The polluted Litani River as seen on July 18, 2012. (The Daily Star/Rakan al-Fakih)
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Despite the July announcement of a $55 million World Bank loan to prevent further pollution to Lebanon's upper Litani River, no quick fix exists and the blight will likely remain for years to come. The Litani River has made headlines as locals, activists, officials and ministers have begun pushing solutions to the decades-old issue in Lebanon's longest river. Years of neglect and poor management have left the river a heavily polluted, festering mire that will take years – if not decades – to rectify. Qaraoun Lake is an artificial reservoir formed by a dam on the Litani.However, many remain hopeful that work can press ahead on reducing the sources of pollution.The report found that the four major sources of pollution in the river are wastewater, agricultural runoff, industrial waste and solid waste.The World Bank's $55 million loan will finance projects addressing pressing issues in wastewater and agricultural runoff along the upper Litani. Connecting major urban populations in the river's basin to functioning water-treatment facilities means less wastewater will end up in the river.A year from now Sarraf said she would like to see proposed projects signed and ratified by Parliament, the agricultural component already ongoing with farmers, and significant progress on Zahle's water facility.
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