Today was a family beach day. We packed the car with towels, beach toys, water and lots of sunscreen and headed to Jonas Beach 20 minutes drive South of Beirut. A low key place, that probably has not changed during the last 20 years. Half of the showers were not functioning, but that didn’t matter as the place is cosy, family oriented and comfortable. Sea, pool and sand. Kids and parents. There was even a lovely little dog strolling and then “windsurfing”, quite a hilarious sight!
All was well, body getting suntanned, kids having the best time floating in the not so clean Mediterranean sea, until that very surprising moment where two younger men threw a can of beer in the sea, right in front of me. I looked astonished at them and yelled “HEY! Why did you throw the beer can in the sea?” They both looked at me even with more astonishment and replied: but it is EMPTY!
Their answer was definitely not what i expected!! I then grabbed the can and gave it to one the of the boys telling him to PLEASE throw it in the nearby garbage can!
Which i hope they did…
This little incident is just one of many, showing ignorance, lack of education and awareness among young people in Lebanon. Part of my upbringing was done in Copenhagen, the land of recycling and sustainable development (in my opinion). Throwing something as toxic as a beer can in the sea is just plain unthinkable! And pretending that it pollutes less because of its emptiness is even more surreal!
We need to focus on educating the youngest citizens of Lebanon in basic notions of respect; respect of the environment, respect of nature, respect of animals, and not least respect of humans..
Long road, but not impossible road…Initiatives are many aiming at bringing awareness to the Lebanese, helping them in the right direction. Ana Ma Bkeb campaign is one of them (in arabic meaning “I don’t litter!”). I wish we could post thousands of huge ANA MA BKEB signs on all of the 212 km long coast of Lebanon! Meanwhile, if you are living in Lebanon, go support that cause and get a Ana Ma Bkeb sticker or a t-shirt! and spread the good vibes!!!