Boom or Bust at Cedar Island?
A prominent industry group added their voice to the chorus of Lebanese opposed to the construction of the Cedar Island development on the country's Mediterranean coast. Mohammed al-Sariji, head of the Lebanese Professional Divers Association, announced in a statement in February that the Cedar Island plan would be "a catastrophe" for Lebanon's waters.
The development, echoing similar designs already constructed throughout the Middle East, calls for an artificial island on Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, shaped like a cedar tree, the national symbol. Covering over 3 million square meters, the island would house residential and commercial zones, with an emphasis on tourism facilities. Proponents claim that the project will bring in tourism dollars as well as provide an economic stimulus. Al-Sariji disagrees, saying in the statement that his organization is concerned for the livelihoods of Mediterranean fishermen whose "source of living [will be] filled up." Additionally, al-Sariji announced concerns for the coastal waters affected by the plan, citing the fact that the developer, Noor International Holding Company, has neither announced a formal location nor an exact size for the plan, and has done no research on the environmental impact of filling the area with sand.
-Equatorial Press Staff Report. Photo Courtesy of Austin Evan/Flickr.