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Environmentalists Warn Of Mediterranean Pollution From Lebanon Land Reclamation

A land reclamation project that uses vast amounts of garbage extends hundreds of feet into the sea. "We are fishing plastic," says a fisherman. The country has long struggled to manage its waste.
Garbage lies north of Beirut in 2017, after it washed away from a nearby seaside dump. Beirut and its suburbs generate some 3,000 tons of garbage per day. Source: Joseph Eid

On a bright, beautiful October day, Lebanese fisherman Emilio Eid is in his boat on the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's scenic mountain ranges are clear in the distance.

But the water around him is brown and littered with pieces of floating plastic. He spots bottles, a toothbrush, a used condom. An acrid smell burns his eyes and throat.

"Garbage, garbage, garbage," Eid says, and turns to look toward the coast.

There, a huge mound rises out of the water. A steady stream of trucks drives onto it, emptying loads of waste onto compressed trash and dirt extending hundreds of feet into the Mediterranean.

It is a form of land reclamation – the process of adding to the coastline. In this case, the process involves dumping thousands of tons of trash directly into the sea.

Lebanon is drowning in its own garbage. Beirut and its suburbs alone generate more than 3,000 tons of trash per

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