And now, the environmental mess

The fighting in Lebanon hasn’t just created a political and economic mess – there’s also an environmental crisis to contend with. Israeli strikes on a power station south of Beirut last month caused at least 10,000 tons of oil to spill into the Mediterranean. About 100 miles of Lebanese coastline are now covered by the ...

607456_OilLebanon5.jpg
607456_OilLebanon5.jpg

The fighting in Lebanon hasn't just created a political and economic mess - there's also an environmental crisis to contend with. Israeli strikes on a power station south of Beirut last month caused at least 10,000 tons of oil to spill into the Mediterranean. About 100 miles of Lebanese coastline are now covered by the oil slick, which is spreading rapidly into the sea. Experts are predicting the spill and the month-long delay in clean-up operations will have a devastating effect on tourism, fishing, and marine life in the area. There's also concern about widespread asbestos inhalation from destroyed buildings. OPEC has donated $200,000 to the coastline clean-up, but millions more are needed for what some say will be a 10-year recovery.

Unfortunately, Lebanon doesn't have a monopoly on oil woes. The Philippines is currently struggling to contain the worst spill in its history. A tanker sank in bad weather last week, creating an oil slick nearly 20 miles long. And yesterday, a Japanese tanker collided with a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean, spilling about 1.4 million gallons of crude. Both are sure to wreak havoc on the local marine environment. For more info on oil spills, check out this graphic of spills worldwide since 1960.

The fighting in Lebanon hasn’t just created a political and economic mess – there’s also an environmental crisis to contend with. Israeli strikes on a power station south of Beirut last month caused at least 10,000 tons of oil to spill into the Mediterranean. About 100 miles of Lebanese coastline are now covered by the oil slick, which is spreading rapidly into the sea. Experts are predicting the spill and the month-long delay in clean-up operations will have a devastating effect on tourism, fishing, and marine life in the area. There’s also concern about widespread asbestos inhalation from destroyed buildings. OPEC has donated $200,000 to the coastline clean-up, but millions more are needed for what some say will be a 10-year recovery.

Unfortunately, Lebanon doesn’t have a monopoly on oil woes. The Philippines is currently struggling to contain the worst spill in its history. A tanker sank in bad weather last week, creating an oil slick nearly 20 miles long. And yesterday, a Japanese tanker collided with a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean, spilling about 1.4 million gallons of crude. Both are sure to wreak havoc on the local marine environment. For more info on oil spills, check out this graphic of spills worldwide since 1960.

Carolyn O'Hara is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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