Lebanon creates underwater dive park
Old tanks sunk to create artificial reef
Lebanese environmentalists have sunk 10 old tanks and armored vehicles to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea to attract divers and create new habitats for marine life. Three kilometres off the coast of the city of Sidon, a huge shipboard crane maneuvered the military hardware into place over the water before dropping them to the seabed one after the other.
The initiative was 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 features approximately 200 kilometre of Mediterranean coast, but beaches have been impacted by a waste and garbage crisis that has plagued the country for years. Despite the presence of a new waste management facility in Sidon, a mountain of trash has scarred the shoreline.
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. It seems that even the underwater world can’t escape the region’s politics.