Lebanese journalist and university professor Zeina Mansour said that the afforestation campaign launched by the National Initiative in the Lebanese Koura region in August-August 2019 was due to “the environmental catastrophe that afflicted Lebanon in recent decades and escalated in the last decade.” In an interview given to Monte Carlo International within the framework of the weekly program devoted to environmental and sustainable development issues, she explained some aspects of this catastrophe, saying that since the civil war until today, Lebanon has lost 46 percent of its green forest areas, in addition to “cutting down millions of fruitful and traditional trees that are part of the history. Lebanon, its identity and heritage, including olives and pine, for example.
Zeina Mansour stated that the Lebanese National Initiative works towards three lines: “Afforestation, declaring Lebanon plastic-free in 2020, and successfully launching a continuous popular campaign aimed at sorting waste. The goal behind all the efforts of the national initiative is, according to Zeina Mansour, to transform Lebanon into an environmental workshop.” Continuing in cooperation with civil society organizations and local authorities, especially municipalities, national authorities, and all other parties that have a duty to regain the great space that Lebanon had in the field of greenery.
On the reasons that made the national initiative initiate afforestation operations in the Koura region, Zina Mansour said that scientific research concludes that this region ranks first in terms of shrinking green areas and in the field of air pollution, which has negatively affected people’s health. In fact, the region is at the forefront of the Lebanese regions that suffer from cancerous diseases, given that there are an average of three or four cases per house.
Instead of negative objections, we decided to plant trees in the Koura region and turn them into a “model project” for greening Lebanon, all of Lebanon. This is what Zina Mansour insists on, who believes that the time has come to stop the crimes committed against the environment in Lebanon, which have thrown it into the list of countries most polluted with regard to the air of its main cities and governorates.
As for ways to deal with the problem of solid and non-solid waste in Lebanon more effectively, Zeina Mansour believes that this depends, first of all, on developing frameworks and mechanisms related to three processes: sorting, recycling and recycling. The divorcee of the National Initiative stresses the importance of education in developing an environmental culture for all citizens from childhood. It insists on emphasizing that the main concern of the national initiative is to transform every Lebanese into a keeper of the cedar tree and every plant through which Lebanon was nicknamed “Green Lebanon”, in order to preserve “this wealth that we do not have. Rather, it is the legacy of future generations.”