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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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Air Pollution Awareness  September 8, 2010
Air Pollution Awareness
It's easy to forget about the connection that ordinary household items and appliances have with air pollution, but it's very important to remember a few things when it comes to proper disposal of some things around the home:
 1. Older refrigerators may contain the now-heavily regulated refrigerant Freon. Don't dispose of an old fridge without learning how you can safely handle this controversial refrigerant.
 2. Most states have strict requirements regarding the disposal of tires and motor oil. Burning is usually not permitted except in cases where special permits are obtained.
 3. Old aerosol cans may have air pollutants in them. Check with your local recycling center to learn how to safely dispose of old spray paint, canned air, hair spray, and other items.
 4. Plastics emit Dioxin and poisonous gases when burned. If you are planning any kind of trash burn (with local permits in place, of course) keep any and all plastics out of the fire.
There are many regulations governing the proper disposal or destruction of these items in some circumstances. Check with your local recycling center or other responsible agency to learn what the best method of disposal is for these potentially polluting products!