SIDON: Two Lebanese high school students are set to take part in a field study program next week in the United States, where they will explore ocean conservation and marine science first hand.
Habib Samer Zeidan of Sidon and Hala Zahr of Aley were selected by their schools to participate in Ocean for Life: Ocean for Life: One World, One Ocean, a program organized by scientific institutions of the U.S. government and private associations to exchange cultural understanding of the ocean as well as methods of ocean conservation.
Zeidan and Zahr, who are the first from Lebanon to participate in the program, will be part of a group of 30 students from across the Middle East and the U.S.
“I really hope to benefit from this experience and to serve my country by coming up with solutions to our environmental problems,” Zeidan said, adding that his hometown of Sidon has fallen victim to pollution and environmental degradation.
According to Zeidan, the southern city faced great challenges following this year’s waste disposal problem.
In April, the Municipality of Sidon closed a major waste dump, which was critical for Sidon and the surrounding towns in the area, leaving the area on the brink of a major environmental disaster.
Participants in the 2011 Ocean for Life project will learn about research methods and conservation activities to address threats to oceans, drawing on examples from their local and regional environment.
Zeidan and Zahr were eligible to participate in Ocean for Life because their schools take part in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, a science and education program in schools worldwide.
At a news conference Friday at Zeidan’s school, Al-Safir School in Ghazieh, south of Sidon, principal Ahmad Najib Nahouli said that the school strives to provide students with a global education.
“It [the school] has created an atmosphere that helps its students reach their scientific and professional goals,” said Nahouli, who also noted that Al-Safir School received the Globe Star, a prize from the GLOBE program.
“Our school’s curriculum aims to raise the scientific understanding of students to the highest standards by educating them on how to preserve a green environment, free of air and water pollution,” Nahouli explained.
Established in 1994, Lebanon joined the GLOBE program in 1998 through an agreement between the Environment Ministry and the U.S. Embassy.