Six months after oil spill, cleanup continues in Lebanon

Two weeks ago, the U.S. triumphantly proclaimed that a major oil-spill cleanup along Lebanon’s coast was complete. Funny story, though: while the spill affected 93 miles of shoreline, the U.S.-led project gussied up a mere 68 of ’em. Described by Greenpeace as an “underwater nightmare,” the slick stems from an Israeli bombing run in July that hit a Lebanese power plant, releasing 16,500 tons of fuel into the Mediterranean. Local and international teams spent months filling 36,000 bags with sludgy waste, and the rest of the work is expected to continue at least until summer. “In some places the … sludge was [16 to 24 inches] thick,” said Ahmed Kojok of the Sea of Lebanon association. “We were slicing it like cheese.” Also cheesy: the U.S. press release, which hailed the training of 220 Lebanese by saying they “now possess a valuable skill and will be able to serve as experienced responders for future oil spill operations in Lebanon and internationally.” So they’ve got that going for them.