Nature and Environment in Lebanon
The two-week reconnoitering in the central coastal area and in the south of Lebanon, as well as in the central and southern Bekaa and in the Qadikha valley, provided general impressions of the context and the environmental situation. Various discussions with persons involved in architecture, construction, education, diplomacy, development cooperation, health, conflict prevention, nature and landscape protection, pastoral care, social work, urban planning, trauma therapy and tourism (women and men between 15 and 90 years) supplemented and deepened the Impressions.
A large part of the visited regions are characterized by beautiful landscapes, fertile soils, species-rich vegetation, a long growing season with several crop rotations per year and a wide range of crops. So it is not surprising that the Lebanese are pleasant, helpful, warm and hospitable.
Why is SLS interested in the Vision Train?
- In 2012, two delegates of SLS in Beirut discover the remains of the Lebanese railways.
- The capital Beirut suffers heavily from the traffic chaos.
- Within its very limited scope, SLS aims to contribute to improving the quality of life in Lebanon.
- SLS has appointed its responsible delegate for “Nature and Peace” to lead a professional working group to prepare a study.
- The SLS Board will ensure that commitment to this vision does not impact ongoing Projects.
- The SLS Board also ensures that this commitment does not entail any financial or legal obligations.
- The Lebanese authorities are keen to bring the railways back to life. But without support, this will hardly succeed.
- Switzerland, with its know-how and experience, could play an active role in this peace initiative in Lebanon … and perhaps in the Middle East.
The corridor of the former railway lines Paris – Alexandria and Beirut – Damascus is still largely open in the Beirut area. However, some sections are already installed or used by the city highway.
The idea of awakening the Lebanese railway from its “slumber” and the existing corridor after the model of other large cities sinking in private traffic (for example, Kampala) step by step to an S-Bahn system.
The dissolution of the incipient traffic infarction on the streets of Beirut would not only solve one of Lebanon’s most serious environmental problems, but would also fundamentally enhance the attractiveness of the Beirut economic and settlement area.
SLS has professional and personal connections to project lines of similar agglomeration transport projects. These links could be useful for discussing transport issues in Lebanon.
The station of Beirut, a vast, overgrown terrain, on which the station buildings, the tracks, the workshops, the water tanks, locomotives and individual waggons with neat wooden benches and curtains since the operational task in the early 1970s, as if the staff tomorrow come back to the service.
After the discontinuation of railway operations, the area of the freight yard of Beirut served as a bus station. During the civil war, this public transport system was shut down. Today, the rusting buses stand there in rows.