The ongoing Israeli-US aggression against Lebanon did not only intentionally target civilians and destroy infrastructure; it also attacked the country’s natural environment. During the first days of the war, an Israeli air raid on the Jiyyeh electrical power plant resulted in spilling 15,000 tons of heavy fuel oil into the Mediterranean and the burning of about 25,000 tons. Hitting more than 100 km of the Lebanese coast, more than 50 km of the Syrian coast and still moving Northwards, this spill could be considered as one of the largest environmental disasters in the Mediterranean history. Turkish, Cypriot and Greek coasts are at high risk of being hit by the spill.
One year after the oil spill, Green Line criticizes the international community and specifically the US government for failing to take any measures to hold Israel liable and force it to compensate for the intentional damage caused to humans and environment.
In July 2007, Professor Richard Steiner conducted on behalf of Green Line and IUCN/CEESP an assessment of the situation one year after the spill. The assessment report – one year after the spill – will be posted soon on Green Line’s website.
Lebanon Oil Spill Rapid Assessment and Response Mission
Professor Rick Steiner, the oil spill expert from the University of Alaska, was commissioned by Green Line and IUCN for the first time in August 2006 to assess the oil spill in Lebanon. Professor Steiner’s assessment during the month of August 2006 showed that delaying cleanup efforts has increased the ecological damage from the oil spill and that local authorities have not been doing their jobs properly. Professor Steiner also held Israel responsible for this oil spill and requested 1 billion dollar compensation for the damage.
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Oil Spill Emergency Response and Prevention Plans for Lebanon
Alison Kelley, the Oil Spill Environment Unit Response Leader in Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, came to Lebanon in November 2006, and helped Green Line in developing a preliminary “Oil Spill Emergency Response and Prevention Plans for Lebanon”. As an Alaskan, the memories of the Good Friday Exxon Valdez Oil Spill of 1989 remain vivid in Alison’s head, despite the region’s overall recovery. She says that they have learned a lot from that disaster, especially in terms of how ill-prepared they were to protect their resources from environmental damage. When Alison learned of the Jiyeh Power Plant spill in Lebanon, she felt that it was an excellent opportunity to take some of her oil spill prevention and response skills to this part of the world to see if she could offer some assistance. Much like Alaska during the Exxon Valdez, a critical element of the oil spill’s impact to our region was the nation’s lack of preparedness for such an event. Green Line believes that developing a preliminary Oil Spill Contingency Plan (OSCP) can help minimize this type of environmental damage in the future.
Activities Green Line is following up and monitoring all clean up activities undergone by different local and international organizations along the seafront. In parallel, Green Line is currently preparing a legal report on the oil spill compensation fund, holding Israel responsible for the entire economic and ecological damage. Green Line is also initiating a scientific study on the impact of the oil spill on marine life and the impact of the oil droplets fallout in Jiyeh on human health.
Israeli Army refuses to allow oil spill aerial survey flight off Lebanon, 18 August 2006
Green Line: Cleanup Operations Must Start Now, 15 August 2006
Fact Sheets: Download files :
Oil Spill Press Conference – August 23rd, 2006
Oil Spill Press Conference -2 – 2006