dumped into the sea. they made this clear and i admire them for their efforts and voice advocating this. “Legal disposal would have come at a cost, but dumping the waste in the sea would’ve saved them thousands of dollars.” and to think it would be worth it. possibly wiping out an entire school of fish for the sake of these few thousands? harming their food and their homes. where is the logic behind this? poor voiceless fish. speak up gentlemen, hopefully your efforts will be appreciated by someone who actually deserves his/her place in our corrupted government.

  10. […] the news from November 2013? ”What officially began as rehabilitation efforts for the fishermen’s ports in […]

  11. Aida Metri (BIOL207)

    political corruption + economic injustice = increased pollution, poverty
    The title of this article just grabbed my attention since basically this is the situation we are facing in our daily lives. The people who are supposed to be looking out for the environment are just completely absent from the picture.
    Bigger companies just want to throw things into the ocean since its cheaper and easier for them to do, they don’t think about how they actually affect the people that live off of the ocean and the organisms that live in it. A fisherman stated: “The fishing populations would collapse completely if it happens. Some of the fish only come to the rocks beneath the water. When they are replaced by solid waste, the fish will go very far away. The crabs will die and none will return to the rocks. The octopuses will disappear from the area, along with many other species of fish.” So basically, by doing what they are doing, they will destroy the fish population in our country, not to mention littering the ocean we all swim and eat out off. Those big time company owners only think of themselves and what benefits them and how they can save a few bucks. Realistically, the ocean doesn’t even belong to us, it belongs to the organisms we are harming when we throw our garbage into their habitat.

    “Yesterday, the fishermen were able to stop the assault by their own strength. They also announce they are willing to sacrifice everything for their rights and will not remain silent in front of the “big people.”.” Well, it’s really sad to read something like this. Obviously, we think that’s great somebody is standing up for the ocean, but these little voices are hard to be heard. There are people who have “big voices” who are supposed to be standing up for the environment who can’t speak for itself, but instead they think about themselves and benefit from bribes. Wake up people before it’s too late and we find ourselves swimming and eating out of a filthy ocean.

  12. Obviously, taking care of our environment reflects no profitable outcomes for our political leaders. So here we go, let’s throw more wastes in the oceans, let’s trash our beautiful Lebanon…or at least what is left of it. Do we also have to ravage our oceans as well? Haven’t we inflicted enough damage on our land already? Unfortunately, when it comes to politics, issues like protecting our environment are of little sense to them. It is sad, indeed. The people who are supposed to guide our country to development and protection are the ones who are doing exactly the opposite. Why would they care anyway? It’s fine for politicians to destroy fishermen’s source of living as long as theirs is doing great. It’s fine to simply abolish marine creatures as long as they are enjoying their holidays and stuffing up their pockets. And we wonder why Lebanon is the way it is…Isn’t it ironic?

  13. How powerful the slogan raised in the picture of Al-Akhbar’s article is, and how much we can tell from it! “The houses of fishermen have become another solidere.” As it refers to one of the most abusive Lebanese families, and the huge amount of damage they have caused and are still causing to the Lebanese citizens just to protect their benefits and increase their financial profits. The first member of this family, a Saudi king protégé, that I won’t name (Hint: there is an airport named after him because he somehow provided the money for its post-war renovation), has taken political corruption to a whole new level. And he transmitted this corruption legacy to his son when the latter inherited the throne of the Lebanese prime ministry.

    It is really depressing to see the level of compassion humans have for each other deteriorate at this huge rate, and for what? For just a couple of thousands of dollars, “big people” have no problem with mercilessly destroying the source of living of poor fishermen and leaving them without any source of income!
    On an ecological level, this narrow planning doesn’t look into the long term negative impact throwing rubbles in the sea can cause on the marine ecosystem. Moreover, it is important to note that even if the rubble was removed later on, the environment wouldn’t be the same as before, and it won’t have the same marine species inhabiting it.

    What minister Aridi did, regardless of what is really happening under the table, is an impressive pioneer act in my opinion; He is known to belong to a political party that has excellent ties with “Hariri Heirs” (I liked the musical harmony in this expression), this however did not stop him from breaking the silence and raising the voice against the unethical use of the port. He was very brave by supporting the rights of fishermen, even if he went against the always spinning political views of his master Walid “Bek”. That is a very nice image to be drawn in the Lebanese media, regardless of what is really happening under the table I repeat. Exposing all the cards for all politicians equally is a skill our dear ministers should acquire for us to dare and say that we’re leaving in a free, sovereign, independent nation.

    A last point I like to comment on is the fact that “Al-Akhbar tried to contact Qaissi on Wednesday, but his phone was closed all day”…. I wonder why.

  14. Nicolas Abdallah (Biol207)

  15. It’s really an awful situation. Seeing our nature being destroyed. Not just because they are animals or plants people can come and destroy their habitats. They are living things, like we are. They breathe, live and die like we do. They end up like dust exactly like we do. Therefore, what makes us different from them? Nothing. People have no right to destroy them, by doing that they are committing a crime, they are killing living things. Like any other crime, they should get what they deserve and be punished for that. There must be a way to make them stop. Industries can’t just cut trees or through garbage, and chemicals in the seas. They are erasing habitats and killing poor animals. The government need to do something about it.

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