Syrians’ Misery Burdens the Precarious Environmental State of Lebanon

Shortly after the Syrian war began in 2011, thousands of refugees overwhelmed Syria’s neighboring countries that were already struggling to look out for their own people. Lebanon was one of them, especially with its expected 20% unemployment rate[1] and 1% slackening economic growth[2], by the end of 2014. In fact, and even though the Syrian crisis started in March 2011, the tangible impact on Lebanon was felt starting the summer of 2012. The refugees’ registries reveal a huge leap from 57,335 by September 2012 to 1.14M by the end of September 2014, currently accounting for 26% of Lebanon’s population.

 The Syrian conflict squeezed economic growth since 2012 and heavily impacted numerous facets of Lebanon’s society and economy. In a previous World Bank report, a rapid “Economic and Social Impact Assessment of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon” was prepared for the purpose of quantifying the impact on the Lebanese economy. The report assessed the losses of Lebanon’s economy prompted by spillovers from conflict in Syria at $7.5 billion, ($1.1 billion in 2012, $2.5 billion in 2013 and $3.9 billion in 2014). This is equivalent to a 2.9% cut in real GDP growth for each conflict year, and entails large losses in terms of wages, profits, taxes, private consumption and investment.

 However, some impacts are still not entirely felt and could emerge long after refugees’ problem is solved, of which the environmental impact. Inevitably, any arrival of a huge influx of refugees would intensify pressure on the environment of the hosting country.  Some of the direct environmental impacts are deforestation, water contamination and depletion, land erosion, air pollution and poorer solid waste management…

2014-10-Syrians’ Misery Burdens the Precarious Environmental State of Lebanon

[1] According to the World Bank

[2] According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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