A UN conference in Greece has said 50 million euros in aid is needed to clean up the oil slick polluting the Mediterranean coastline following Israel’s bombing of a Lebanese power station. The conference warned the cost would rise if swift action is not taken to prevent the slick spreading as far as Cyprus and Turkey. “The environmental crisis is huge,” says one Lebanese official supervising the clean-up. The spill has been left largely unchecked for a month because of the impossibility of flying in aid during the conflict.
The talks near Athens were held by the UN Environment Programme, and included representatives from Lebanon, Syria, Greece, Turkey and the EU. Among those eager to see the clean-up pick up pace are fishermen in the small town of Byblos, 35 kilometres north of Beirut. They have been forced to stay in harbour for more than a month.