Residents in Barja and its districts have always asked for justice in providing them reasonable hours of power, along with an environment free from pollution and carbon emissions. Although residents have borne Jiyeh’s thermal plant, their region was plunged with darkness and carbon emissions, along with fuel residues in the sea as a result of the ships’ remnants.
Barja’s former Mayor, Engineer Nashaat Hamieh told Sawt Beirut International (SBI) reporter Sarah Chehadeh, “We were in a tragic situation, and unfortunately it has worsened lately. Electricity is available only two hours per day, and power generators can no longer bear the pressure, so owners are forced to ration hours provided.” He added that generator owners are unble to secure diesel.
Hamieh added that several officials have pledged taking measures to reduce pollution in the power plant, and the latest was from MP Gebran Bassil, but unfortunately there weren’t any serious steps taken despite a governmental decision to replace the old plant with a new one, without knowing the reasons. However the decision has not been implemented, and pollution still exists.
In 2016, the Cabinet decided to install a new power plant in Jiyeh replacing the current one. However, implementation has been stalled, as the officials’ pledges were just media statements that are far from reality.
Residents along with the municipalities mainly Barja have taken several measures to contain these hurdles, Hamieh said, adding: “We have filed a lawsuit against the power plant, and provided an official report to the judiciary, but the file has been there for 4 years without reaching any result.” The un-operational power ships are costing the state around $5,000. Unfortunately this failed state have brought us to what we are today, he said.
Although Barja residents have staged sit-ins and protested against pollution and darkness, but the situation has worsened. The Lebanese are struggling from several hindrances mainly the outages of power, water, gasoline, and medicine.
A citizen said, “The situation is flawed. Lebanon was the most beautiful country in the world. Where are the officials? They only ask us to vote for them.”
How long will the Lebanese bear all these burdens, and for how long will this corrupt ruling system continue to rule us, without caring about the children’s starvation, the elder’s illness, or the inability of the head of the family to secure a decent life for his children?