World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Un Agencies Agree To Tackle Oil Spill

Un Agencies Agree On Clean-Up Plan To Tackle Oil Spill Polluting Lebanon And Syria

United Nations agencies backed a wide-ranging multimillion dollar action plan today to tackle up to 15,000 tonnes of fuel oil that spewed into the Mediterranean Sea, killing marine life and affecting around 150 kilometres of Lebanese and Syrian coastline, after a power utility was damaged last month during the fighting between Israel and Hizbollah.

The plan, which envisages an initial cost of around $64 million with possibly more funds needed next year, was agreed to at a meeting convened by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the UN Environment Programme (<"http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=484&ArticleID=5334&l=en">UNEP) in Athens, Greece, and which also involved countries in the region and the European Commission.

“Now the bombs have stopped and the guns have been silenced we have a chance to rapidly assess the true magnitude of the problem and finally mobilize the support for an oil clean-up and a restoration of the coastline,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director.

“The experts are on standby and today the international community have agreed on an action plan. I sincerely hope we have secured the financial backing to swiftly and comprehensively deliver on this promise to the Lebanese people, on this request to the UN for assistance from the Lebanese authorities,” he added.

The International Assistance Action Plan envisages three stages of response, namely priority short-term actions – including immediate helicopter aerial surveys to determine the extent of the pollution; medium-term actions – including a workforce of 300 people cleaning up to 30 sites simultaneously; and long-term actions to assess the lessons learned.

“I am delighted that we have been able to agree on this action plan which now sets the stage for the wide-ranging assistance the Lebanese and, to a lesser extent, the Syrian authorities so urgently need,” said Efthimios Mitropoulos, Secretary-General of the IMO.

Several countries have offered clean-up and oil containment equipment and the Plan recommends that each donor providing equipment should also make available one or several specialists to train local staff in its use. It also highlights a “continually evolving scenario demanding a move, for example, from vacuum trucks and pumps to mechanical grabs as the oil becomes more viscous.

The Plan has been prepared by the Experts Working Group for Lebanon under the supervision of the UNEP-Mediterranean Action Plan’s Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) and the Minister of the Environment of Lebanon.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>