Lands owned by the Saydat al-Najat Maronite monastery in Bsarma (North Lebanon) are hosting an environmental massacre. News of the uprooting of 3500 olive trees on an area of 160,000 square meters has spread in recent days with the aim of changing their zoning from agricultural to industrial land.
This situation arises in the context of an agreement signed between the head of the monastery, Tony Hadchity, and the Work Smart Association, owned by MP Tony Sleiman Frangieh. Irony surfaces as this association, in its founding decree, states its aim to “care for the environment, promote environmental consciousness, and conduct afforestation campaigns and care for forests.” The work began two years ago when about 200 trees were uprooted to clear and divide the land for leasing to factories or industries. Today, this process is being expanded more extensively, according to the residents of Bsarma.
Once again, the prevailing approach governing planning decisions in Lebanon is the prioritization of private interests, driven by political influence, at the expense of societal and environmental interests, all for the sake of financial gain. It is crucial to emphasize the responsibility of the Higher Council of Urban Planning for approving these violations, including the approval of the expansion of industrial facilities on agricultural lands in Bsarma in 2020.
Read details in Arabic here.