Lebanon sinks old tanks to create underwater dive 'park'

July 28, 2018
Environmental activists drop off an old mechanised armoured personnel carrier provided by the Lebanese Armed Forces into the Mediterranean Sea, about three kilometres off the coast of the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, on July 28, 2018

Lebanese environmentalists on Saturday sank 10 old tanks and armoured vehicles to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea in a novel attempt to attract divers and create new habitats for marine life.

Three kilometres off the of the city of Sidon, a huge crane on the back of a ship manoeuvred the military hardware into place over the water before dropping them down to the seabed one after the other.

The initiative to create an "underwater park" is spearhead by a local group, Friends of the coast of Sidon, which got the Lebanese army to hand over some of it old vehicles for the project.

"This will be a paradise for divers and a place where we can develop underwater life," said NGO representative Kamel Kozbar, who hopes seaweed will soon cover the vehicles.

Lebanon boasts some 200 kilometres of Mediterranean coast but beaches have not been spared from a waste and garbage crisis that has plagued Lebanon for years.

In Sidon, a mountain of smelly trash has scarred the shoreline, despite the presence of a new waste management facility.

In a region fraught with tensions the latest project also has some political undertones.

The tanks have been placed with their turrets facing towards Lebanon's southern foe Israel "out of solidarity for the Palestinian people", Kozbar said.

Environmental activists drop off an old battle tank provided by the Lebanese Armed Forces into the Mediterranean Sea, about three kilometres off the coast of the southern Lebanese port city of Sidon, on July 28, 2018

Explore further: Concrete weighs heavily on the Mediterranean coast

Related Stories

Concrete weighs heavily on the Mediterranean coast

July 10, 2018

Across the Mediterranean, from an illegally-built hotel in a Spanish nature park to a holiday complex encroaching on Lebanon's salt flats, a tourism boom is threatening precious coastal ecosystems.

In Lebanon, a garden blooms on former 'trash mountain'

December 11, 2014

Lebanon's southern city of Sidon is best known for its Crusader castle and ancient market, but a more modern landmark has marred its Mediterranean shoreline for decades—a towering "mountain" of trash.

Garbage dumped in sea off Lebanon sparks outrage

June 13, 2017

A "mountain of garbage" dumped at sea off Beirut under a deal between the government and a company has sparked outrage in Lebanon, two years after mass protests over a waste crisis.

Recommended for you

Ecosystems are getting greener in the Arctic

August 21, 2018

In recent decades, scientists have noted a surge in Arctic plant growth as a symptom of climate change. But without observations showing exactly when and where vegetation has bloomed as the world's coldest areas warm, it's ...

What's behind the retreating kelps and expanding corals?

August 21, 2018

Climate change and other external forces are causing rapid marine community shifts in Japan's coastal ecosystems. Better understanding of species distribution dynamics, as driven by these factors, can improve conservation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.