BEIRUT: The Beirut River mysteriously turned blood red Wednesday after a stream of an unidentified substance started pouring into the southern bank of the river in Furn al-Shubbak.
While the source of the red-colored water is still to be determined, the river was still emptying the red-colored water into the Mediterranean Sea by Wednesday evening.
After being alerted Wednesday morning, government and local officials rushed to the scene in Furn al-Shubbak in an attempt to locate the sewage canal from which the water had originated.
But none of the officials were able to locate the source and blames were exchanged between the municipalities of Hadath, Hazmieh, Sin El-Fil, Furn al-Shubbak and Shiyah.
Eyewitnesses working in the area told The Daily Star that the colored water was not new for them. For several people who run businesses in the area, colored-water pours into the river every two months but no one pays attention to it.
The immense amount of red-colored water was what grabbed the attention of many passersby and commuters on different bridges in the city Wednesday.
Environment Minister Nazem Khoury said the source of the water was likely from Hazmieh or Baabda. “I call on the municipalities of Hazmieh and Baabda to cooperate swiftly to find out the source of the pollution and its type,” said Khoury in a statement Wednedsay.
Earlier in the day, Khoury sent an environmental team to the area to examine the water. The team, headed by ministry official Bassam Sabbagh took a sample of the water to determine if it contains any pollutants.
But the water will be examined tomorrow because laboratories in the city were already closed by the time the sample was taken in the mid-afternoon.
“The sample we took will be examined tomorrow morning... and we will know whether it is blood being mixed with water or if it is some sort of a color dumped in it,” said Sabbagh.
A similar incident took place in the Chinese Jian River in December of last year after a factory was illegally dumping red dye into the river located in northern Chinese province of Henan.