Along Lebanon’s sandy beaches and rocky headlands now runs a belt of black sludge. Between 10,000 and 15,000 tonnes of oil have spilled into to Mediterranean Sea after Israel bombed a power plant.
Lebanon’s Environment Minister, Yaccoub Al-Sarraf, says the country has neither the money or expertise to deal with the disaster.
“The spill we’re experiencing is the size of the Erika spill which hit France and Spain a couple of years ago,” he says.
The migratory season is over so birds should not be badly affected and some oil may evaporate or decompose. But the spill can still smother or poison other sea life. Even if Lebanon is able to clean up, the marine ecosystem could take years to recover.