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September 20, 2010
Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

Insect destroys Chouf's mountain tomatoes

CHOUF: An unusual insect has destroyed over 80 percent of mountain tomato crops in the Chouf, and farmers are complaining the Agriculture Ministry is not doing enough to tackle it.
The bug, which appeared during the summer and is believed by local farmers to be a product of the unusually hot weather, has been threatening the harvest of mountain tomatoes – a type of Lebanese tomato which is bigger than other breeds and is grown toward the end of summer.
The insect was dubbed “the black butterfly” by local farmers, who said the damage it is causing is tremendous.
Barouk farmer Ramez Zahreddine told The Daily Star that over 80 percent of this year’s crop has been destroyed and the insect is continuing to cause damage. “It starts by eating away at the leaves and then infiltrates the fruit and lays its eggs deep inside the plant … It’s multiplying quickly because of the weather,” he said.
Farmers are struggling to control the insect because of its fast movement and reproduction, but also because of a lack of pesticides.
Only one type of insect repellent is currently available, but farmers claim it is not effective. They have asked the Agriculture Ministry to intervene and provide the necessary chemicals

“This is one of the most dangerous problems we’ve encountered in Lebanon … This is a test for the ministry,” said farmer Toufiq Abu Alwan.
arvesting mountain tomatoes is the main source of livelihood for many in the Chouf.
Hassan Halawi said he has invested LL27 million into cultivating mountain tomatoes this year but has only earned LL 5 million back

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Beach Pollution Prevention  September 8, 2010

Beach Pollution Prevention

The pollution of beaches in Lebanon has various sources such as: hospital waste, factory chemicals, plastic bags, oil spill and more.
All create a serious threat to the region, its residents and their livelihoods. Immediate action to stop this tragedy should be done.
Sea pollution has reached serious levels in Lebanon and is not only threatening the people’s health alone but the environment and the tourism.
The shy presence for proper garbage disposal facilities, the lack of bins on beaches and many more factors have all contributed to the increase
in pollution.

People pose numerous questions on the extent of the harm sea water pollution can case to themselves. Here are some facts about the risks.
People who get exposed to contaminated sea water can get sick since exposure to bacteria, viruses and parasites in such contaminated water can cause a
wide range of diseases, including ear, nose and eye infections; gastroenteritis; hepatitis; encephalitis; skin rashes; and respiratory illnesses.
Some people are at higher risk than others and those would be: small children, elderly people, pregnant women and cancer patients and others with weakened
immune systems.  These categories of people are most likely to get sick from swimming in contaminated water.
They are also the most likely to be hospitalized from waterborne illnesses. Usually, children under the age of 9 years have shown more reports of diarrhea
and vomiting caused by exposure to waterborne parasites than any other age group.
The occurrence of such illnesses is not counted in Lebanon due to the fact that the country does not have a good national data on recreational waterborne
disease outbreaks.  This is also due to the fact that most people treat the symptoms of their illness (for example, fever, headache, diarrhea and vomiting)
without ever finding out what caused them and might even do so without visiting a physician.
the advise on what could be done to those who believe that they have been exposed to contaminated water is to rinse off well with soap and water.
Especially clean any skin abrasions. Use a mouthwash or clean water to gargle and spit out. Dry out your ears. Take a shower and wash swimsuits and towels
(and other clothing that might have gotten wet) as soon as possible. Most important is that if you start to feel sick, go to a doctor.
Tell him that you think you were exposed to contaminated water.