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Representatives of Lebanon's tourism sector Friday sought to dispel notions that Lebanon was suffering from a severe environmental crisis, including the heavy pollution of its coast. Caretaker Tourism Minister Avedis Guidanian claimed Friday that Lebanon's seas were not polluted, despite years of reports from the Lebanese Agricultural Research Institute demonstrating that much of Lebanon's coast is badly polluted and is continuing to get worse.Similarly, Pierre Ashkar, head of the Syndicate of Hotel Owners, said there was a "social media war from the east on the existence of Lebanon and its touristic port ... they speak about air and sea pollution, knowing that tourists come to Lebanon for its climate and environment.While the officials downplayed the significance of the myriad environmental issues Lebanon faces, LARI Director-General Michel Afram told The Daily Star last month that Lebanon's maritime pollution has gotten increasingly worse since the institute began testing the country's seawater quality.
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