French, Lebanese officials talk Tripoli ecological projects

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A French Senate delegation visited Tripoli this week ahead of a symposium in Paris next month focusing on citizen ecology. The event will use the northern port city as a model.

The delegation, which included Sens. Nathalie Goulet, Joel Guerriau, and Corinne Feret, discussed cooperation on ecological projects in Tripoli with President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri in separate visits Wednesday, a statement from Hariri’s office said.

“We visited Tripoli to try to better cooperate on sustainable development and citizen ecology,” Goulet said after meeting with Hariri. She added that “to make Tripoli the second-largest economic city in the country, it is also necessary to reconcile ecology and sustainable development.”

The delegation praised Tripoli MPs and the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce and Industry for their efforts in reducing waste and helping preserve the environment. “We had a wonderful surprise when the Tripoli Chamber of Commerce and Industry decided to adopt the ‘zero plastic bag’ [policy] soon,” Goulet said.

Tripoli MP Dima Jamali said that the delegation and the chamber were also cooperating on projects aimed at alleviating the environmental crisis in the city.

Aoun said bilateral and multilateral cooperation efforts, such as the symposium, were fundamental to Lebanon’s plan to protect the environment. The president emphasized the need to improve environmental education in Lebanon, starting with young children.

He said he believes raising ecological awareness and promoting early education are crucial to preserving Lebanon’s biodiversity and natural resources, “which are threatened by negligence and a lack of attention to modern and safe waste treatment.”

Aoun said that early education ensures people grow up respecting the environment and adopting methods to protect it.

Aoun added that the national economic plan he supports affords particular attention to the environment.