CCNE Accredits AUB's Nursing Programs  
Architecture Building and Science Lab Dedicayed in Name of Kamal Shair
Abu-Haidar Neuroscience Institute Opens
Imad Baalbaki Appointed Assistant Vice President for Development
AUB Establishes Virtual Instrumentation Center
Ziyadeh Appointed Chairman of Internal Medicine
Kibbi Joins ILDS Directors
Faculty Profile: Shadi Najjar
Faculty Profile: Daniel Asmar
Faculty Profile: Karim Nader
Asplante Honors Three AUB Professors
AUB Scientists Hope to Cure Diseases through Stem Cell Therapy
Concerns about Food and Nutrition
CRPH Win Wellcome Trust Grant
AUB Business School Set to Join Rank of Top 6 Percent in the Wolrd
Franklin Scholarship Awarded to 20 Students
Names of First batch of Franklin Scholars
Festival of Thinkers in the UAE
Project Manager Alain Eid Brings His Energy and Success to AUB
Staff Profile: Eleanor Aboussouan
An Urgent Call for Environmental Action
Lebanon's Oil Spill Revisited - 14 Months Later
AUB Hosts Meeting for Reconstruction of the South
Peruvian Diplomat Lectures at AUB
Political Science Lecture Examines Nonviolent Resistance
Iraqi Sociologist Speaks at Sociology Cafe
Learning to Teach: Mellon Summer Seminar 2007
School of Nursing Hosts Lecture on Ethics in Medicine
Volunteers at CCCL Learn about Patient Care
Physician Lectures on the Global Epidemic of Obesity
Award-winning Designer Lectures at AUB
German Architect Lectures on Contemporary Approaches to Landscape Design
JTP Equips Journalists with Survival and Management Skills
Human Rights Week Underscores Humanitarian Concerns
Recently Published
In Memoriam
Laila Baroody Awarded for Outstanding Service
Comic Posters Exhibited
Kulturzentrum Presents Opera Program in Assembly Hall
AUB Spring Concert Enthralls Audience with Early Italian Music
AUB Music Club Sells Out
November 2007 Vol. 9 No. 2

Lebanon's Oil Spill Revisited - 14 Months Later

Seminar participants

Images of blackened sands and tar encrusted coastal rocks dominated a presentation on the 2006 oil spill caused by the Israeli bombardment of the Jiyeh power plant in the early days of the summer invasion of Lebanon. David Little, a British environmental consultant who specializes in oil spills, and Professor Imad Saoud, a specialist on aquatic studies in AUB's Biology Department, assessed the Lebanese oil spill under the auspices of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs in College Hall on October 12.

Both lecturers stressed the importance of knowledge of the environment and the need for ongoing monitoring strategies. Professor Little highlighted the importance of knowledge of environmental sensitivity, the source of impact, vulnerability, and resources, both cultural and natural. Relative sensitivity of the point of impact involves time considerations: When do birds and fish migrate? When do turtles lay their eggs? What is the state of the flora and fauna at the moment of contamination?

Comparing Lebanon's spill to other major oil spills, Little noted the impact of the Israeli war on Lebanon's response to the spill, the number of kilometers of coastline contaminated, and the lack of a centralized response. Chemistry, biology, and physics are the tools for understanding the treatment of oil spills, according to Little.

Both speakers saw dangers in plunging into clean-up without sufficient preparation and knowledge. Sometimes it is better to let nature take its course at first, and then launch a clean-up at a later date. Professor Saoud pointed out that no good data on existing pollution of coastal waters and biodiversity in Lebanon exist. The hard questions to ask: Will removing the oil return the beach to what it was? Will leaving the oil in place affect biodiversity? How will oil-affected soil be disposed of?

Professor Saoud summarized what has been learned from the disaster. A long-term monitoring plan is basic. One organization should be responsible for dealing with catastrophe. The use of environmental catastrophe for political gain should be considered a major felony and dealt with accordingly. Sometimes local scientists know more than foreigners-and certainly care more, Saoud concluded.