The GREEN RIVER PROJECT

BEIRUT RIVER.

The Green Party of Lebanon  -Beirut River project 2010

1- The Green Party of Lebanon

The exciting ‘Green River Project’.

The idea that Beirut has lacked green spaces as much as it still lacks centralized planning and development strategies is nothing new,

One of the park areas in the Beirut River Project

The plan is to turn the 8.5km of Beirut’s ‘river’ into a conservation area containing parks, nature reserves, bike-paths, sports facilities, cafes and verdant boulevards is ambitious, but The Green Party believes that all parties and peoples will benefit from better use of what is for most of the year a dumping ground.

Green space

Real estate space will be sold either side of the river’s length, allowing developers to build in an environmentally responsible way, as well as generating the initial capital to make this an entirely privately funded project.

Around 200,000 people live in the areas surrounding the river from Hazmieh to Qarantina, and the Green Party hopes to build a high-speed electric train to take commuters along the project’s span, it spans seven municipalities, so getting each to agree to give up land which they themselves own might by tricky, to say the least.

The seven municipalities the project will span The Green Party has been lobbying lawmakers and plans to get people on the ground enthusiastic and passionate about the project, forcing real decision makers into a pincer movement of acceptance. Even if money talks in construction, they will find the privately funded project profitable. The Green Party of Lebanon can’t see any insurmountable objections to what could become a green haven in grey Beirut.

There is great interest among Lebanese to rehabilitate the Beirut River and turn it into a sustainable, green public space, an environmentally-friendly transportation and water reserve system.

In 2010 , the Green Party of Lebanon, proposed a plan, and envisioned by ERGA Architecture to turn the Beirut River into a conservation area containing parks, nature reserves, bike-paths, sports facilities, cafes and verdant boulevards as well as a high-speed electric train.

To date, the government of Lebanon has not taken any initiative to rehabilitate the river, and the creative ideas proposed by numerous Lebanese environmentalists and architects remain on paper. ideas proposed by numerous Lebanese environmentalists and architects remain on paper.

The river flows from snow drains and springs on the western slopes of Mount Kneisseh and the southern end of Mount Sannine near the towns of Hammana and Falougha , emptying at the Saint George Bay on Beirut’s northern Mediterranean coast, east of the Port of Beirut

Beirut River Valley

According to environmentalists, the 20-kilometer valley of the Beirut River, especially the upper valley, is one of the most important areas for bird migration in Lebanon, including birds of 33 different species, such as the European Honey-buzzard, Levant Sparrow hawk Accipiter brevipes, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, White Stork, White Pelican, European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus, European Bee-eater Merops a piaster, Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica and the Lesser Spotted Eagle.

Urban Sprawl

The river valley stretches across several municipalities that do not formally protect it from hunting, fire, urban development, deforestation, water pollution and overgrazing. Once the river reaches the city limits of the Greater Beirut metropolitan area, it becomes polluted with the major source of pollution being industrial waste from various factories along the bank as well as sewage and refuse from the slaughterhouse in Karantina.

Flood Risks

The river was transformed from a riparian river to a concrete canal in 1968. In 1970, extensive work was done along the river bank to protect the eastern suburb of Bourj Hammoud from floods. In 1974, ETEC Consulting Engineers were hired to design a flood control system that included a channel 32 meters wide, with capacity of 800 m3/sec.

Environmentalists warned in 2003 that some construction companies were dumping illegally in the river that prompted the passing of Law 148 which stipulated that all construction projects should be located at least 500 meters away from the main rivers in Lebanon.

In 2005, storms caused flood damage in the suburbs of Bourj Hammoud and Karantina, and a bridge adjacent to the Port of Beiurt collapsed due to water pressure. In 2005, the City of Bourj Hammoud in conjunction with CETE Méditerranée with logistical support from the City of Marseille, initiated a risks diagnosis that revealed seismic, flood and technological risks for the suburb

 

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