The polluted Litani River as seen on July 18, 2012. (The Daily Star/Rakan al-Fakih)
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The problem is much more complex, however, stemming in part from deep-seated infrastructure problems in towns and informal tented settlements along the river. In July, Future MP Mohammad Qabbani said "pollution had increased with the presence of the Syrian refugee camps in huge numbers on the banks of the river in Western Bekaa," during a news conference following a meeting of the Parliamentary Public Works, Transportation, Energy, and Water Committee. He specifically cited the sewage from the camps as a source of the river's pollution, adding that the river is further polluted by nearby factories. Municipalities and landlords have reportedly avoided making significant improvements to the run-down buildings and informal tented settlements where some 40 percent of the country's 1.1 million registered refugees live, as a way of discouraging permanent settlement.However, refugees are certainly not the worst offenders in the pollution of the river.Considering the current state of the river and the country's chronic infrastructure problems, which continue to exacerbate its pollution, those difficulties may be many.
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