And You Were Thinking It Couldn’t Get Worse
Oil spill and power-plant fire wreak havoc in already-havoc-stricken Lebanon
Bombed by Israel two weeks ago, a storage fuel tank of a power plant in Beirut, Lebanon, is still burning, filling the air with dangerous fumes; another exploded, sending at least 10,000 tons of oil into the Mediterranean Sea. Particulate pollution could waft as far as Europe, and winds have pushed the oil spill dozens of miles up the coast, blackening beaches and threatening marine life like the endangered green turtle and the commercially important blue fin tuna. Lebanon lacks the resources to extinguish the oil fire; if the second tank collapses, up to 15,000 more tons of fuel could seep into the sea. Lebanon has begged assistance from Kuwait, but the spill will take months and tens of millions of dollars to clean up. “This is a catastrophe I wouldn’t wish on any country in the world,” said Lebanese Environment Minister Yacoub Sarraf. Meanwhile, Israeli-blocked ports are leaving Lebanon mere days from running out of fuel for power plants.