Lebanon’s shoreline is now covered in thick black oil. An estimated 10,000 tons of heavy fuel oil have spilled into the Mediterranean Sea along our coast. The marine ecosystem is slowly suffocating under the sludge that is creeping down the coastline.

Young forests have gone up in flames. The damage to the agriculturally fertile areas of the Bekaa Valley and the South is immeasurable. Three of Lebanon’s primary fuel reservoirs were hit by Israeli rockets, creating massive plumes of thick, noxious smoke that stood still for days under their own weight and mass. The cloud cover and stench are almost unbearable.

Everything those of us in Lebanon’s environmental movement have striven so hard to achieve has unraveled in just two weeks. We are helpless to prevent this mutilation of our physical environment.

Nothing is unaffected by this war. Innocent people are dead, wounded and made refugees in their own country.

Our land has suffered irreparable harm. And still the airplanes invade our skies, their bombs pummeling us without relief. ~Rana El-Khatib, Chicago Tribune