Environmental Devastation in Lebanon

| Wed Aug. 2, 2006 3:00 PM EDT

Admittedly I'm worried more about residential apartment buildings being bombed than I am about dead sea-turtles, but the environmental damage caused by the war in Lebanon has been absolutely staggering. The Jiyeh power plant near Beirut has leaked some 15,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean sea since it was targeted by Israeli air strikes two weeks ago. (As first reported, I belive, right here on this blog.)

The oil has slicked a third of Lebanon's coast and could affect Cyprus, Turkey, and possibly Greece. Cleanup crews can't get to the mess due to the violence, and it could cost up to $500 million to clean up and ten years for the ecosystem to return to normal, by some estimates. As Lebanon's environment minister, Yaacoub Sarraf, told the AP, "What is at stake today is all marine life in the eastern Mediterranean."