To date, the Lebanese authorities still have not implemented proper measures for sanitation in the country.
Our rivers are polluted by untreated sewage, to an extent that the LITANI River receives an estimate of around 40,000,000m3 of wastewater per year! This figure was prior to the COVID- 19 pandemic.
What About Now?
Time waits for no one. We had to face climate change, and we did not accelerate the adaptation and mitigation measures.
Coronavirus invaded us, with its implications on increasing the water demand for hand washing and hygiene in general, not to mention the rise of pollution in domestic water due to the increased use of detergent and disinfectants. And yet, nothing has been done to cope with this change.
Even before this, Lebanese citizens had been suffering from lack of access to clean domestic water, and purchased the water from private vendors (tanker trucks) where safety is not insured.
The authorities still have not reflected seriousness in rectifying our solid waste treatment issue. Again, time will wait for no one.
Here, a valid question arises. How we are going to safely dispose of the hazardous and medical waste contaminated with the virus? What is the plan?
Financially, the country is a plant withering and now with the Coronavirus pandemic the situation has worsened. Hence, the inability of ensuring an on-going supply of equipment and chemicals material to the water and sanitation services providers poses a great threat to our lives.
And the most dangerous issue is that several research groups have reported detecting Coronavirus in waste water. We need an urgent and vital plan from the water and sanitation authorities to ensure proper treatment of waste water from the health facilities and from the communities in general. Till now, the official authorities in Lebanon remain clueless about these dangers. Are we waiting for Godot?