Lebanon is a scandalous country. We love doing bad things. Every single issue, has a scandal hidden somewhere. In fact, most of the time it isn’t, we just choose to overlook it and with time it dies down.
The controversy over the privatization of Lebanon’s shores has been going on for several years now, gaining momentum in the past couple of years as entrance fees skyrocket well beyond the financial abilities of most Lebanese, myself included.
I myself am generally against that, and encourage you to occupy parts of the shore facing places like Edde, since they legally have no claim over that land, which is public property, like anywhere else in the world. However, scandals most of us are oblivious to, which happened mostly during the Lebanese Civil War from 1975-1990, have paved the way for several beaches in multiple Lebanese areas to legally, own that piece of shoreline and even several meters into the sea (which no one can own, besides Solidere of course, which buys sea, reclaims it and sells it to us for millions of dollars).
Stealing sand is commonplace in Lebanon. Anyone who commutes via the Nahr el Kalb tunnel will notice a bulldozer or two every now and then at the foot of the Nahr el Kalb river. None of us give it much thought, but the reality is that these people are up to no good, and what they’re doing is very illegal. But, of course, they’re politicians’ bulldozers and trucks and when enough people are paid off, everything goes in this broken little country.
It seems that during the war, when everyone was busy killing each other, these sand thieves were a bit too bold. They siphoned off thousands of tons of sand, tens of thousands of trucks, maybe more, were sold off. Al-Akhbar estimates that one truckload of sand is worth 400USD today (which it also claims MEA is doing in Beirut). Let’s assume it was just 300 or 200USD back then, that’s millions if not billions of dollars stolen from you and me.
The amount of sand stolen was so immense, than the shoreline has gone back several meters. I’d say, we’re not really 10452 sqaure kilometers anymore, given disputed lands with Israel and Syria, as well as Solidere’s expansion into the sea, and add to that the disappearing shores and we’re somewhere like 10452-X+Y±Z=WTF
Anyway, if you’re a millionaire now and buy a plot by the sea, chances are you might be buying a land which is incomplete, where part of it is actually the sea, which is exactly what the photo below is. Notice the protruding “sansoul” or artificial rock formation where boats could maybe dock and beach goers would suffer weaker waves. That’s technically illegal, you can’t build into the sea. In this particular plot though, the sea legally begins at the edge of that artificially reclaimed piece of land! So much sand was stolen, that the sea moved inland and is technically part of the land being rented or bought…
All I can say now is: wow, really? And advise you to be careful next time you wanna impose yourself on what you believe is public property… It might as well be someone’s private land and you’d be in a terrible legal mess as a result!