Environment...       Preserving and Enhancing our Environment  

Shweir Environment
الوضع البيئي في ضهور الشوير

To see Environment 2, click here:  www.shweir.com/environment2.htm

Links about Environment:   Up to 2009      Mater Plan           Environment            Baladieh 
                        BB Posts:                  Industrial v. Environment   
     Recent posts @ Master Plan 

April 1, 2009 - Latest update from Municipality - See notices to & from Ministries
 Ministry of Culture & Antiquities to preserve Shweir natural Beauty
 Summary meeting update about Shweir Zoning
Ministry of Environment decree to Save Shweir
See also Master Plan

Watch on YouTube the Industrial impact on Shweir School and Environment:
georgeskifai  April 10, 2009  Lebanon - Matn - Dhour al Chweir - lbci report - Abdo Helo - Montage : Roula Rouhana - 09/04/2009

From: Anwar Kenicer
Sent: Saturday, July 11, 2009 3:20 PM
To: Mayor Naiim Sawaya
Subject: FW: Shweir Master Plan - Cascading Lakes = Brighter Future

 Dear Mayor Naiim,  

...  I need your help on something that is near and dear to our hearts.  ... I very much would like to replace the information on home page about the industrial problems and replace them with positive solutions that are of great benefit to Shweir.    This still relates to the Master Plan that we have been communicating about for over 2 years. ...

 Reflecting back on many discussions over the years by several people who love Shweir and the work I did for 15 years while back in California, I sincerely believe that there is great potential for Shweir on many fronts.   Primarily the building of successive lakes and the positive impact on Shweir. 

This adds beauty, great views, reclaim water for irrigation, fight fires, invites a lot more tourists, establish park for picnics, fishing, promotes restaurants, hotels, shops, more sustainable jobs year round for Shweiries, health clubs and above all, that also enhances the value of the land overlooking these lakes or have a view or are in proximity of these lakes.  

 This will put Shweir on top of the list nationally and world wide and reclaim its past glory as Arouse al Masayef.  Also, Doing this right, can make the land value appreciate or increase by 1000% to 2000%.   Having learned so much about transformation of land in the process, I realize that building successive lakes is so achievable because Shweir is very similar topographically and better suited for successive lakes.  Below are pixs of the project I worked on for over dozen years.

All these 20+ lakes you see were built by one man (family member)...  I took the first picture below from a private plane.
All the rest of these pictures I took from different ground elevations.

For higher resolution pictures, go to bottom of this web page and click on the respective thumbnails:  www.shweir.com/avg.htm

You will be amazed what this can do for Shweir’s future generations, your kids and grandkids and your legacy as a mayor

Of course, before anything happens, we need your Support / Green Light and requested data in order study and assess best feasibility for water conservation and wastewater treatment facility to consider doing 1, 2 or 3 cascading lakes.

In the meantime, I will continue to communicate with those resourceful persons and orgs that can be of great help for such vital and worthwhile projects that are of critical importance for Shweir’s transformation and future success.  I will be glad to update you on my findings. In the meantime, please give this a priority so that we can under your leadership and guidance move forward. ...


The rest of pictures + are at:  www.shweir.com/avg.htm

From: Matar, George
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 3:47 PM
Subject: RE: Shweir Master Plan - Cascading Lakes = Brighter Future

Dear Mayor Naim and the Council

I have read Anwar’s letter to you, we have been anxiously following the Area Master Plan for the past year with so much interest on how it will turn out to be.  Anwar sent you some pictures of a project he worked on and an alternate plan.  I believe it is more powerful if we send you a picture how it will apply to Shweir (see picture below).  This plan has tremendous potential

Naim as you know the world is heading towards a climate change as we are seeing it every day where the temperatures are steadily going up, we are also seeing shortages in fuel which is pushing people to drive less and less or are looking very hard to find jobs closer to their homes.  I know I am starting my message on negative issues but believe me, if we do not put this in front of us as we discuss our Area’s  Master Plan we will, in the long run regret it.  Shweir should be in a position to to take advantage and be in the best position to address all these shortcomings, and yes it can.

It has been a long long time since Shweir did something unprecedented and it is due time we do something that we can be very proud of for generations to come.  Nothing pleases me more than to see you take that initiative.  In our limited capacity we want to help as much as we can, because, like you, we love our Shweir and we want it to be unequivocally the best.  As Such we are proposing for your consideration this conceptual Master plan that we humbly superimposed it on a satellite picture of our beloved area.  This is an ambitious “Long Range” plan that will transform solve so many issues and concerns for centuries to come (See discussion below the picture).

In the nutshell here’s what this plan will accomplish

The following is a simple discussion of what the plan can do

The water 
I took the liberty and checked the elevations along Nahr Bou Dawood path and found out that it is perfect to erect 60-80 ft dam at strategic locations (the lakes on the map can be as drawn or located in other areas Where land permits it.  The two big lakes when filled will provide over 500 million Gallons of water.  This might sound overwhelming but to give you an idea how much that is here’s an estimate how much that is.  Because of the shape of  our area (7 hills)  one inch of rain is about 7 million gallons of water (Think how much the snow will be).    I do not know the annual rain fall but some one on the council should know that.  I figure it will take us a couple of years to fill both Lakes. 

The plan is simple… Currently this water flows to the sea,  Build dams and harness it in the winter.  Once the lakes are full, this water, after it replenish our lakes, will make its way back to the sea in future years

This is good water that we can treat and use as drinking water, Irregation, Fire fighting, etc..in a strong strong way Shweir will control its water needs

The surrounding Land
The land where I have my house was estimated at $8,000 before the subdivision was build.  They added a detention pond (small lake) the price of the same piece of land is now $90,000 (yes I have to pay taxes on that land).  I would estimate the same will happen in Shweir and land it will be selling like hot cakes

The View
These will be one of the largest lakes in Lebanon; they will transform our area to a world class resort.  The lakes will temper the climate making Shweir warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, which is perfect for resort areas.  We prefer investors from Shweir to take advantage of this and build hotels, vacation homes, restaurants, gift shops entertainment establishment, health clubs etc..  Investors from outside will also be drooling to join in.
Who wouldn’t want to live year round in Shweir

The Economy
It does not take a business wizard to tell you that if all of the above is done, jobs will be plentiful and all those that want to work will have the opportunity.  These are jobs that are not limited to the summer months only, I expect the winter will be quite busy too. 

Existing Businesses
These businesses will flourish and expand to cater for the year round residents… New ones will pop up to

The Environment
Just look at the picture, Healthier plants, healthier air, healthier living…. And we can achieve all this within the next 10 years or so  I am so sure that you and other members of the council will have so many questions, we do too, but if this plan looks attractive enough to open a dialogue then by God lets do that. 

 We are Shweir and we are the Trend Makers,   If the will is there Nothing is impossible

George E. Matar, P.E.
Principal Process Engineer


The above 2 emails are draft recommendations on one segment of the overall Master Plan that is sadly lacking and is in urgent need to be studied and put into action.   Granted that better demographics, limitation of resources or logistics may alter these conceptual designs.  We hope this will serve as a visualization of what is possible, consider options and find creative ways where possible to transform some of these concepts or dreams into reality.

We support the Municipality to adopt a policy and their diligent efforts to monitor, control and/or close harmful existing heavy industries and disallow future proposed heavy industry. 

We need to focus and attract LIGHT rather than HEAVY Industry:
With light industry like WINE Industry, Hotels, Restaurant, Recreation, Health Centers, Resort and Hospitality industry, cottage industries (home grown businesses), these are ideal for Shweir, then that is a Welcome breath of fresh air.  Yes, with Shweiry engineering, water pumps, we can transform Nahr Abu Dawoude valley into a beautiful area with running water and cascading water falls that would rival al Bardowney.  Add to it Old Souk, Old Tahouneh, Old bridge, to highlight our history and heritage, maintain and bring them to their old glory, add walkways, trails, destination resort, health club... and you will have heaven on earth where people from around the world would want to come visit and stay.  That is the kind of industry Shweir desperately needs. 

Shweir residents and land owners would benefit far greater by taking the light industry described above that would get overwhelming support than the heavy industry that will be devastating to the town, its values and future.   Those who are in the waste and wastewater industry have a saying that, pardon the expression, goes like this:  "Your waste is our Gold".  And rather than dump our raw wastewater at the gateway to our town and put up with its negative impact, we should take every step necessary not only to fix that problem but to treat and reclaim that water that will help greatly especially in the summer time for our lakes and irrigation and take the processed solid waste and sell it as fertilizer.  The positive future economic impact to the town will be tremendous. 

Let us take a proactive approach, set excellent examples of positive Change and Forward Thinking to make the best of our resources to conduct studies as per recommendations of experts from around the world, share their findings with the public, to reduce and hopefully eliminate as much of the heavy industry and to focus on light industry described above and take steps that would protect the environment, beautify and enhance future success of our treasured town. 

The better prepared we are, the greater our chances are to get international support to help fix our Infrastructure even though such assistance is not a sure thing.  We also need to be resourceful and consider alternatives to meet such challenges if such assistance were not available.  We need to capitalize on and wisely manage our valuable resources.

Discussion on BB by Habeeb Nacol to SAVE the Old Oak Tree  

< < At left, Habib Moujaes and Issam Sawaya talk about the Church and the Sindyani tree...
at right > > Group of Shweirys take refuge in the shade of Sindyani

June  2009

From Riad Khuneisser:

A book was published in 2004 with the name: Historic Trees of Lebanon. One of these trees is the Oak near the Saydeh Church in Shweir.

The Age of the tree in the book is 675 years in 2004.

April 1, 2009 - Latest update from Municipality - See notices to & from Ministries

 Ministry of Culture & Antiquities to preserve Shweir natural Beauty

Ministry of Environment decree to Save Shweir

See also Master Plan

See more of Shweir's Natural Beauty -  click here to see Photos by Samar & slide show

Imagine change zoning on land as beautiful as this to industrial?!


We, residents and emigrants alike, are Shweir; and its future is our future, she has put her trust in you, in us, to do the right thing.  lets not fail her this time.  Merry Christmas and here is a New Year Resolution for us to adopt:   Keep Shweir and Ain Sindiani Beautiful, it has lost its crown (Burj) and its shoulders (Kasoof) lets make sure she's not going to lose its heart.  - - -  excerpts from our al Mukhtar bil Mahjar, George Matar

Lighting the Darkness
As if the hand of God is pointing us towards the light for a brighter 2009

Photo from Shweir towards Tallet Imad and Sunneen  by Samar Kiame

 Summary meeting update about Shweir Zoning


January 2008 - Our Heroes - Saviors of the Environment.

Red Cross and Scouts Volunteers Replant Pine Trees - Read Samar's Report & See Slide Show

Their efforts will help counter the destruction done to environment by industries like these below:
Please note the white discharge into the Abou Dawoude river and Shweir High School building below at left of center !

Click on thumbnails Below to see larger aerial pictures of Dhour, Shweir, Ain Sindyani and Ain el Hanoot


Quick Reference:
Some readers asked to list some important links to articles:  Here are some requested:

Official Municipality Statements by Mayor Dr. Nabil Ghosn:

Ghosn Official Statement #1 
Ghosn Official Statement #2 
Ghosn Official Statement #3 

Start of Overpeace series

September 2007 - Correction: 
Recently I summarized on the BB what I understood to be the process for getting the license for one of the industries in Ain el Hanoote stating in part that the Ministry of Industries took precedence over the power of the Municipality.  

I have been informed that my summary statements were incorrect  and that the Ministry of Industry sends their recommendations to the Municipality which would have the local knowledge about these issues and that the Municipality has the power the approve or reject an application or license.  All we can do is share information that we are provided to facilitate better communication and decisions.  It would be helpful for the knowledgeable officials to share and educate the public about relevant laws and the rules so that everyone abide by them uniformly.  

Following are a couple of documents that are relevant to this matter. 


We have been informed that the above documents contradicts our summary below. 
As we mentioned earlier, we welcome educational feedback and dialogue in order to facilitate finding best solution for our town and to avoid future similar or potential mistakes. 


What does this fire teach us

Author Message
George Matar
Site Admin

Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 404
Location: League City, Texas

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 5:39 am    Post subject: What does this fire teach us Reply with quote

The Pictures told the whole story, extreme heart break to see it happening to our town, to our country. I was wondering if an electric storm started these simlutaneous and random fires all over the country. Unbelieveable.

The Shweirieh show a lot of resliency and togetherness to fight these fires and seeing our mayor Naim in the forefront is uplifing. Shwer will survive this fire much stronger. Preventing fires like this specialluy in Shweir could be easily done in the future if we started to plan for it now.

Give me a a bit of your time and read on: My Engineering mentality is jumping to the front and I can not help but suggest this as a vital water conservation project for our town that will improve our water resources. Among its benefits will be preventing future fires such as the one we are having.
The topography of our town and the engineering talent (world wide) will allow us to come out with a cost effective engineered solution that would put Shweir well ahead of the next forest.

So far, during the winter, we have been allowing our water resources to freely make its way to the sea. Yes I am talking about capturing Rain Water and snow run offs and I am not talking about Ain il Aboo and Ain il Tahta. This is Water that is going to help us keep our forest / shrubs moist during days of drought when the potential of forest fires is high.

Here is one solution
* A pump lift station on Nahr Bou Dawood,
* Couple of pumps, depending on how fast we want to fill the tanks the pumps will be (50-200 HP), this will be determined later
* A local Diesel Generator to provide power to the pumps
* Several storage tanks located at strategic location on the hills
* Piping to transfer the rain water from the valley to the tanks

This water could be used to help our exisitng trees grow healthier, will promote the growth of new trees, improve the town landscaping, and most of all help fighting fires when they occur. An upgrade system will include a sprinkler system that can be activated during drought months when pine straws and shrubs are dry (would light like gasoline) during September and october, until rainy season begins

The beauty of it all, we don't need drinking water quality to do this, thjis is our God given water we just want to use it more efficient, AND best of all it can be built in piece mill over several years. But when complete our town, from an irregation point of view will be self sufficient. We can concentrate on drinking water next.

I know the town is so busy right now fighting fires and assessing the damages, a huge taskby any standard, I wish I was there to help, but what I am proposing here is a potential project that Shweir.com in collaboration with the municipality and hopefully the Lebanese Government can successfully take on. Just think, if global warming is truly ahead of us Shweir can not afford not having a water conservation facility in place.

God bless our town, country, and our planet and may he/she help prevent such natural disasters, but it is our duty to also do our part whenever we can

Your thoughts
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Hilda Maria

Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 34
Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Capturing rain water Reply with quote

This is a great idea, George. I hope is doable for the community. I think something like that was done in olden times, without the pump, and in cisterns.
Hilda M.
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Posts: 121

PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i agree george. its a great idea. i was thinking of something similar.

our people used to be great stonemasons, so im sure there are plenty of people with the skill and knowlege to build good looking, strong dams and cisterns (instead of ugly concrete things).

i'm not sure of the exact volume of water that flows down during the wet season and from the snow but you might be able to build some dams/storage cisterns and fill some of them up using brushless generators or some similar technology to power pumps instead of using diesel powered pumps.

This might be a more cost effective method in the long term of running such a scheme. It would of course mean locating such generators in a place where water is flowing down towards the cisterns rather than spilling out water that is already collected.

Another thought came to me regarding the prevention of fire like that.... have a total outdoor fire ban during the dry months, that includes use of fireworks. We have that here in Waitakere City and I cant recall the last time we had a major bush fire. We have a large sub-tropical rainforest right up to and in part of the city so you can imagine how bad that could be.
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Samar Kiame

Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 173
Location: Shweir

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

oul inshallah ya Mukhtar
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Joined: 03 Oct 2007
Posts: 3
Location: Lebanon

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 4:19 am    Post subject: We have to act Reply with quote

Alla ma3ak ya Mukhtar
I agree with you 100%, and we must do something good to our beloved village .
And from here ,from this date , I ask all who love Shweir to regain her history …. Her culture and nickname “3aroos El-Massayef”. To help us by suggestions ,now, for how to implement what you said.
And I’m here to receive anything can help.
For whom who don’t know me? I’m Michel Anis Moujaes who has the shop between “Saydeh” church and “Koo3 El-Neb3a”
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George Matar
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Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 404
Location: League City, Texas

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the positive feed back folks, I am hoping that we do not let this fall through the cracks, it is an idea that is way overdue.

There are many ways this idea can be implemented, one of the reasons I picked that particular solution is
1. The Horse shoe shape of our hill tend to naturally collect the rain and funnel it towards AIn al Hanoot via the little Nahr bou Dawood
2. The suggested tanks on the hill (high elevation) will allow to have gravity work to our advantages when we want to water the trees and shrubs, and will also provide the fire fighting brigade sufficient water surge that is near by.

Again, if you look at the topography you will be able to see that we are limited to only the water that falls on our town, so really big Dam can not be constructed in our area without really flooding the Town, That'll never happen. However Following the Idea of the Samaha SID and constructing another one down stream, say close to Mar Youhana, could provide Shwier with a small but beautiful man made lake that will serve as a pump lift station and the potential for a recreational haven around it to includeg resturants, a park, shops etc.. Now that would be a very smart and efficient way of addressing the water conservation issue along with attracting tourists and improving the Towns Income.

Can you visualize it.

But the bottom line Should be to agree on the water conservation issue first and then every thing else will fall in place.

Ahlan be Micho, welcome to your hometown web page, you just don't know how much I am so thrilled to know that there are people in Shweir that welcome and want to be involved and join in on new ideas that purely benefit our town. God Bless you, and please keep helping us (all of us) staying focused on what is important to all... Shweir, Dhour and Ain Sindyani
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 393
Location: Virginia (Wash DC area)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're a genius in disguise ya Mukhtar! (disguised as an engineer Laughing )

I suggest you meet with Baladieh officials next time you're in Shweir to discuss these plans with them. Who knows, maybe they'll put you as the project leader for this project?!
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

no dont wait until you go next time George. you were born and lived there so you know the area and topography well enough.

Start putting together a basic plan, add in any ideas others have that would be suitable, say maybe a 3 stage plan. And then email it over to the officials for consideration. With the internet there is no need to wait until you are on site.

can you clarify for me roughly where nahr dawood is? I know where the stone bridge is in el ghwab and what i assume to be sewage tanks further down.
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Elie BouKheir

Joined: 04 Oct 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Houston , Texas

PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya Mukhtar: This is a wonderfull and potentially a very uniting idea for our town, and reflects the spirit that we all need, you are singing to my ears. If we cannot realize by now that Lebanon is blessed with it's climate to be the most fertile land in the world with ideal topography where water by gravity flows in the valleys will be a shame not utilizing our most important commodity.

Does'nt history tell us that our ancestors used what ever method was available to them raising wheat crops to feed the entire roman empire at one time just from the bikaah valley. I got so excited copule of days ago when I heard on the news about Sid Shahrour that it will supply drinking water to Kesserwan and Almaten areas.

Can you imagine now a days with solar and wind turbine energy that we can transport water hundreds of feet elevations? Water can bring enough wealth to our country and will by far exeed oil production benefits, this alone can bring Lebanon to become an economically self sustained country. Let us just hope that our politicians can realize that all this country need is a peaceful environment where the people can at least practice their normal way of living to be innovative and be able to think productive.

I do suggest that we dedicate a web corner on our web site called innovations or ideas or may be a Tech corner, so we can direct our energy sharing good ideas for better things to happen eventually, because I do hate that brilliant ideas as such might go to waste. Constructive ideas always promote team work and will bring success, I can't imagine that such an idea will not bring a healthy and a common goal for all, thank you Mukhtar for bringing it up.

After we allocate the idea web corner, we will start discussing the methodologies to impliment them, feasibility studies, business plans, engineering documents etc.. what ever report can be put together to support the idea for initiating either government or private funding through Shweir Foundation organization.

I am positive that our Mayor Naeem Sawaya will be supportive of this and will do what ever he can to see it happen, it will be ideal if he works towards this goal, and there will be many others to come.


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Nabil E. Matar

Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 266

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ahlan Ahla Be Elie, We haven't heard from you in a long time.
Going back to The Mukhtar subject of capturing Rain Water and snow, We could also proceed with the waste water plant This will give us additional source by purifying, recycling and store its water. This project has many benefits, it will not only provide the town additional water but also will clean the environment.
Guys There are many ideas for fighting fire but the most important thing is how we prevent fires. I am not here to give you lesson of how the fire occur but just to make a point. Three sources should have for the fire to occur. Oxygen, ignition and fuel if you eliminate one of them, fire will never occur. I remember when we were little kids and during this time of the year my mother used to send us to N'ashesh (pick up pine straws) to use as a fuel to make (Rib al Banadora and Awirma) Tomato paste. we did not know then that by picking the straws we were eliminating one source of the fire formula. Another way of eliminating the fuel source is please stop throwing garbage in our forests. As for the Ignition source I hope people will stop the habit of throwing their burning cigarettes every where. My point in brief that little house keeping does not cost money and it will prevent or at least minimize fires.

Last edited by Nabil E. Matar on Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:05 am; edited 1 time in total
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George Matar
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Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 404
Location: League City, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Love the House cleaning portion of Nabil's post. There are people that make a profession out of collecting Pine straws, weeds, dead branches and convert them to mulch, or compos and use them in flower beds. A high school project could adopt this and raise money for the school and at the same time learn about the benefits of recycling

Yes the Daiaa's infrastructure needs require the implmentation of so many ideas but what I really need out of this post / subject is total focus on one Idea that we collectively can pursue and carry through... We suceed.. we'll move to another.

Gabi, Nahr Bou Dawood starts where the Sid Resturant dam is. It is not a Nahr by any means but during rainy days it has a healthy flow that I think with minimum capital we can capture and retain the rain. There is a year around constant feed top it from the surrounding spring like Ain Aboo, Ain Tahta, Ain Sindiani etc.. These are small stream in the summers and they all can be caputred and used for irregation possibly on daily bases in the summer.

I see this project as a first step followed by potable and waste water projects. But for now, let us concentrate on ONE
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George Matar
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Joined: 22 Jan 2007
Posts: 404
Location: League City, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just got this email, seems dj read our BB and wants to be proactive in promoting the idea. I just love it.

I am not familier with the type of pumps he is suggesting , I emailed him for more information. Elie / Nabil are you familier with this type of pump?

Here is the email
From: dj
Posted: Thu Oct 04, 2007 10:16 pm
Subject: What does this fire teach us

Would a water Ram pump be effective????
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Elie BouKheir

Joined: 04 Oct 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Houston , Texas

PostPosted: Fri Oct 05, 2007 2:56 pm    Post subject: Ram pump Reply with quote

Hello Nabil, DJ and Abu Makhoul Al Mukhtar,

I know it has been a long time Nabil, and will always look forward to share views when time permits. hopefully we can start planning to get some where, I am positive that Shweir has many talented engineers with few drops of contribution, the bucket will be full before you know it. Our town despirately needs all the help it can.

This is the first time I hear about the Ram pump, but it does seem very interesting as it works on Air compression and valve off/on actuation, it is very impressive that it can pump 1000 ft of head, I do think that it will be a function of the incoming pressure to create such an output. this means that we will need to have piping for down stream and upstream as well, while the conventional pump can lifth the water from the water dam directly, otherwise the pressure might not build up as reauired, but still sounds like it is a good option. I will research it further with the manufacturers for a performance curves of flow vs head and it's efficiency.

I do also think that filtration and water treatment can give us the ability to use the existing piping for water distribution, as Nabil mentioned also waste water treatment plant will go hand in hand with the process.

I suggest that we transfer this discussion to the Innovations & Ideas. section of the website, before we go too far with this discussion, may be we attract more experts to join in.


Elie BouKheir (PE)

Last edited by Elie BouKheir on Sat Aug 09, 2008 12:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Nabil E. Matar

Joined: 23 Jan 2007
Posts: 266

PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not trying to cause distraction to your idea, I think it is a great idea and it needed to be pursued. I mentioned the waste water plant because this project had been started several years ago and for some reason it has not been completed. As for the ram pump you mentioned I am not familiar with such design, It does though upper to me that it is a low capacity pump and as Elie mentioned it need piping for down stream and upstream as well. I believe a vertical or horizontal conventional centrifugal pump with electric motor or diesel engine might serve the purpose better. Any way, the idea of running piping from a dam at Sid Abou Dawood to the tanks might not be practical and it could be very expensive not to mentioned if the land owners will allow you to run these pipes in their properties. I think maybe The civil defense vacuum trucks could be used to fill these tanks from the dam during winter. This could be more achievable and might be more practical.

Although this project can bring many benefits to our town but we need to realize that it cannot be achieved over night. I think we need to come out with fire preventing ideas A.S.A.P to stop these incidents from re-occurring other wise at this rate of fires Dhour Shweir and Lebanon won't have pine trees left to be burned
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Elie BouKheir

Joined: 04 Oct 2007
Posts: 4
Location: Houston , Texas

PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 12:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guys,
The immediate solution to have water available for fire fighting is to have a mobile truck just like Nabil mentioned, however the simplest idea would be to have a lifting pump that runs on 24 Volt DC off the Truck batteries for loading and off loading water. The fire fighting Helicopters in Oregon, Australia the fight fires in heavily wooded areas use this particular pump.

I would like to see also the long term water utilization plan as mentioned to become the towns issue and worked on by our town board members headed by the Mayor, may be this is our chance to start working together for a worth while idea, and may be the good timing will be after the elections.

Again ideas, dreams and visions will become realities with perseverence.

Elie BouKheir (PE)

Lebanon Hiking Trail

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Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 395
Location: Virginia (Wash DC area)

PostPosted: 02 Sep 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: Lebanon Hiking Trail Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

Guys, check this out! Smile How many were aware of this?

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Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 150

PostPosted: 03 Oct 2008 08:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Edit/Delete this post Delete this post View IP address of poster

Excellent website. Thannks Abu Jihad,

We have been trying to organize some hiking trails with maps and points of interest for past few years now without much success. Unfortunately that did not happen.

Also, as part of promoting Shweir, a committee such as Chamber of Commerce should be formed to promote the businesses and natural attractions and to faciliitate joining and networking with worthy organizations like this Lebanon Trails and showcase Shweir Beauty.
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Often, many of us, and especially people from regions like the Mediterranean, tend to write in generalities with a bit of drama and at times tend to stretch facts to get people's attention about an important issue. Even though they may have an excellent cause, the over dramatization sometimes backfire and casts doubt about the real and key issues. This seems to be the case here.

Sadly, there is much credibility to Overpeace's concern about the environmental impact on our town and its future. These concerns are shared by residents and even some council members. I know that our new Mayor, Naeem Sawaya, seems to be making great efforts to address these issues.

Nabil and I had a good discussion w Dr. Ghosn. AS best as I can summarize, He explained that some of the licensing of these factories were obtained from the Ministry of Industry which in some ways override the Municipality.

When some citizens expressed concerns and protested to the Ministry that these factories appear to be in violation of their licenses, officials at the Ministry sent some questionable messages that further muddied the water about the meaning or interpretation of some vague wording in documents that is being now used to allow factories to exceed capacity. Also at stake appears to be personal liability exposure to those who dare to challenge such officials and even personal exposure to council members.

As you can surmize, the brief summary above, if I understood it correctly, further clouds the issues... which makes me appreciate the reasons forOverPeace's annonymity. It would be very difficult for anyone to express themselves openly in the town on such important issues without being ostracized. I hope OverPeace and other concerened persons will continue to post factual information without the overdramatization.

There are some discussions about moving the stone and cement plants to a more isolated area to preserve the beauty of Ain el Hanoot of an upper scale residential area and the Gateway or Entrance to Shweir.

I invite Municipality to comment on this issue, correct my summary where appropriate and keep us updated on this important issue that affects the towns future.

More discussion on this topic on Shweir.com BB  


June 2007

Petition about the plastic bag printing factory and sad Environmental Condition in Ain Hanout
Any one cares to translate to English?


On a positive note,
Happy Spring 2006

Photo by Samar


From: Shweir Municipality [mailto:shwair@idm.net.lb]
Sent: Tuesday, March 14, 2006 3:18 AM
To:     Anwar

Referring to our official statement sent to you on Friday , we promised to send you detailed documents that has been sent to messieurs Abou Saab , owners of the cement plant . there are 8 pages , please confirm receiving them , and we leave it up to your discrepency to translate them into English in case you find it necessary.  Sincerely yours,

Dr. Nabil Ghosn

President of Shweir - Ain Sindyani Municipality


Below are copies of official Municipality documents regarding the cement plant. 



Resolutions #s 1 thru 5 are below, click on each to enlarge


We received a link about pictures posted on another site that is not associated with Shweir.com. 
The anonymous writer has the following comments below:

The pictures that you will see, however shocking and dismaying, reflect what was done to the environment in Shweir. Why? Because those pictures are taken in the winter time where trees have no leaves. If the same pictures were taken in the spring season, you will see the trees covered with a film of white powder and that sheet of powder covers vast area. Before we go far .Please observe:
1- How close the school (to the left) is to the factories.
2- See how beautiful ALKHONSHARAH looks from this side and how ugly EIN ALHANOOT has become as a consequence.
3- See one house under construction behind the batching plant.
4- Other six houses within a close range are not shown in the pictures.



Samar Kiame

Joined: 24 Jan 2007
Posts: 84
Location: Shweir

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had the chance to talk with the owner of the new plant, and we discussed what was written on our BB about his plant, and I asked him what they are building here;
he said: "we manufacture plastic – plastic bags and also we print on them"
And he showed me some of the licenses of the plant…

The owner who seemed to be a very nice person, openly asked me to visit his plant in Beirut and make sure that everything is secure and that he already welcomed people from Shweir whom he claimed that were satisfied that there is no harm to the community…

Reflecting back one year ago when this subject came up and when we discussed it in our BB, we received official statement from the municipality assuring everyone that this plant was only for printing and not to manufacture plastics here:

Author Topic: Official Statement for Ain El Hanout Region
Member # 136

posted 03-10-2006 03:04 AM
Dear Anwar,
1- I received your email-dated march 8, and had a full attention to all its contents, while thanking you for your efforts and concerns about Shweir and Ain EL Hanout especially.

6- Going back to the printing on plastic bags plant. There is nothing of polluting affairs as it was mentioned by those who are raising this question.

This is situated in a light industrial zone in another area of Ain El Hanout. During the year 2002 a plastic bag printing press applied for a license, I formed a committee of two board councils composed of Engineer Habib Moujaes (Mechanical Engineer from the USA) and Engineer Imad Jerdak ( Water Engineer) to investigate the current plastic bag printing factory in Beirut and to be sure that it does not contaminate or pollute the area , the report was that its only a printing press and it has no pollution at all. That is why the Council Board Of The Municipality accepted their application and now it is in the process of being executed, they are going to employ around 150 employees of which the owner agreed to employ half of them at least from shweir. Keep in mind that this light industrial zone contains some old farms as well as an Aluminium Framing plant and all this region does not approach at all the Official Secondary School situated in ain El Hanout.

7- The municipal council is meeting this evening at 6 p.m. o' clock to discuss the cement industrial plant and I have prepared a full documentation for this case composed of eight pages to be distributed to the Municipality Council Members (15) so that you will be a connoisseur in this affair we will immediately scan them and email them to you so that you will be able to give copies to any person who is curious to know the details and satisfy the curiosity of others by asking you to translate them into english.

8-I do appreciate receiving any new inquisitions or concerns of any of the Shweirieh around the world to be put as tangible questions polite showing that a person Is seeking knowledge and not trying to accuse the municipality only with the purpose of criticizing.

9- Wishing you the best for Shweir.com to keep up with a high standard of respect to each other.

President of Shweir – Ain Sindyani Municipality
Dr. Nabil Ghosn

There seemed to be some contradiction and we would appreciate some clarification about such constructions

To read more and/or respond to the above, click here:  More discussion on this topic on Shweir.com BB  

The transformation
of a "Blooming Tree"
to a "Dead Tree"

Remembering beautiful spots in Ain el Hanout from 2004

Same location - March 2006:  Breaking new grounds in Ain el Hanout ...  
We received many communications expressing concerns about a large... what???

More pictures...

And the latest picture March 6, 2006

Some people think that this new construction is the future home
of a plastic factory, others think it is for a paint and thinner factory. 
Yet others claim that this is for a rich person who is building a big Villa. 

Please, before this gets out of hand and people rush to possibly wrong conclusions,
accusations and misjudgments, we urge you to instead, please give the courtesy and the
benefit of the doubt for the Municipality to educate us and provide official explanation.

We highly recommend for those who wish to communicate with us or on the BB to
PLEASE use good, positive, diplomatic and respectful approach.  We had to set aside or totally disregard some inappropriate language and accusatory communications.  We offer our apologies to those that we did not print their submitted messages the way they were written.  I do not mind if some people want to release their frustration in writing.
Please remember, it is always better to build bridges rather than burn them.  

Below I will share with you some of the more printable posts and an overview of the questions, requests, statements and the more realistic "wish list" that Shweir people want:


March 2006  -  Waste water continue to overflow into open fields...
The smell is getting worse in that area. 
Any update about resolving  the wastewater blockage & treatment and the smell problem
due to sewer and discharges of byproducts from Khinshara that is affecting Ain el Hanout.
Also about Sahlat Laila in Dhour,


Waste Water, Solid Waste & Industrial Pollution in 2004 & 2005

Pollution scenes from the last couple of years...???  That is sad, a very sad sight.

Black discharge is from
byproducts of molasses
plant in Khinshara.
This attracts bugs and
causes bad smell. 
What can be done to
remedy problems caused by
discharge from another town?


We hope that the above pollution has been corrected.  However, allowing new industrial plants can magnify the problem.  

Below are some pictures about the waste water line overflowing about 200 meters before it reaches the holding tanks -  Note the force of the waste pushing past a large and heavy cement cover.  Correction could be as easy as releasing the possible blockage. 

Below are more from different time periods.  It is sad the effect. 
note that the saturation has killed trees and continued saturation can cause land slides and soil instability.

Note, this old tree
was standing

Because of waste
water saturation,
it died and fell.

We prefer to write nice and positive things about Shweir.  Unfortunately, when things like this are sent to us by caring people, we would become hypocrites and do Shweir a disservice if we do not acknowledge and face problems so that we can solve them.  How can any on us fix or correct something if we are in denial that a problem exists.  For those who do not want such information to come out in the open, it would be like putting their heads in the sand and pretend there is no problem.  The danger is that by doing so, the problems would escalate and the cost to fix them later would be far greater. 

Suffice it to say that several people said that they and/or their elders cried after seeing the sad state that the town is in now.

The success... or failure... of any community depends on the quality of its infra-structure or basic needs public works... such as:  Master Plan, Zoning, Water, Waste Water, Power (electric, fuel, generators), Roads, Schools, Environment, Health, Freedom, Job opportunities, Recreational Facilities, Art, Culture, Security, etc.

Before anyone rushes to judgment and be quick to point fingers, please be mindful that these problems did not happen overnight.  These bear the scars of a civil war, lack of a funds, lack of awareness, division among our people or lack of unity, lack of or twisted rules, hidden rules or lack of disclosure, poor or lack of judgment, outmoded customs and rules that have been more damaging than helpful, etc.  History have showed us that rushing to judgment and pointing fingers usually lead to conflict. 

Granted that many of you are going to say:  but all towns suffered during the war and had similar bad rules, yet they are thriving now.  So why is Shweir is falling further behind???   Perhaps we need a fresh approach. 

Many of you are aware of the story in the bible where a group of people were about to stone a woman for her sins.  Christ told them:   "Whoever is without a sin to cast the first stone".  No one threw that first stone.

What if we take that lesson, as simple as it is, and apply it in a positive way to help solve our problems? 
Some of you may wonder:  "Are you crazy?  It is not that simple".  

Well, if a fresh approach can lead to better results, are you willing to try it? 

Are you brave enough to take that finger that you are about to point at someone else and point it at...
...   yes,  - - - - point it at... ourselves?  That means, I, me, us, we...  NOT you, you, you accusations. 

Right there, this can help diffuse potential conflict and transform it to cooperation. 

Yes, what if WE ask ourselves questions like:  How can we succeed when...:

*  Polluting plants are allowed to open and operate in or around Shweir. 
*  More questionable projects that could harm Shweir are being allowed to be built. 
*  Many of our Springs that made Shweir famous decades ago are now polluted and non drinkable. 
*  Residents now pay to have water delivered to them by tanker truck every couple of weeks for their every day needs. 
*  Waste water system that was recently built is not working and waste water is backing and overflowing onto adjacent land before it reaches the holding tanks.

So why WE remained so silent for so long? 
Why WE avoid identifying and discussing major problems?
Do WE want to continue in the same old broken down system or do WE want to get a fresh and dynamic start?
What can WE do as a community to not only correct problems AND also look for a brighter future?

Once WE begin to understand these basic yet critical issues, WE realize that with good and respectful communication we can achieve a brighter future for this community.

Following is a sample of comments, questions and communications we received of what Shweiries would like leadership and Municipality to PLEASE DO:

1.  Make available to the public all rules and guidelines so that the public can abide by them.  
2.  Provide full report disclosure to the public surrounding each of the controversies listed above - provide specifics.
3.  What effort has been made to clear the sewer blockage and to fix the waste water system?  When will it be fixed?
4.  Are the existing industrial plants in compliance now?  If not, what needs to be done so they will be in compliance?
5.  How are the industrial plants monitored and by whom?  Who keeps the data?  Is data available for inspection?
6.  Describe the anatomy or requirements of obtaining permits especially for major industrial operation.
7.  Are there studies made about the impact of industrial pollution to the health and wellbeing of residents?
8.  Are there studies made about the impact of industrial pollution on wildlife, plant life and infrastructure? 
9.  What happens when or if any industrial operation is in violation of their license? 
10.  Does Municipality welcome and encourage independent consultants to review questionable data?
11.  Is there a short and long term (2-5 years and 10-15-20 years Master Plan in effect?  If not, does Municipality intend to create one?  If so, what is the time table for first draft?  Do you need expert help or even books?

Above all, they/WE urge the Municipality to make these controversies major priority and take bold measures fix them.
Many Shweiries including architects, land planners and engineers are prepared to volunteer their time even during their vacation to help the Municipality on these challenging issues.  Let US take the opportunity and utilize these resources offered for the greater good.


A copy of communications about important Shweir issues:

 -----Original Message-----
From: Anwar Kenicer [mailto:Anwar2 at shweir. com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 6:05 AM
To: Municipality; Baladieh
Subject: FW: FW: Important message about Shweir future 

Dear Dr. Ghosn,

 As the webmaster for Shweir.com, I have received many communications about the Ain el Hanout pollution, industrial buildings and problems.  I ignored some because they were accusatory and invited conflict.  By now, perhaps you may have seen the email discussing same topic.  If not, a copy is below.

This one is presentable and they are appealing to the Municipality in a respectful way for important information about correcting the problems there and to ameliorate situation before another industrial plant is built without much notice.  At least that is what is being stated. 

We do not know much of the facts.  We welcome your responding to the specific details and questions and to sharing relevant information so that the leadership and the people would be more united especially in these trying times for Shweir and its people. 

 The reason that I am taking time to write this is because I have received lots of complaints about these issues.  I do not know what else to do but share at least the civil or presentable data with you. I will spare you the others. I wrote a toned down version on the web.  People were getting upset with me because I chose not to publish whatever they sent.  I wanted to avoid or at least minimize potential problems.   

 Considering the foregoing, do you think it would be prudent for the Municipality to give order to stop or at least delay the construction of the new industrial plant, (unless it is a villa), before they pour cement foundations and scar the landscape.  If such delay gives the people of Shweir and especially residents living nearby the courtesy to respond to their concerns, give proper and adequate notice, provide the requested information and hear their comments and feedback.  Perhaps the information, specification, procedures and studies that the Municipality has already done about the new construction would put people's minds at ease, once they become aware of facts.  And if that is the case, the construction can continue and everyone will be happy, hopefully. 

 I have copied some people on the spur of the moment whom I believe can be helpful in their divergent expertise.  I welcome Dr. Ghosn's and your comments on these important issues.  I do not want to overstep my boundaries and wish to avoid a potential conflict if proper disclosure is not observed.

Many of us are prepared to help or know others who can volunteer at no cost in order to help in the evaluation, studies, data and monitoring of the industrial factories and hopefully come up with a short and long term master plan to help solve these problems and make Shweir flourish.

Working together, we can take big challenges and transform them into successes. 

 I need and respect your opinions.  What do you all think? 

 Best regards,


 Below is copy of one communication:   


 To everyone who cares about better future for Shweir,

 Please look on information on www.shweir.com  click on Ain hanooot picture and look on environment web page.

 We talked with expert.   He said that pollution can make people that are near the factories ill and if they use bad material like asbestos.  It will cause cancer.  Maybe not now but in future.  Like the people who lived near the Chekka factory, now many have cancer. 

 There is Shweir school 200 meters from cement factory.  The students, teachers and neighbors feel sick from the bad pollution and bad air.  Who wants to poison the students with bad air.  But the factory is getting bigger.

 Also another big factory for paint or plastic starting to destroy beautiful land.  There was no notice about this new factory.  No one know what kind of pollution the new factory will make.

Also there is more pollute from stone cutting and bad sewer pipes.  Also from molasses factory in Khinshara. 

 We beg the Municipality to stop or delay new factory before they put cement foundation and make bigger distructions in areas that Dr. Ghosn said was zoned for villas.  Do anybody know what kind of pollution the new factory will make?  We also beg Municipality give explanation about this new factory getting licese without notice to people and to answer the questions that were asked on BB and on the environment web page. 

We pray that the Municipality has done all the proper studies and will provide all information that protects to calm people. Until that happens, they and we need to do the rights thing. 

Who want to close their eyes and take a chance that the heavy pollution in Ain el Hanout can poison the students and give them cancer?

Time is critical.  Municipality need to order planned factory to stop work before they put cement foundation and make big scars in grounds.

To contact the Municipality, send to these two emails: ; or Shwair at idm.net.lb If you want to send a copy to Shweir.com, send to these two emails: anwar2 at shweir.com or read or post on Bullittin Baord:

 We beg all who care and love Shweir to please read the information and forward this email to all people who care about Shweir and its future. 

Please Write in your own words and Forward to those who care aobut  Shweir.

 Thank you.  


-----Original Message-----
From: Habib Moujaes [mailto:hmoujaes at destination. com.lb]
Sent: Tuesday, March 07, 2006 11:46 PM
To: 'Anwar2'; 'Municipality'; 'Baladieh'

Dear Anwar

Thank you for your concern and effort in maintaining this forum in a civilized form.

I want to address the New "Paint and Plastic" Factory issue.

3 Years Ago we (The Previous Municipality Board) studied and approved a small light industrial Zone in the area of Ain Al Hanout, where the old farms and a couple of existing factories (Aluminium framing and Munitions), This zone did not extend to the school area nor to the contested Central Cement Mixer station. And a second one at the outskirts of Ain Sindiany.

A Plastic Bag Manufacturer (Including Plastic Bag Printing Presses) applied for a License to move his factory from Beirut to Shweir (Thus bringing with it 40 to 50 job opportunities to our town).  Dr. Ghosen (Previous and current Mayor) Formed a committee (Myself and Imad Jerdak Board Counsels at the time) to investigate the current operation of the Plastic Bag and printing 

We visited their premises and spent few hours with the owner checking the operation to insure that no polluting elements existed in his operation.  We then reported our findings to the City counsel and Mayor and the counsel voted to approved the permit.

 I am no longer a member of the counsel so I cannot add anything more other than I was a supporter of having light industry move to our area (Regulated and under constant surveillance by the municipality).

 Habib Khalil Moujaes


-----Original Message-----
From: A G Kenicer [mailto:Kenicer at comcast. net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 2:04 AM
To: 'Habib Moujaes'; 'Anwar2'; Municipality
Subject: RE: FW: Important message about Shweir future

Thank you Habib very much for your informative explanation. 

 Apparently, when people are not informed about something, they/we assume the worst. That is not only a Shweiry trait.  It is an international human nature.   Like many others, I admit that I have fallen in the same trap in the past and sometimes for good reason.

If or when announcements are made about an issue, it neutralizes the situation.  Not knowing or without that knowledge, we have a healthy and amazing imagination.  : ) 

So, it is always a good idea to have some basic information about important issues readily available before creative imaginations run wild. 

 There is a big difference between paint manufacturing and printing.  Making Paint is usually toxic and a cause for concern. Printing is far less toxic except when they clean ink with other chemicals that are possibly toxic. I am not familiar of the extent of pollution with regards to manufacturing plastic bags, smell and resulting discards on the environment.

 I trust that there would be strict guidelines to their license about how and where they discard their byproducts.  Like they should not overload the trash area with their stuff or dump printing or cleaning fluids nearby.  It sounds much better already especially where there will be strict monitoring of any potentially polluting entity. 

Hope we can have similar successes with the other issues mentioned. 

 Again it would be very helpful to give status reports on the waste water system, water supply, cement, stone cutting, cleaning up the river, molasses pollution from Khinshara plus new and creative concepts that are being worked on that the public would enjoy and welcome knowing about.  

 I will be happy to post these reports on the web and it would be easier for Municipality staff so that they do not have to respond about the same questions to so many people and will have more time to do creative and dynamic things. 

It helps for people to know the terms and restrictions of each of the major permits are.  Also it would be helpful to print a copy of the zoning map.  The more information we can provide or publish, the smoother the operation would be.

 I understand that Dr. Ghosn and the council will meet soon to discuss the issues raised and give their official response.

 Thanks again for your prompt and informative explanation about the new factory.

Best regards,



From: Samar kiame [mailto:kiamesamar at hotmail. com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 5:29 AM

Dear all,

I would like to say thank you to Anwar for his concern about this issue for the best of the town.

And thank you to Habib Moujaes for presenting clarifications on this real project, we appreciate that.

As a neighbor of this new future industry, I would like to present the concerns of my family and the people who are close to it and ask for your assurance;

We have a long experience with the Lebanese government in leaving industries irresponsible for their contamination of environment and human health,

To all of you addressing this problem none of you are living here, it is me and my parents and uncles and cousins who will be a victim of any accident or negligence of any residue may be through from this industry.

People have the right to a scientific independent study of the impact of this industry. I would like the municipality to assure if this industry emits gazes that laws enforce the use of antipollution systems like filters.

The municipality should assure a law that makes the industry responsible of cleaning and compensating the area if a problem accurse.

Many questions have been raised because of the fact that this project has been kept secret until the work started.

I would have confidence if this industry was built by a person like Habib Moujaes because we know that he truly has concerns for the wellbeing of the community, but I wish to know who will be the owner of the new industry.

Why would this industry want to move, removing 40 to 50 jobs from Beirut to Shweir and spread the cost of relocating?

I am with you that this may give chances to people to work, We all know that machines replace humans these days, will these 40 or 50 jobs promised, be all year round? Or do these numbers include the construction of the industry?

Will the people of Shweir be the ones who work for this industry? Or will the people chosen, work for lower salaries?

Will traffic increases with this industry?

Why did they choose to build on a land that was all natural and good for culture when in the same area other locations of abandoned old farms (now zoned for industry) could have been reused sparing this field? Was it possible to leave the landscape nice to the eye?

Shweir as all of you know is attractive for its beautiful environment. I hear complains from people about the transformation of this part of Shweir, where they like the pleasure of walking morning and evening and breathing the nice fresh air and enjoying the calmness of this area.

Should we take in consideration first of all the environment in the choices that we make for developing other kind of investment?  Sincerely,


From: Matar, Nabil [mailto:Nabil.Matar at valero. com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 7:01 AM
Subject: RE: FW: Important message about Shweir future

I liked what Anwar, Habeeb and of course Samar's comments on this issue. I am not against bringing small industries that provide jobs to our town. I live and work in an area  that is surrounded by petrochemical plants so I am used to the pluses and the minuses. My concern is not the plant it self but how the wastes will be handled.  For example I know that plants like that required lots of cooling water which could get contaminated, I also know that plants like that produces wastes that need to be disposed safely and what about the smell. We brag about the pine trees smell in our town. Are we going to replace that with paper mils smell in the future? I hope that our officials will do the right thing to keep our town clean and beautiful 

From: Matar, George E (S & B) [mailto:George.Matar at bp. com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 9:00 AM
Subject: RE: FW: Important message about Shweir future

Lets have the plans and process diagrams for this facility, I’ll be willing to audit it and maybe come out with at least some recommendation on environment issue


From: Jamil Bou-Saab, P.E. [mailto:jbousaab at terraengineering. com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 9:16 AM

I will be more than happy to help George on this issue.  I second Nabil and Samar concerns.  I could have my staff evaluate all the environmental issues and comments on the findings if we could obtain the plans of the plant process.

We should all be concern.  Jobs are important to our community but clean environment is more important.

Ready to help.

Jamil Bou-Saab, P.E. VP

Chicago, IL 60610     Peoria, IL 61606


From: Samih Baaklini [mailto:sabaaklini at sbcglobal. net]
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 8:44 AM
Subject: RE: FW: Important message about Shweir future

Jamil,  Good to hear from you and I am glad we are taking this issue seriously. we can not have our kids breath asbestos while they are sitting in their classrooms. Cancer rates are the highest in SHEKA because of the asbestos plant they have there and we do not want this in Shweir.  Another issue we should tackle is to declassify AIN-HANOUT from an industrial zone to a recreational, educational or parks zone we can figure out a way of attracting businesses to Dhour while maintaining a clean environment.  

Anwar thank you for addressing this issue.  Nabil we all share your dreams.


From: Matar, Nabil [
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 8:11 AM

Jamil, Nice to here from you and Habib . I know and I am full  confidence that Shweir have many people who have the talent and experience to tackle such issues. I wish for our officials to have the wisdom to utilize these individuals. 

I am not trying to be selfish here, but as a mechanical engineer who deals with machinery I spent half my life in petrochemical plants, I saw the good the bad and the ugly. 

 on June I decided to give up this type of work and retire.  My future plan is to spend six month of a year in god's country which we call Dhour Shweir. All these years I have been dreaming for that  moment where every day I will have the chance to walk all over these magnificent hills and smell the aroma of our Snouber.  So I plead our officials to take the necessary steps to assure  the residents, the mughtaribeen and I that Dhour Shweir will always be  the place for people who seeks clean environment.

Finally please don't deprive me and others from that dream and I second what Jamil said  "Jobs are important to our community but clean environment is more important".

From: Anwar
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2006 12:46 PM

This is such a healthy and positive dialogue. 

We had the opportunity to get valuable and varied perspectives.

Habib, your overview and background about the new factory was very helpful.

Samar, as a resident who is directly affected by the existing and potential problems, your input is important.  You stated facts and summarized the concerns of your neighbors, and possibly the majority of the town, in a mature, respectful and progressive manner.  

Thanks to all for your positive responses and valuable comments.  Also thanks for volunteering your expert knowledge to help, that is a fantastic positive sign in the right direction.

We sincerely hope, better yet, trust that the Shweir leadership will welcome and encourage this momentum.  

Unless any of you have an objection, I feel that this dialogue is worthy to be shared by all of those who care about Shweir and would be available for them on the web.  We do not want to leave anyone out. 

This is a good example of how good communication is transforming what could be a potential conflict about the new factory to cooperative and positive dialogue. 

Yes, we still have challenges to resolve the sewer lines and its treatment, and the other pollution issue.

We look forward to the day that when these are resolved, we can work on more rewarding things like enhancing the natural beauty, building lakes and reservoirs with reclaimed water and planting flowers and reviving the old souk.

I respect your privacy and emails, as such, I will delete emails and present only basic content.



Author Topic: Official Statement for Ain El Hanout Region
Member # 136

posted 03-10-2006 03:04 AM      Profile for municipality        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Dear Anwar,
1- I received your email-dated march 8, and had a full attention to all its contents, while thanking you for your efforts and concerns about Shweir and Ain EL Hanout especially. I would like to give an official statement like I usually do in such cases because we do not enter into un-useful discussions that sometimes appear on the website or accusations of people who do not know facts about things and do not take the effort to contact Shweir- Ain El Sindyani Municipality on any specific topic they would like to discuss or acquire knowledge.

2- In this case and especially about Ain El Hanout Region, I would like to refer everybody to the 2 official statements that we sent you before
A- posted on the BB on 6/2/2006
B- posted on the BB on 24/1/2006

3-Going Back to some of the questions you picked up, specifically about the Cement Industrial Plant, this plant has been licensed by the MOHAFEZ of Mount Lebanon in 1983 where it was at that time the responsibility of the MOHAFEZ to issue the industrial licenses for different kinds of industries. He has a health committee that studies applications, and those who fill the requirements would be licensed. Concerning the license that was granted to Mr Asad Abou Saab, it is a permanent license.
The addition to the existing plant of Mr. Abou Saab , I took a decision to stop working in it until they bring an official certificate from the ministry of industry who are now the ministry responsible for industrial plants stating very clearly that the addition they are making at the moment is a part of the plant they have been licensed long ago. Otherwise they will have to stop with the addition and remove what they have done.
They have been given a time of grace until they can bring the official certificate required by the municipality.

4- A certain part of the area of ain EL Hanout in the zoning of Shweir had been designated for villas. Let everybody be at ease that this same sector will never have neither now nor in the future anymore industrial plants or anything that could spoil the area which is designated for only villas.

5-Concerning the open-air garage for instruments owned by Mr Salim Katoul we are negotiating with them to remove it to another place the same thing goes for Mr. Rabih Abou Samra where he is keeping his stocks of sand and stones. This will be completed and liberated in a coming short time.

6- Going back to the printing on plastic bags plant. There is nothing of polluting affairs as it was mentioned by those who are raising this question.

This is situated in a light industrial zone in another area of Ain El Hanout. During the year 2002 a plastic bag printing press applied for a license, I formed a committee of two board councils composed of Engineer Habib Moujaes (Mechanical Engineer from the USA) and Engineer Imad Jerdak ( Water Engineer) to investigate the current plastic bag printing factory in Beirut and to be sure that it does not contaminate or pollute the area , the report was that its only a printing press and it has no pollution at all. That is why the Council Board Of The Municipality accepted their application and now it is in the process of being executed, they are going to employ around 150 employees of which the owner agreed to employ half of them at least from shweir. Keep in mind that this light industrial zone contains some old farms as well as an Aluminium Framing plant and all this region does not approach at all the Official Secondary School situated in ain El Hanout.

7- The municipal council is meeting this evening at 6 p.m. o' clock to discuss the cement industrial plant and I have prepared a full documentation for this case composed of eight pages to be distributed to the Municipality Council Members (15) so that you will be a connoisseur in this affair we will immediately scan them and email them to you so that you will be able to give copies to any person who is curious to know the details and satisfy the curiosity of others by asking you to translate them into english.

8-I do appreciate receiving any new inquisitions or concerns of any of the Shweirieh around the world to be put as tangible questions polite showing that a person Is seeking knowledge and not trying to accuse the municipality only with the purpose of criticizing.

9- Wishing you the best for Shweir.com to keep up with a high standard of respect to each other.

President of Shweir – Ain Sindyani Municipality
Dr. Nabil Ghosn

[ 03-10-2006, 03:10 AM: Message edited by: municipality ]

Posts: 36 | From: shweir | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Member # 3

posted 03-10-2006 04:54 AM      Profile for Shweir   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you Dr. Ghosn for your response and providing important details about these issues.

Looking at the bright side, it is heartwarming to see a sample of professional engineers and architects prepared to volunteer their time, even during their vacation to help. I think Shweir is blessed with more engineers per capita than anywhere else on this planet.

It looks like quite a bit of progress has been or is now in motion. That is very encouraging.

As I mentioned before, I am only the messenger. In a way, I filter as much communication going thru this website to make the language and concerns presentable in an informative and positive manner rather than accusatory fashion in order to minimize potential conflict. I know very little, possibly less than 10%, of the details or specifics of these issues. I merely relay some of the most relevant questions, statements and concerns I receive. I do my very best to remove the personal and emotional drama and focus on relevant facts.

It is very healthy for the community to want to take an active role in understanding rules, regulations and guidelines so that they can follow up and abide by them. If no one provide the rules to them, there would be plenty of frustration, confusion, suspicion and accusations. We look up to the leadership and Municipality to set a model role in promoting such progressive interaction.

In the case of the issues and questions raised in previous posts, it would be helpful for the public to be provided with the necessary notices and specifications about these establishments so that they will have the opportunity to comment or at least understand that the Municipality is doing the necessary studies and evaluations and put the residents minds at ease.

I am sure everyone would be relieved to learn, as you, Dr. Ghosn, stated about the "plastic bag printing factory": "...and to be sure that it does not contaminate or pollute the area , the report was that its only a printing press and it has no pollution at all".

To put residents minds at ease, can copies of the application and the evaluations be available for those concerned to see them and possibly get a copy?

When would someone give us further update about the remaining questions raised about issues including waste water, river pollution from the molasses factory from Khinshara and the questions about licenses, procedures to get permit, monitoring and what happens when someone violates their license guidelines?

New questions just came in:
1. If an industry causes excessive pollution, what regulatory agency can make them clean up the mess they make? Would they be in violation of their license? And who enforces the violation?
2. If students and or neighbors of polluting plants get sick because of the pollution, would the causing entity pay for their medical bills?
3. When roads go bad because of the heavy loads to and from the industrial plants, should these causing plants pay to repair the road damage?

Thanks for your offer to scan relevant data and forward it to us to post. We would be happy to be part of this important effort to save public documents and make them readily accessible. Considering the tragic loss of so many important documents that were lost during the war, this is a way to preserve such important records while making them easily accessible.

In summary, we are very much in support of business successes. That is why we have a program to promote every business in town including the conforming existing plants as long as it is not at the expense of harming the environment and its people.

Many thanks for every effort to educate and keep the public informed and safe.



[ 03-10-2006, 02:20 PM: Message edited by: Shweir ]

Posts: 3 | From: Shweir, Lebanon | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged

Ghosn Official Statement #1   Ghosn Official Statement #2   Ghosn Official Statement #3    Start of Overpeace series


Author Topic: Is it a villa or is it a plant?
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 03-08-2006 07:31 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really should not get involved in issues that in no way impact me--me who is living thousands of miles away from 3ain el Hannoot. But the place holds for me some of the dearest memories. Forty somewhat years ago we spent many good days exploring the once pristine place, frolicking near nahr abu dawood and visiting the beautiful deir mar Youhanna. I wonder if kids enjoy this place as much as we used to. I guess that alone should give me a tiny right to speak about the issue that has been on the minds of everyone who visited this web page lately.

Apparently the answer to the above question is that it is a plant and not a villa. A job producing plant and this is excellent. God knows we need more of that in our stagnant little town. Also, from all indications is that this printing plant will be a good neighbor and will not be an eye sore or a pollutant. I sincerely pray and hope that this will be the case after everything is said and done and that there will be no unpleasant surprises when it is too late to do anything about them.

But the thing that I am writing about this morning is not so much about this project as about the process. Why should anyone be asking the question posed on the cover of our webpage in this late hour. It is sad to read the concerns of some of the citizenry who live next door who had so little input or even knowledge about what is going on.

I might ruffle some feathers here, but in today's age of information there is no excuse for either lack of transparency or for lack of keeping the citizenry informed step by step as projects like this one are being considered. A well publicized presentation in a general public hearing (a town meeting) would have been very proper. One would be surprised how much could be learned from such meetings. It should have been held BEFORE any decisions where made to inform the people and to air any concerns that they may have had. This question should never have been asked in the first place if proper democratic protocols such as having a town meeting were in place.

I, for one, would love to see our town be a shining star-- a beacon for democracy in Lebanon where the people are the true and only power. God knows that the rudder of the ship of state in our beloved country is broken and is in dire need of repair. Cleaning up our act might just be the first tiny step in that direction.

[ 03-08-2006, 07:39 AM: Message edited by: Habeeb M. Nacol ]

Posts: 994 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged



The following is a sample communication about Ain el Hanoot from the Bulletin Board, BB, to read more or post
Click here:  http://www.shweir.com/cgi-bin/bboard/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=001731#000028

Author Topic: EIN ALHANOOT misery
Member # 346

posted 01-14-2006 03:31 AM      Profile for wledelday3a   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To All SHWEIRIEH all ower the world.

We wish to advice you that a new concrete batching plant with two cement silos has been installed with no licence of course that would add to the mess and misery of the old beautiful EIN ALHANOOT area. All that took place with the blessing of the BALADIYYEH. We call upon all voices to denounce this barbaric act and the silence that covers it, and if we send you a picture of how AIN ALHANOOT looks like now, you will not believe this could happen in Shweir - But it did happen. The building law in Lebanon for similar industrial type of plants requires zones classified for heavy industry like in Naher El-Mott or Zouk Mosbeh industrial areas and requires a procedure of approvals from several ministies and the approval of the local Municipality. All this has not been applied in our beautiful and unfortunate village.
Shweir for Polutant Free SHWEIR,

Posts: 1 | From: shweir | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 01-14-2006 07:15 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is a very serious problem that our once beautiful city has been facing for many years--lack of propper planning and zoning. For us that visit occasionally the damage is so apparent. I for one was shocked by some of the monstorous structures that have been built, an by the ecological damage that has ravaged the city during the past four decades or so.

Those who are in power must have a clearer and better vision of the future. They must excercise diligence and care to insure the long term welfare of the city because once the damage is done it is very difficult to turn back. Shweir does not need to be like the "bsaine yalle 3am tilka7 el mabrad." Instant gratification is not what this is all about-- We are smarter than that__I hope.

There is a slogan that is used very often to promote Texas ecological welfare of our state here. It says "DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!" So please don't mess with our beautiful Shweir!

Posts: 991 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
George Matar
Member # 4

posted 01-16-2006 07:06 AM      Profile for George Matar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya Ibn al Day3a, it sounds to me that this concrete batching plant and Silos popped out of the ground, never heard about them before how come no one mentioned anything?

Are these the plants that generate dust and spread it all over creation? similar to Shikka?
It is probably too late to do something about it, so who owns this plant and who operates it? Are the workers from Shweir? Is it bringing revenues to the Shweir? These are the question we need to ask..... and SADLY, after the fact

Posts: 2053 | From: Houston, Texas USA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 214

posted 01-20-2006 08:11 AM      Profile for gilbert     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hi everyone , i didn't post since a long time ,
i hope that all the shweirieh all over the world are fine and in a good health , best regards for all
i'm posting on this topic because i can't read or hear about injustice, well i need to ask the shweirieh in shweir to put this issue in public if it is right that they build the structure without any lisence and with the approvel of the baladieh i think every lebanese broadcast or news paper will be intrested in the storie , when the story will be in public the baladieh will have to give some answers and if their is any corruption behind the scene the baladieh or the person who allowed to ruin ain al hanoot should be dismissed imidietly
I know that we have it in the caracter as lebanese to let go because it's not our land it's not our buisness but if we keep it this way SILENCE not only ain al hanout will be an awfull view to look at but all the country
I hope someone will give some answers otherwise i will writte bymyself to some of the news papers and see if their intrested in the story


Posts: 64 | From: Rome | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 01-20-2006 08:21 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gilbert you are so right. Important issue like this should be aired because it affects everyone that lives and cares for Shweir. It would be a good jesture by the baladieh to hold a public hearing so that grievances and input could come forth. This is what democracy is all about. I recall recently hearing Metropolitan Audi of Beirut saying "ni7na mannash wlad zghar" we know what is best for us--How about it baladieh?
Posts: 991 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 136

posted 01-24-2006 02:58 AM      Profile for municipality        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Official statement:
Ain El Hanout Topic

While reading your comments on the Bulletin Board of shweir.com, I was really astonished how this topic is being dealt with individuals which appears to me do not know anything about Ain El Hanout or they didn't visit Shweir for more than 25 years ago. So we will take the liberty of explaining the whole Ain El Hanout issue very clearly and wish at the same time to ask all Shweirieh all over the world when they find themselves wanting verification about any subject that they are concerned about to address directly to Shweir municipality and they will get immediately official answers to all their worries or concerns about their town.
Entering into the Subject, This answer is to those that have risen the question of Ain El Hanout on your Bulletin board during the month of January 2006.
1- Before accusing your Baladieh Council Members that are elected by the people and by a complete majority, we don't point fingers of accusation to a council that represents the town without having on hand valuable information.
2- 1) When we talk about Ain EL Hanout we talk about two factories, one owned by Mr. Simon Baaklini, specialized in cutting stones from rocks and the other factory owned by Mr. Assad Abou Saab specialized in all what is concrete. Both of these factories are licensed with a permanent license by the Lebanese Ministry of Industry in a very legal way since at least 20 to 25 years ago.
2- 2) There are other small institutions, a warehouse in the
open air for heavy and light machinery owned by Mr. Salim Katul member of the Shweir Baladieh Council and the second one is for storing Quantities of sand owned by Mr. Rabih Abou Samra.

3) The Municipality Council has been working on this special issue since so many years dealing with the owners of these institutions to ameliorate their situation into a better one and clearing the main road around them; planting trees, stopping any pollution that could be caused. In this field the council was successful in ameliorating the situation to a better one. The Council is still working very efficiently on this subject and the last meeting was held especially for dealing with this issue in an exceptional meeting on Friday 20th, instant.
4- 1) The alternatives that you may be thinking of , closing down these factories would result in a financial compensation that the municipality would have to pay amounting at least 2 to 3 million American Dollars. This is impossible to consider in the present financial capacity of the municipality.
4- 2) we have to take into consideration that the financial income of the municipality is at its lowest standard because if you may know or not, please note that we have no more hotels while Dhour Shweir before the war had 14 hotels; Now we have only the Hotel Central that has a capacity of 30 beds and the New Dhour Shweir Hotel Owned by Hanna and Remond Abed el Ahad in the center of the town that so far is loosing lots of money instead of making profits.

4- 3) In surplus to the above something that we don't announce in public because it is contradictory to the public interest, we have 600 apartments that are not fit for living, i.e. they need repairs to be able to bring them back to their good shape in order to be used.
5- At the moment I feel that I have given enough explanation about Ain El Hanout problem that was the concern of several Shweirieh on the Shweir.com bulletin.
We are ready to answer any Question that may come to your minds concerning tangible issues.
Wishing that you will all visit Dhour el Shweir so that you will see in person the achievements that were made by the municipal council during the last few years, so that the municipality would receive you as VIP's in the municipality palace that has been offered to the municipality by the top emigrant Shweire Family in Brazil Mr. Jafeth.

President of Shweir and Ain el sindyani Municipality
Dr.Nabil Ghosn

[ 01-24-2006, 03:01 AM: Message edited by: municipality ]

Posts: 34 | From: shweir | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 01-24-2006 07:16 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Dear Dr. Ghosn, You do not know how much I personally appreciated your answer. Your devotion to our city is unparalleled.

But so that I may not have been understood, what had happened in the past is difficult if not next to impossible to change, but my personal concern was for the future. I personally hate to see the town being built without any regard to the environment, aesthetics and most importantly public health. This goes for all the town and not just 3ain el 7anoot. May be the tough times dictated what had happened in the past, but now I am very opitmistic that under your leadership the future growth will be according to a well thought of laid out plan.

[ 01-24-2006, 07:17 AM: Message edited by: Habeeb M. Nacol ]

Posts: 993 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Abu Jihad
Member # 90

posted 01-24-2006 02:39 PM      Profile for Abu Jihad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Where is the location of Ain el Hanout?
Posts: 1226 | From: Wash. DC area | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Frankie Goodson
Member # 111

posted 01-24-2006 04:09 PM      Profile for Frankie Goodson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My comment is how Mr. Salim Katul being a member of the Shweir Baladieh Council, which is elected by the people by a complete majority as you stated, can profit from this business! Is that not a conflict of interest? I feel that should not be allowed. In fact it would be illegal in the United States. Therefore, I do not understand why you have responded so indignantly.

Frankie Goodson

Posts: 315 | From: Little Rock, AR. USA | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 01-24-2006 05:22 PM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Abu Jihad,
3ain el 7annoot is an area that lies north east of Shweir. You would pass through it if you are coming to Shweir from Bikfaya around Mar Elias through Shreen. I guess the closest land mark to it is Deir Mar Yu7anna.
Frankie, maybe this is going too far. All the members of the council are very honorable. But we, like members of the council want the best future possible for our Shweir.

Posts: 993 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gabi Ataya
Member # 72

posted 01-25-2006 05:00 AM      Profile for Gabi Ataya     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
sounds like a good explanation to me.

i wouldnt be too quick to compare what is allowable in the USA with whats allowable in Lebanon. different countries, different cultures, different values, different laws.

Posts: 310 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 214

posted 01-25-2006 09:33 AM      Profile for gilbert     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm lost here

The WLEDELDAY3A topic refered to a new concreet batching was installed and Dr. Ghosn has refered to the two factories that oready exist ,
Please can anyone explain

Posts: 70 | From: Rome | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 01-25-2006 11:28 AM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gilbert is right, the issue is a new concrete batch and not the old ones.
The questions are:
1. Is there gonna be a new concrete batch in EIN ALHANOOT?
2. How is EIN ALHANOOT zoned?

The reason for my questions is simple: Last time I visited Shweir (2002), a lot of my friends asked me to look into Ein Alhanoot if I was willing to build a house in Shweir. A lot of them were planning to do the same. Answering those questions will make a difference for someone who decides to live in Ein Alhanoot between:
1. Spending the rest of his life in a clean residential area OR
2. Spending the rest of his life next to concrete batches or other polluting sources.

Posts: 889 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 327

posted 01-25-2006 02:40 PM      Profile for Anwar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Knowledge, open communication and an open mind are the best means to making our communities, surroundings and town a better place.

We need to be mindful that the municipality does not have a lot of money to fix all problems for the simple facts that there is no real estate property taxes like there is in other countries. I have seen the few muni workers who work hard did multi tasking. They try to do their best w/limited resources they got.

On the other hand, it is critical that major items are addressed in the proper sense, a sound and progressive policy is adopted with a master plan for the short and long term of the success of the community.

Also, we appreciate Dr. Ghosn comment "We are ready to answer any Question that may come to your minds concerning tangible issues." We are happy to see the Baladieh welcomes input from the public. If I may make a suggestion here: For any one who wish to bring an issue, please state the facts and please do not make any accusations that does not have solid foundation. Instead of accusation, please ask to learn more about the subject.

By keeping the public informed about tangible issues, it minimizes questions being raised like those on the BB now or others from jumping to wrong conclusions or making false assumptions.

IT would be helpful for Baladieh to address the questions posted above and also update us about the extent of correction made to correct the pollution as depicted in the pictures on the "Environment" web page: http://www.shweir.com/environment.htm and what remain to be done to correct these problems and by what timetable?

At least we agree on one thing. That is everyone who cares to take the time to post on this BB topic is acting in the best interest of Shweir. The key is to learn more about the challenges and pool our knowledge and resources to come up with the best solution.

Let us cooperate to achieve our mutual objective by helping and being respectful of one another.

Since this topic is part of the critical infra structure for the success of any community, we trust that it would take top priority to be corrected as soon as possible. Inshallah.

Posts: 61 | From: San Francisco, California | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Member # 327

posted 01-27-2006 03:16 PM      Profile for Anwar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I received communications, from people who read the BB but do not post, expressing concerns about the lack of zoning and lack of stronger measures to protect the environment.

My comments were directed in general to those who post critical information and at times may make inflammatory accusations before checking all the facts.

For example, when a phantom person claims that a plant causing damage to the environment is operating without a license yet the mayor says it is licensed, it makes the readers wonder about the merit of the rest of that phantom's statements. In the meantime, many caring people become concerned and take up their valuable time to comment.

We prefer to give people on either side the benefit of the doubt and the opportunity to respond.

Even if an establishment is licensed, if it causes damage to the environment and to the community, that could be a violation of their license. If the owners are outstanding citizens and care about their community, we expect that they would be the first people to take the initiative to make what ever correction necessary and not put their profits ahead of adversely affecting or destroying their own community. If owners fail to do the responsible and proper measures to minimize damage to the environment, then, the people of the town would expect their elected officials to step in and exercise their vested powers in the best interest of the community. That, in my humble opinion, is a simplistic version of how a progressive community would address this issue.

Now, many questions have been raised on this important topic and it is prudent for us to get factual answers to make as best of informed decisions.

We welcome to hear back from those who started this topic, from the Baladieh and from anyone who is familiar with this issue. For those who are not tech savvy to post on the BB or prefer to remain anonymous but wish to share valuable information, you can send an email to me to the following email : anwar2 (at) shweir (dot) com [email written in code to avoid spam you just have to replace the ( ) with the appropriate symbol and delete blank spaces].

Again, my earlier post still applies to anyone who wish to write to please state facts as clearly and completely as possible for the readers to understand, send photos where possible and please refrain from writing about hearsay, mere suspicions or accusations.

If you believe that this is a very important issue and if you agree with the above approach to act in the best interest of the community, then we should be able to communicate the facts in a positive sense devoid of arguments.

Lets see how well we do.

Posts: 61 | From: San Francisco, California | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 02-01-2006 11:24 AM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
All of a sudden, the problem disappeared. Isn't it amazing how problems in Shweir get solved by themselves?

I would still appreciate to know how this part of Shweir is zoned.

Posts: 889 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 327

posted 02-03-2006 07:36 PM      Profile for Anwar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
First of all, I would like to thank Ghassan Zghaib for copying the entire BB as an insurance that in the event we transfer our web to a new web host, we would not lose the data.

Yes, Ghassan, I would like to believe that the problem has disappeared. I do not know who Wled el Daya3 are and what the reason is for their lack of response. Perhaps they are not internet savvy or would rather not get involved further. There are related pictures posted on http://www.shweir.com/environment.htm Although these pictures do not directly show the plant or expansion of a plant, they show the affect of stone cutting and/or cement operation on our tiny river. They also show a serious waste water problem. I sincerely hope that these important items have been resolved or corrected. An explanation should be in order.

Dr. Ghosn stated in item #3 of his response:
The Municipality Council has been working on this special issue since so many years dealing with the owners of these institutions to ameliorate their situation into a better one and clearing the main road around them; planting trees, stopping any pollution that could be caused. In this field the council was successful in ameliorating the situation to a better one. The Council is still working very efficiently on this subject and the last meeting was held especially for dealing with this issue in an exceptional meeting on Friday 20th, instant.

It would be helpful for Baladieh or Dr. Ghosn to educate us about the progress and extent of correction that has been made to correct the pollution as depicted in the pictures on the "Environment" web page
and what remain to be done to correct these problems and by what timetable?

Posts: 61 | From: San Francisco, California | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Member # 136

posted 02-06-2006 05:17 AM      Profile for municipality        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Addendum to the Shweir Municipality official statement passed on 01/24/2006
Ain EL Hanout Topic

To answer the concern of several members of shweir.com concerning Ain EL Hanout topic, as additional information to what we have already given you as explanation, we add the following:

1) With respect to the Zoning (Planning of Ain EL Hanout Area), the Municipal council has been working hard since so many years and was successful lately that most of the Ain EL Hanout area has been classified as an area of Villas.
2) The zoning for all Shweir Municipality area has been worked on also for several years with the concerned official governmental institutions and we nearly reached to a final point of classifying most of the municipal area and still discussions are being carried on concerning the green area that we hope we will be able to finalize it in the coming few months .
3) Concerning the municipal authority in general, Lebanon follows a centralized authority ; i.e. that most of the resolutions adopted by the municipal council will have to be approved by the Central Government mainly the Ministry of Interior , while in the United states the municipalities experience a decentralized administration , that is the resolutions a municipal council adopts will be executed without ratification of higher authority.
4) We have to keep in mind that in Lebanon the basic laws originate from the Napoleonic Law system while in the United as well as in most of the Anglo Saxon Countries follow the Common Law system which gives them the authority of executing their decisions without having to refer to higher authorities.
5) Concerning the concrete batching plant that you are referring to, owned by Mr Assad Abou Saab, it is the same plant we referred to and that has been licensed since around 20 years ago; the Municipal council has formed a bi-committee of the council to investigate the whole thing with the ministry of industry to be sure that the license covers the addition which is now being added to the existing plant and report to the council if the this corresponds to the license they already have on hand or not . As soon as the committee submits its reports, we will transmit it to you as soon as it is on hand.
6) Finally, in case there are still any questions to all concerned , kindly address them directly to Shweir municipality on (shwair@idm.net.lb) and we will be happy to answer you as quickly as possible.

Sincerely yours,
President of shweir municipality
Dr. Nabil Ghosn

N.B. referring to the issue of the owners of the two factories in Ain El hanout we have to State that Mr. Simon Baaklini as well as Rabih Abou Samra are both also elected as members of the municipal council of shweir.

[ 02-08-2006, 12:57 AM: Message edited by: municipality ]

Posts: 35 | From: shweir | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Member # 10

posted 02-06-2006 11:21 AM      Profile for GhassanZghaib     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you very much Dr. Nabil. I appreciate your concern and your reply.
Posts: 889 | From: Laval, Quebec, Canada | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 327

posted 02-07-2006 06:27 PM      Profile for Anwar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks Dr. Ghosn for your reply.
It would be helpful to share with us periodic updates on the status of important subjects affecting Shweir.

Posts: 61 | From: San Francisco, California | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Member # 353

posted 02-28-2006 08:25 AM      Profile for Overpeace     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To: All who love their DAY3A and dream to retire in Shweir some time.

After visiting the Shweir.com site and reading about the Ain Al Hanoot Misery, and being a fanatic for protecting the beauty of our beloved village I would like to stay anonymous in order to help in sharing ideas and opinions about this subject.
After talking by phone to few WLAD EL DAYA I was satisfied to see that the municipality headed by Dr. Nabil Ghoson was handling the issue of the newly erected Batching Plant in poor Ain Al Hanoot area satisfactorily.
An urgent council meeting was summoned and resulted in stopping the works in the newly erected Batch Plant and formed a sub committee from council members to follow up on the legal matter of this plant.
I was satisfied and content that things were back in the hands of our trustworthy municipality headed by Dr. Nabil Ghoson.
Presently after going through the mail I feel things are going out of control again and would like to call on all friends to help investigate the legality of this matter.
The subcommittee of council of members formed for investigation found out that the license of Mr. Assad Abou Saab 1992 does not mention anything about a Central Batch Plant nor has been modified or updated to in corporate a 1997 model 100m³ per hour plant.
This plant has been erected in Nov and Dec 2005 without any permission from the municipality, at the time when a stationary steel car park shed or a “Thaknat Karmid” on a roof requires permission and a license from the Municipality.
Sorry Dr. Nabil but we do not agree with Item 5 of your 02/06/2006 mail that Mr. Abu Saab has a valid license. His license dose not allows the erection of a Central Batch Plant.
In order to obtain a license for erection of a Batch Plant one requires to meet the following conditions at least:-

1. Public notice by Shweir Municipality to all Shweries on the bulletin board for one month, for objection if any prior to issuing a license.(not done)
2. Approval from the Ministry of Environment (not done).
3. Proposal for disposing of the plants residue or cement water in order not to pollute rivers or underground water reservoirs. Underground collection tanks are a must and are not available yet.(Not done)
4. Proposal for stopping Cement Puffs or Cement Clouds puffing from the top of the Silos when pumping bulk cement into the silos.(not done)
5. A minimum of 1 Kilometer radius around the proposed Batch Plant not to have any School, Hospital, Public Buildings and Natural Wells, Natural water ravines. The public school of Sheweir and the future proposed area for the collection of public schools for Metn Al Shemali is approximately 300m away and over 7 Sheweiri families live permanently within a 100-250m range of the plant. They all are complaining and some have already filed suites. Poor Mrs Rida Hammam, who is the prime element behind the establishment of the Shweir Public School in Ain Al Hanoot, and wish God gives her health to continue her thankful efforts to get the Collective School Plan for Metn Al Chemali to Ain Al Hanoot. Wasn’t Sheweir 120 years ago the only and leading education center for All High Metin villages and the source of education for many Sheweiries who proved great men and leaders during the last 80 years?
Ya Ibn Al Balad, don’t you think Ain Al Hanoot main street, should carry the name of Mrs. Rida Hammam???(New issue)
6. This new Batch Plant with out put of 100m³ per hour requires heavy duty transportation of 800m³/day of concrete out of the plant, and another 800m³/day of aggregate/sand/cement/water into the plant. Is this what we want YaIbn Al Daya for our calm village.
7. Are our simple roads designed to handle such frequent heavy loads? Let the all WLAD EL DAYA vote on this issue.

8. The zoning plan Dr. Nabil you are mentioning calls for the expansion of Shweir in the direction of sunny Ain Al Hanoot and definitely do not allow any new polluting plants.
9. How nice the view of El Khenshara village from Sheweir, all stone/ Red roof houses/Deir Mar Yoohanna and no concrete plants nor stone cutting factory polluting all the surrounds. Conversely how ugly Ein Al Hanoot looks from El Khinshara and the surrounding. Do you know that the Baaklini stone cutting factory has changed the surrounding environment around it with huge rocks/debris or white colored rivers and can be seen from outer space. Just look at the Satellite Photo of our beloved Sheweir hanging on the wall in the upper floor of the Baladiyah.
10. The authority that issues and studies the new zoning of our beloved Sheweir is the Supreme Council of Urban Planning. This same council has to receive the application for such plants and has to approve such plants. We kindly request Dr.Nabil to forward Abu Saab’s application to this council.
In view of the above we respect all official decisions and licenses for the Abou Saab Batch Plant, and ask Dr. Nabil whom we respect and honor for serving Shweir for the last approximately 35 plus years to scan and E-mail us the new license allowing the erection of the Batch Plant.
Dr.Nabil, with all due respect to you, to your deputy Mr. Naeem Sawaya and to all council members, I like to suggest that you involve Mr. Naeem Sawaya with such committees and difficult issues. It is true that there is an internal agreement that Mr. Naeem will take over the presidency at mid term. Is this in accordance with Municipal laws and jurisdiction?
We appreciate all Ibn Al Daya’s suggestions and opinions and constructive proposals to keep our Shweir beautiful and peaceful, attracting us to come back and retire there.

Posts: 1 | From: usa | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Gabi Ataya
Member # 72

posted 02-28-2006 10:19 PM      Profile for Gabi Ataya     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
who is right and who is wrong on this issue?

are the processes listed, the correct formalities that are required? If so were they adhered to or not?

Just a point to note : It would be better if you used your real name on the bulletin board when making accusations. Kind of gives a bit more weight to what is said if you put your name next to something. It shows you are not hiding anything.

Posts: 310 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 327

posted 03-04-2006 12:08 AM      Profile for Anwar   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Gabi, it is sad that the scars of war and, at times, dirty politics in Lebanon has made it difficult for caring people to speak freely due to potential reprisal. The cost and ramification can be dear to some, especially those who have businesses or much to lose. That is not only measured by money. It can lead to physical harm or worse as we have read in many recent headlines. Perhaps that helps explain why some people are reluctant to give their real name when they address a controversial issue with authorities.
* (See below about my scars of having to deal with similar infrastructure challenges, red tape and dirty politics).

I sincerely hope that our town can and will rise above all this. I would like to see this dialogue as an opportunity to demonstrate how we can discuss important matters in a positive sense even when disagreements exist.

ItT is healthy to have divergent points of view so long as the leadership takes as much valuable information from all sides and make decisions that are in the best interest of the town and its people.

Town folks look up to and respect their leaders. The future success of the town depends the younger generation, some of whom are students at various institutions. They learn from their elders, mentors, teachers and leaders.

It is incumbent upon us to make sure that the younger generation is well prepared and educated by real life examples to be most effective and successful future leaders.

This topic can be a valuable and real life case study. The post by "OverPeace" appears to be informative, providing relevant details, quoting procedures and guidelines that non of us were aware of before. Furthermore he addressed the issues without accusations and in a respectful way.

The town and its people would benefit greatly when they are informed about the guidelines to do certain tasks or the proper procedure to get a permit for specific objective.

This topic covers many important and critical issues affecting the town. From zoning to environment, pollution, road traffic, capacity limitations, guidelines for permits, potential violations of license, affect of pollution from factories in another adjacent town, proper notice to residents, (especially those within a certain affected radius), potential water supply source,

It would be educational and helpful, especially to those of us who are not as well informed about these issues, for Dr. Ghosn or someone knowledgeable from Municipality to enlighten us about these important issues.
If the Municipality disagrees with "Overpeace"'s statements, please educate us and tell us the official version, guidelines or rules, whether all guidelines were satisfied and how they apply to help solve the challenges and issues we face now.

It would be wonderful to witness what we hope to be a progressive democratic and educational process in action.

By the way, is there any update about clearing the blockage of the sewer line, fixing the waste water treatment facility and the possibility of creating a lake or reservoir from the treated water. Actually I am excited about the possibility of having year round water supply that can support a large reservoir of water It would be so nice and a welcome sight.

I have received many communications expressing concerns about a new project that just broke ground in Ain el Hanout to build a plastic manufacturing plant. People are wondering that while Dr. Ghosn is saying that Ain el Hanout is zoned for villas, so how come heavy industrial and manufacturing entities are expanding and allowed to build new plants there?
(Please do not shoot the messenger. I am merely conveying what many people have asked and they like to get answers that perhaps they are uncomfortable asking in person).

* By the way, dirty politics does not exist only in Lebanon, it is throughout the world. Here in California, USA, I bear the scars of dirty politics that cost me millions of dollars when I was trying to develop a project for about 700 homes on an area that was over three thousand 3000 acres, that is as big as all of Shweir and Ain el Hanout. It had about 18 lakes, , surrounded a country club and golf course and had three miles of river front. (No, I am not trying to impress anyone. These are facts. In short, because of the challenges I faced, I walked away from the project to preserve my health and peace of mind). So I spent ten 10 years of my life and countless sleepless nites in an effort to deal with basic critical issues such as infrastructure, zoning, politics, permits, licenses, roads, water, waste water, water reclamation, neighbors, red tape, engineers, lawyers, land planners, 5, 10 and 20 years master plans, master plan amendments, environmental studies, etc.

Yes, I learned a lot in the process at a very dear cost. Actually, I still have books of generic waste water plants that can be constructed just about anywhere, even in the basement of a hotel. As such, waste water facility does not have to further scar the landscape and be an eyesore. To the contrary, it can be used to enhance the landscape around it.

Please forgive me for this lengthy post. As best as I can describe my experience, it was an expensive learning process. God how I wished that I learned some of this critical information early on or when I was in school. This topic that we are expressing today would have been a great help. Perhaps that is why I am taking some extra time to share with you what I learned the hard way. Perhaps some of this knowledge can help avoid some of the mistakes and pitfalls that I had gone through and point the way to some of the beneficial and helpful methods. I have a couple of books about the generic designs to build waste water treatment plants. I will be happy to donate them to the Library, just in case they can be of use, even as a reference. I am sure we have plenty of bright engineers and can find current data on the net. Still, it would be helpful to cross reference with thesse designs and benefit from past practical experience.

If my past experience can help shape up a better master plan or a better approach to some of the challenges at hand, I am prepared to volunteer my time and meet or communicate with the designated person(s) handling these issues.

Posts: 61 | From: San Francisco, California | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged


Author Topic: www.shweir.zoomshare.com Explains it all.
Member # 353

posted 03-19-2006 11:09 AM      Profile for Overpeace     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
(to see the pictures go to this address)
The pictures that you will see, however shocking and dismaying, reflect a small portion not only of the BARBARIC CRIME but also of THE HYENOUS one that was done to the environment in Shweir.Why?Because those pictures are taken in the winter time where trees have no leaves. If the same pictures were taken in the spring season, you will see the trees covered with a film of white powder and that sheet of powder covers vast area. Before we go far .Please observe:
1- How close the school (to the left) is to the factories.
2- See how beautiful ALKHONSHARAH looks from this side and how ugly EIN ALHANOOT has become as a consequence.
3- See one house under construction behind the batching plant.
4- Other six houses within a close range are not shown in the pictures.
(to see the pictures go to this address)
We will however comment on the response of the BALADIYYEH soon.Viva for the web of SHWEIR.com believe it or not. You did it guys.
(to see the pictures go to this address)

Posts: 9 | From: usa | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Abu Jihad
Member # 90

posted 03-19-2006 01:20 PM      Profile for Abu Jihad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Posts: 1238 | From: Wash. DC area | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Gabi Ataya
Member # 72

posted 03-20-2006 01:20 AM      Profile for Gabi Ataya     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
bugger! that looks like a real mess.
Posts: 319 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 3

posted 03-20-2006 12:28 PM      Profile for Shweir   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A message to overpeace and to some of those who communicated to us outside of the BB:

Thanks to those who in good faith made the effort to take actions in the best interest of the town. However, we would not be true to ourselves if do not express our disappointed for the following reasons:

1. The tone of this post and message invite conflict rather than cooperation. There is no need to use strong & negative words such as BARBARIC and HEYNOUS especailly when things now are moving in a positive direction and the Municipality just taken proper action to correct or stop the cement expansion. Granted that there are other issues that are as important to tackle. Much more can be achieved when they are presented in a factual and educational manner without emotional and accusatory tones.

2. The address of www.shweir.zoomshare.com is NOT associated in any way with Shweir.com. We feel that before you use such an address for the pictures, you make such disclosure to avoid the perception of wrong and apparent association and confusion.

3. Overpeace, you posted the same duplicate message twice. When we deleted it, you reposted that same message again. There is no point for adding the same message twice. It will add to confusion. As such, we deleted it again.

The pictures you posted on the above link are helpful for people to understand the significance of the issues raised. However, with all due respect, the accompanying text diminishes the intended objective because most people tend to shy away from inflamatory accusations that lead to conflict.

Your first post was presented in a respectful, informative way and provided helpful data & engineering specifications. It got the attention it deserved. Let us continue in that same spirit.

Please note that we volunteer our time to help build bridges and whereever we can to help find solutions to conflicts or potential conflicts.
We would rather not take sides. We prefer to find ways to bring opposing sides to a middle grounds and to work cooperatively together in the best interest of the town.

Perhaps the best analogy we can offer to appeal for as many to work as a team is to imagine the people of Shweir are in a row boat. We must row as a united team in the same direction. That way, the boat reaches its destination the fastest. When or if there are more than one team, the divisive teams would most likely row in different directions and may not reach their destination. In order to make that team united and strong, its members have to make concessions and let go of their individual egos, yes, we all have them to one extent or another... and look at the bigger picture of how the town will benefit when we reach our goals or destination.

Posts: 17 | From: Shweir, Lebanon | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 335

posted 03-20-2006 01:53 PM      Profile for Nmatar     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well said ya Anwar,
Shweir.com was established to create bridge among all Shweirieh and their friends. This web site is not for settling score nor is for promoting personal or political gains. We would appreciate if every one sticks to the mission statement. I don’t think our web master mind publish information that benefit our town because after all Shweir and its people always comes first. But when this information gets demeaning to individuals then it will defeat its purpose.
I support posting issues that harm our town but in the same talking we aught to debate it in a professional way. I think the issue was raised and the mayor agreed with him or not have answered the concerns in a professional manner. If some of you don’t agree with his answers I suggest you need to address this issue face to face this way it will be more affective. There are many good things happened to our town so let’s not get one issue ruining the image of this wonderful town. We Shweirieh are much better than that.

Posts: 16 | From: Groves, Texas | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged
Member # 353

posted 03-23-2006 01:24 AM      Profile for Overpeace     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Submission of Apology

The works "Barbaric" and "Heinous" describing the Ein Al-Hanout misery seems to be harsh. We therefore apologize and we take them back. Further, I clarify that the said words are not addressed to any person and have no "political" goal and this is not an issue of "scoring", It is rather an issue of bad scars left on the face and body of our beloved town.

The harsh words came out of pain and sadness as well as anger about the scale of havoc that was caused to the environment. Those who criticized our words we thank them but the main issue of Ein Al-Hanout misery awaits your response. Please accept my apology.

Posts: 9 | From: usa | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Abu Jihad
Member # 90

posted 03-23-2006 08:38 AM      Profile for Abu Jihad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I really do not see any problem with using the words "barbaric" and "heinous" when they describe ACTIONS and NOT persons. One can attack ideas, actions, opinions, but again, NOT people.
In all fairness to Overpeace, and from reading his post, he did not attack anybody, but rather the action taken on the helpless environment.

Lebanon's environment in just about every village or hamlet was badly disfigured and mutilated during war times when lawlessness ruled. Hundreds of rock quarries (Kissarat) have mangled beautiful, forested mountains--even continues today. No wonder people such as Overpeace and others react with disgust the way they do. If more people like him could speak up, and every village can at least protect its own environment, then all of Lebanon's environment can collectively survive--or what remains of it.

Posts: 1238 | From: Wash. DC area | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
Member # 3

posted 03-23-2006 06:02 PM      Profile for Shweir   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thank you all for your feedback.

Sometimes, we interpret the same text differently, depending on our frame of mind at the time and other extraneous issues or distraction of each individual.

As long as we keep an open mind, we can learn from one another for mutual benefit even when at times we may differ or even disagree. I must admit that I felt uncomfortable with these strong words especially when they were coupled with the writer's intent to respond to the Baladiyyeh and congratulatory reference that "you did it".

We did not in any way want to give the slightest misconception that there we favor one camp or entity VS another. Rather we wanted to stress Unity.

Nabil and Abu Jihad, thank you for your feedback and insights. Overpeace, thank you for your explanation. We accept your apology. At the same token, we offer our apology for the times we misinterpert and/or over react about an issue.

please keep in mind that on some of these important issues, we get much communications from people asking us to post their messages. Many of these requests are by people who wish to remain annonymous. The pressure mounts especially when we choose not to post or if we decide to post, edit some to minimize conflict. At times, such pressure is released when it is triggered by one more issue.

What is important is that we focus on the main goal. That is the best interest of Shweir.

Let us look at the positive side.

The Municipality has taken corrective measures about the expansion of the cement plant.
[see updated Environment page that has copies of five (5) Resolutions in thumb nail form].

We need to be supportive and understanding in the Municipality's continued such efforts to ameliorate and similarly respond to the other issues raised.

As a result of other "behind the scenes" communications, we learned that Shweir has no short or long term Master Plan (MP). So, how do we take corrective measure here? I was touched by a comment made by the person who provided such background information, Habib Khalil Moujaes, when he wrote:
“Our centralized government system leaves you no room to dream.”
WEll, we sent an email to some key persons about forming a much needed Master Plan to address the infra structure and basic needs of the town. Within two days, all responses had been very supportive and enthusiastic. One person allocated $5000 towards such project. Most respondents volunteered their time and expertise and where needed they are prepared to contribue.

Yes, we want the people of Shweir to dream of a better tomorrow. To have a renewed hope of the future of Shweir and to be part of the process.

A task force is being formed to create a dynamic MP that will address Shweir trasformation over the next 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Ideally, the task force will be comprised of Municipality, some of the brightest engineers, business leaders, and visionaries and it will seek the input and comments from the brightest mind to ordinary resident.

I guess now I am digressing into another topic. In summary, thank you for your input, positive communications adn concern about Shweir and its environment.

Dare to dream of a brighter and more beautiful tomorrow for Shweir.

Posts: 17 | From: Shweir, Lebanon | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 353

posted 03-26-2006 12:46 AM      Profile for Overpeace     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is an evaluation of the BALADIEH response on the issue of the EIN ALHANOUT MISERY. This evaluation meant to be a professional approach to a very fundamental topic. It is not meant to throw the blame or the responsibility on any single person. We are not to judge. We all are responsible. This evaluation is not meant to crucify those who make mistakes.” HE WHO HAS NO SINS LET HIM CAST THE FIRST STONE” and also “HE WHO DOES NOTHING DOES NO MISTAKES”. This review is meant to upgrade our discussion and be as professional and critical as much as necessary without losing the spirit of love and the common good and be as much loving and polite without having to compromise the call of duty of having to warn about wrong doings inflicted on the environment. Nothing is personal.

I read the letter of the president of the SHWEIR and Ain Al Sindyani municipality Dr. Nabil Ghoson on the AIN ALHANOOT issue. Based on the municipality information it is very important to know that EIN ALHANOOT is already zoned as a residential villas type of area. So there is no need to think that it is still on an old industrial area.

The problem is not in zoning but in OBSERVING the law and enforcing the law as well as respecting the will and interest of our beloved town. It is second to impossible to cause a fraction of the mess and pollution that has been done to EIN ALHANOOT if there were an objection by the municipality. My proof of that is Dr. Ghosons statement that when he “TOOK THE DECISION TO STOP (MR. ABOU SAAB) WORKING-“he was able to . I strongly believe that the scale and magnitude of pollution and environmental anarchy and havoc that was done to that area are beyond any acceptable limits. But in order to be fair and maintain neutrality let the foundation delegate an engineer(s) and I nominate Mr. George Matar, Mr. Jamil Bou Saab and / or others and let them make a full report about the subject. With all due respect to Dr. Ghonson’s response on the subject matter the response suffers from logical incoherence; he states: “THIS PLANT HAS BEEN LICENSED BY THE MOHAFEZ ……..IN 1983”. He continues his response and states “I TOOK A DECISION TO STOP WORKING IN IT UNTIL THEY BRING AN OFFICIAL CERTICATE FROM THE MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY WHO ARE NOW THE MINISTRY RESPONSIBLE FOR INDUSTRIAL PLANTS STATING VERY CLEARLY THAT THE ADDITION THEY ARE MAKING AT THE MOMENT IS A PART OF THE PLANT THEY HAVE BEEN LICENSED LONG AGO. OTHERWISE THEY WILL HAVE TO STOP WITH THE ADDITION AND REMOVE WHAT THEY HAVE DONE”

1---WHAT Dr. Ghoson is saying in his last statement is that the license that the guy had since 1983 is not good or not sufficient at all because “NOW” the ministry of industry is the “MINISTRY RESPONSIBLE” and not the MOHAFEZ. HIS second statement undermined his first and in essence he is saying that the license they have or had is not viable or plausible or the least not valid. Needless to say the school was licensed in 1973.

2---Dr. Ghoson continues his response to say. “LET EVERY BODY BE AT EASE THAT THIS SAME SECTOR WILL NEVER HAVE NEITHER NOW NOR IN THE FUTURE ANYMORE INDUSTRIAL PLANTS OR ANYTHING THAT COULD SPOIL THE AREA WHICH IS DESIGNATED FOR ONLY VILLAS”. We are very confused with the said statement when we have been seeing and see “NOW” all those industrial pollutants and we read “----WILL NEVER HAVE NEITHER NOW NOR---“. That is a very daring statement.

3---Dr. Ghonson says in his response that the area is “DESIGNATED FOR ONLY VILLAS”. Having said that wasn’t that enough basis to “STOP” the guy right there and then since “ONLY VILLAS” can be built there and that could have ended and concluded all that pisode and saved the environment and the town all that pollution and could have cut short all other curbing attempts?”. ONLY VISAS”. It is crystal clear. We have been since day one been taught that ALBALAGATO FI AL-IJAZ and also KHEIRO AL-KALAM MA KALL AWA DALLA? and also the famous saying “DO THE CASTING BEFORE IT GETS BROKEN”. Why did we have to let it aggravate?

4---We further ask Dr. Ghoson :when he granted another person, Baaklini stone cutting factory, a license to extend his building adjacent to the factory, for the purpose of the factory, and to promote factory – related works, did that conform and comply with the requirements of “ONLY VILLAS”?

5---When Mr. Baaklini extended the activities of his licensed factory to include many other areas outside the premises of his license by far and large --- all under the supervision of the BALADIEH, did that also conform and comply with the law of “ONLY VILLAS”?

6---Knowing all that and empowered by all those authorities why now and not earlier did we not tell Mr.Abou Saab not even to entertain the idea of installing a batch plant in an area “DESIGNATED FOR ONLY VILLAS”?

7---Mr. Abou Saad could say, in fact he is saying, that the municipality knew what he was doing all along and that no body warned him not to and that he thought the municipality liked what he was doing and when he was told to `STOP’ it was too late for him and that he had already incurred a lot of expenses. Of course we can reply him with “IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE”. But that would be harsh and rude and we are to take the blame and the responsibility because we had the chance, the power and the knowledge to save him before falling in this stalemate.

8---However welcome is the “positive side” of stopping the violator, this should not be “the end, not even the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning” (CHURCHIL) can we finish this task in favor of man and the environment?

Those are just few points that I wanted to share with other intended shweirieh guys on the Ein Al Hanoot Misery.

Posts: 9 | From: usa | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Wadih Abdel Ahad
Member # 228

posted 03-26-2006 02:25 AM      Profile for Wadih Abdel Ahad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Best wishes to all,
Overpeace your post pushed me to comment on this issue, it seems you’re a professional person aware of what is happening in our Ain El Hannout, I fully understand your position but I blame you for being under covered and writing through a nick name.
My friend Ain el hannout is about politics and interests conflict! As I heard it seems that Mr. Abou Saab will be competing another factory in the surrounding area and that’s what pushed this environmental prob to the front.
Hope you will always have this motivation and keep on it even if you face the “ Félij ma T3élij” Situation of our lovely Shweir.


Posts: 47 | From: Shweir | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
George J. Moujaes
Member # 120

posted 03-29-2006 02:35 AM      Profile for George J. Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unique in its natural setting of gentle slopes and perfect east orientation, Ain El Hanoot, was an area out in the boon docks with a central slaughterhouse and a garbage dump down the road and of course a redundant chicken farm. Those were the days of the 50’s and 60’s in which this remote and esteem setting, encouraged the owner of the stone factory to build a modest facility for cutting stone veneer. Well, things have changed, the modest stone facility is not modest anymore, the slaughterhouse closed, and the garbage dump has been removed. Over the years, this area has attracted more factories, a better road, a school and recently some houses that have been mushrooming on the western side of the road. Specifically in that order. Definitely, this area has changed dramatically, whether for better or for worse is anybody’s guess.Put this description to a 10 year old kid and ask him/her to label this area and the answer will be: you must be kidding.
Whatever the case may be, no one can deny the fact that Ain el Hanoot lives up to that old commercial :You’ve come a long way baby. This area which has been recently creating more havoc than any other area in Dhour and Shweir and is taking center stage as if everything else is rosy and we have a slight problem in the horizon that has to deal with environmental issues, and specifically in that location, is not getting to the core of the problem in order to resolve town and community problems. Of course, we have to agree, that the shortage of land for construction in Dhour and Shweir puts Ain el Hanoot as a prime location for future development. Nevertheless, this is not issue at hand, or is it?
We all want this area to be a sheer paradise, but without a crucial action plan that will include time, budget and an ultimate goal about what this area has to be let’s say 5,10 years from now or forever, will keep the problem unresolved, probably for the next century. Such environmental sagas exist all over the world; and it is for a fact that the pollution from those factories does not match and it is not worse than the black stuff down the adjacent river, not defending the factories but solving one problem and leaving another, will keep this area in a severe crippling situation.
In this regard, two major issues have to be resolved, the wastewater and the factories. The wastewater needs a treatment plant for not less than $ 250.000.- to 300.000.- and this is from the mouth of an expert who has visited the place and estimated the cost of building a plant sufficient enough for Dhour, Shweir and Ain Sindyaneh, the size is based on the number of inhabitants in these towns with the possibility of future expansion. What ever exists of concrete walls need to be demolished. This was brought up two years ago, Could this figure be optimized, probably, but this has to be based on the latest design of a complete plant, that will produce clean water for at least irrigation purposes. This leaves the issue of rehabilitating the existing sewerage network, which requires an additional sum that has to be calculated once door to door survey is done, first to see how many houses are still on septic tanks in addition to a complete and thorough checkup of the existing network. The other issue is the factories that have been creating so many problems to friends of the environment. Two options, relocate those factories, and this is a very expensive task that will take ages to execute, or the second option, and that is to confine those factories within an industrial park. This has been tested in other areas of the world and has proven to be cost and time effective.The TOR for an industrial park to suit this situation could be drafted within a reasonable time in conjunction with a down to earth master plan that could resolve such issue for a long time to come. The factories will be engaged in implementing this plan and they have to pitch in as well.
It’s true that the environment is a crucial issue that has to be taken seriously, but one cannot deny the fact that this area, Dhour and Shweir has taken its toll over the past 30 years. Those beautiful pine trees and nice weather was a major asset to this area, probably they still are but definitely not the major one anymore.

Posts: 21 | From: dhour shweir, Lebanon | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Gabi Ataya
Member # 72

posted 03-29-2006 04:19 AM      Profile for Gabi Ataya     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

nice post. Lot of information in it.

Can you email me some details of the current type of sewerage system that the area has in place. Also what would the plant that you propose leave as a byproduct? (i.e. how would it treat waste?)

Is there still a problem in the town where the water cannot be drunk straight from the rock? When I was there in 2003, the water coming out of the rock underneath Father George Bosauders family home in shweir could not be drunk for quite some time as it was contaminated.

Can people drink water from their taps or does that have to have tablets put in it to treat it?

I met someone here in NZ who is interested in the problems in the town in terms of sewerage and also contaminated water supplies. Maybe they would have a good solution for these problems?

Posts: 319 | From: Auckland, New Zealand | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 03-30-2006 07:02 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Shweir is so fortunate to have people like George, Habib and evern the anonymous "Overpeace". All three are very articulate and speak reason. In them and in many others like them there is a well of talent in Shweir that can make things happen.
Posts: 1005 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
George J. Moujaes
Member # 120

posted 03-31-2006 01:53 AM      Profile for George J. Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To Gaby
Regarding tab water in Dhour & Shweir, this is coming from a nearby mountain near an area called Zaarour and channeled through a piping system. It’s clean water but some people avoid it because of the treatment method. Nevertheless, it is clean potable water. As for the natural springs, once a year, the municipality performs a contamination test on all the springs’ water, but this is not the case. As you’re aware, those springs are coming from sources that are within considerable distance from the outlet, in other words it’s a dynamic case, and what this water is collecting on the way is a hard guess, especially with the increase in number of septic tanks. There is nothing wrong with septic tanks if they are built according to standards. Of course there are some fountains like the one on Dahdouh hill, which is still in good condition because it’s on a high leveled area. We do not want to talk about it for too long it might be jinxed. As for the plant, we are talking about a plant that will produce water that is suitable for irrigation, any thing else such as reverse osmosis for such a sizeable plant will increase the cost tremendously.

Posts: 21 | From: dhour shweir, Lebanon | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Waleed Moujaes
Member # 17

posted 03-31-2006 09:42 AM      Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Regarding the sewage system and the wastewater plant:

I wrote about this topic few months ago. The plant is expensive to build and expensive to maintain. Why don't we link our sewage system (Dhour, Shweir and Ain Al Syndiani) with that of Khunshara, Jouwar and other towns from that side, and with Douar, Bikfaya from one side, with Ka3kour, Safsaf, etc from one side and with Zaghreen for Harf-El_Dayr, Dayr Mar Elias etc.

This is a much cheaper project for our town. It needs the cooperation of all municipalities in the area. When all towns work and lobby together, the government thru the World Bank or other sources of funding, could fund one or more bigger waste water plants for the whole Maten area.

The money projected for the plant will be used instead to upgrade the existing sewage system and link all the houses with septic tanks to the system.

I think this is more feasible and practical.


[ 03-31-2006, 09:47 AM: Message edited by: Waleed Moujaes ]

Posts: 385 | From: Columbus, OH | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wadih Abdel Ahad
Member # 228

posted 04-01-2006 01:22 PM      Profile for Wadih Abdel Ahad     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Good point, in fact there is a master plan for the whole region and the UNDP is working on it if I am not wrong.
A system for shweir only will be a waste of time as the upper villages in the region will be polluting if not equipped as well, we should think globally as you did.
Hope the plan will be ready soon.

Posts: 47 | From: Shweir | Registered: May 2004  |  IP: Logged
Member # 353

posted 04-05-2006 12:42 AM      Profile for Overpeace     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Before commenting on Mr.George J Mujaes view on the EIN ALHANOUT misery I must say that a dialogue on this issue and all other issues is a civilized matter and must continue and that is why we believe this window is a necessity. Differing in views could be a healthy phenomena. Dialogue can, many times, bridge gaps.
With great care I read the observations put by Mr.Mujaes. I will stick to the butter of his observations in which he contends “…..the modest stone facility is not modest any more…..” Mr. Mujaes should have asked what made this “modest facility” become “not modest any more”. What else other than ignoring the law rather than observing it made things run out of control and encouraged others to follow the same path? And Mr. Mujaes contends “…..Over the years, this area has attracted more factories…..”
It is the lawlessness that made “this area attracts more factories” at time where there is a designated area zoned for factories. If lawlessness nourishes in “ALSAHAT” it will also attract similar factories. And since you opted to put things in their chronological order “factory”, “ROAD” “school” and “recently houses” please allow us to correct. The slaughter house and garbage dump were closed for the sake of the schooling and Residential aspect, and the school was licensed in 1973, way before any of those “Non modest factories” was even born. Further, the housing is not recent. The Kiami families since the sixties and the families of Kalfayan and Abi Ali since the nineties.
We regret about your statement “Definitely, this area has changed dramatically, whether for better or for worse is anybody’s guess”.
Few lines back you acknowledged the fact that those factories are “NOT MODEST Anymore” and here you leave us in confusion about whether producing Dust powder and Asbestos related material and such the like is a change for “better or for worse”. Are you equating between a public school and a factory? Is the school already built and the next one coming plus all those town houses equal to those factories so as to qualify for the question “…..For better or for worse ? ” May be those factories could be compared to the time of the slaughter house and garbage dump. Then the comparison between two pollutants becomes logical but not between a polluting factory and a school. No for sure the change in terms of the factories is definitely for worse. Then Mr. Mujaes states:
“This area which has been recently creating more havoc than any other area in Dhour and Shweir is taking centre stage as if everything else is rosy…..”
George “That area is not creating “more havoc”. We have created more havoc to that virgin area. NOT observing the law and interest of the new generation in the future of schools and not observing the “ONLY VILLAS” type of zoning, made us rape that environment and rape the future of our generations. Further we do not say “everything else is rosy”. It is less illogical to say “everything else is not rosy”. Anyway “two blacks don’t make a white and two wrongs don’t make a right”. And Anarchy cannot be fought with anarchy. If there are other topics or areas that are also suffering from mistreatment and mishandling and abuse that adds to the misery and does not cancel it out and that should give us more reason and more excuse to stop the lawlessness some where and not to accentuate it and legalize it. It should be an example of a wrong doing that we ought not to follow. It should be considered a mark of disdain in our history to do so much damage to our environment and to our selves. However you come to recognize “that the shortage of land for construction in Dhour and Shweir puts Ain el Hanout as a prime location for future development”. That says it all George. It is a “prime location for future development” “Actually it is the only feasible location for Dhour Shweir future Development.” Further what is a future ?
A future is what we are and where we are going. If we misread the past and the present and mess them up we will have no future. The future is rooted to the past. The better we addressed the past and the better we address the present the better future we will have. And calling upon some of our old proverbs will help” AL-LATHY YAZRAA AL-REEH YAHSUD AL-ASIFAT” He who seeds the wind will reap the tempest. And also remembering my mom’s old saying “YALLI MA BISHOUF L’BAEED BYOKAA KAREEB” He who does not see far falls shortly (near by)”.
The future is partially now. We determine now what, and if, future we will have. We commend your statement “…..we all want this area to be a sheer paradise, but without a crucial action plan…..this will keep the problem unresolved, probably for the next century.” Excellent, Let us be the fuel of such plan and go hand in hand and put an end to this anarchy and resolve it now so that we will not inherit it to our children. Let us not eat the HOSRUM so our children LA YADROSOUN. Had we done it in the past while it was still an infant we would not have had to deal with it now when it has become a monster eating up our environmental beauty and public health and our budget. You may be right that those factories are “…..not worse than the black stuff down the adjacent river…..” until
you say “…..solving one problem and leaving another, will keep this area in a severe crippling situation”. At least you recognize that “…..this area is in severe crippling situation”. And we have no doubt that all of us agree that it is the factories and lawlessness and not the school and the peaceful residential houses put the area in “a severe crippling situation”.
We do feel a little uncomfortable when you state “……the factories that have been creating so many problems to friends of the environment”. The “factories that have been creating so many problems”, create problems “to friends” and to everybody else. Not only the “friends” will suffer from black and white powder in addition to the loss of soil and loss in beauty in addition to the injustice loss of the value of land. You must be well aware of the loss in the value of all the EIN ALHANOUT land properties due to those factories. If nothing else is sufficient to convince those who are in doubt, the 450 pupils health is enough reason to refrain from letting this havoc continue to overrule.
If it is true – we believe it is – that to “relocate those factories” is “a very expensive task that will take ages to execute” then that is an indictment to the logic of going at ease and with light mindedness about issues related to the environment and public interest. Very true, the cost is too high. And it is never too late and “better late than never”. If we don’t stop it now while it is still in the cradle (actually passed that stage) it will follow us and surround our way and the way of the new generation to the coffin.
And the expense later will grow exponentially. The cost now is by far and large much less than if we were to deal with it tomorrow. If this is not convincing let us put the question; Are those polluting factories a fate that we have no control of ? Are we to modify and adapt our life so as to fit with its norms and laws ? Are we to cut our feet to fit our shoes rather than cut our shoes to fit our feet ? Or are we saying the expenses associated with relocation makes us throw it on the shoulders of the coming generation?
In conclusion you state “……. The second option is to confine those factories within an industrial park”. That converges with the view of the Baladiyeh.
George, the proposal has two major mistakes, a moral one and a legal one. The moral one is the entertainment of a wrong doing and environment abuse by accepting it and conforming to its presence, rather than setting an example that wrong doings especially those whose effects grow with time and become extremely expensive to deal with.
The legal mistake is the ease with which we can by pass the civil code and law and you are a well educated person on that and we come to replace the civil law by how to go around it. Going around the law becomes the real norm. “An industrial park” is made in an area zoned, initially, as industrial. The park comes to reduce its effect after all the health pre requisites among others have been verified. But to contain those factories in an industrial park, then the park will eat up almost most of EIN ALHANOUT. Will the chicken and hog farms be within the boundaries of that park ? If not, are we to make another park area for those farms ? True it is that “Other areas of the world…..” have tried that but such areas were built on the right premises before they confined it with plants and greeneries”.
If “Dhour and Shwer has taken its toll over the past 30 years. Those beautiful pine trees and nice weather was a major asset to the area…” as you say; How can you marry this expressive concept to the idea of an Industrial park on a land you classified as “prime location”? as if we are saying If you can’t fight them, join them, God forbids.

The very disturbing problem is that so many abuses against the environment are practically irreversible. So we need to convince the BALADIYEH and help her come up with a plan by which factories are relocated and we must change our course of plantation and greeneries from ebb to Tide.

Posts: 9 | From: usa | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged
Habeeb M. Nacol
Member # 15

posted 04-05-2006 10:10 AM      Profile for Habeeb M. Nacol     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya overpeace,

I really do not think that your argument is with George. Bottom line you and him are in agreement except George is more pragmatic in his approach. Be as it may, you write so eloquently and with passion. It is apparent that you care very much about the future of our city. I really believe that your being anonymous however distracts and hurts your credibility. But I am certain that you have good reason to remain so. This is another shameful thing that we must work on as a society.

One sentence that you wrote really disturbed me. I hope that you are wrong about the emission of asbestos dust into the environment. If that is true, this must be remedied very quickly. I say that because I live in the southeast Texas-- a highly industriallized area with several oil refineries. I know hundreds and hundreds of people who developed asbestosis due to ignorance or to deliberate lack of care on the part of industry. This is a terrible disease that we do not want to become rampant in our town.

I have first hand knowledge of the costs to remove and decontaminate buildings that have asbestos--it is very dangerous and costly work. BUT IT MUST BE DONE! If you are right in your claim, and this must be checked out, the people of Shweir should see it it quickly that this practice is stopped and stopped now.

[ 04-05-2006, 10:42 AM: Message edited by: Habeeb M. Nacol ]

Posts: 1005 | From: Beaumont, Texas, U.S.A. | Registered: Feb 2001  |  IP: Logged
George J. Moujaes
Member # 120

posted 04-05-2006 12:51 PM      Profile for George J. Moujaes     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
To Waleed : Your idea about thinking globally is great.We're ready for any concept that will improve this remedy. The issue about sourcing out funds from UN agencies or world bank is fantastic.For now we'll track UNDP's project for this area on their website www.undp.org.lb. So far nothing, but no problem, time is on our side.
To overpeace, I appreciate your comments, but frankly speaking the area of this thread is getting very close to the area of Ain El Hanout. Although I don't know you, I suggest we continue this by e mail that is if you want to. By the way, cutting stone veneer doesn't emit any asbestos, period.

Posts: 21 | From: dhour shweir, Lebanon | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged




Author Topic: Environment website
Member # 115

posted 03-02-2005 06:58 AM      Profile for Mikhael     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

Hi guys, 
I've been working on this website for a while and shweir.com is first to know.


I wanted to announce it during the month of March 1st as my contribution to my beautiful country. Although I’ve been disappointed and hindered lately due to the current situation and worried that our previous nightmares might be repeated again.

I got the idea and inspiration in designing this website from shweir.com/environment link and its family support throughout these years.
Nabil, George, Anwar, Hilda, Waleed, Walid, Habeeb, Elias and all the rest of you guys encouraged me to start something.

Initially this website was meant for shweir’s environment but then I would sound selfish by ignoring the rest of Lebanon which of course is as dear to me as my beloved home town.

I hope lebenvironment will be welcomed as part of shweir.com family and it would find the support for the welfare and benefit of Lebanon.

Please if you have any comments or suggestion, feel free to inform me http://www.lebenvironment.com/phpbb

The website is still under construction.

4 shweir



message from Michael Sawaya: 
Part of our yearly commitment towards our town is to plant some pine trees during the winter season.  I am looking forward for this day wr we can have as much participation from our usual troopers and Friends to join us in this Effort. We will assign the location based on the need of trees in that area.  I will be visiting Lebanon from Jan 20 to 27 hoping we can meet and organize this planting day.  Please convey the message and tell as much friends as possible.  Thanks

PS: Fady wo Nabil please contact makhzoumi and Ministry of Agriculture for Trees. 
See picture attached & link

Michael Sawaya Documentum Business Analyst  ISSD(IT)/ e-Doc Division  8748017


Pine Trees in Matn in Danger

The Following is a copy of An Nahar online, at the following web page
Thanks to Mike Sawaya for alerting us to this important article

"النهار" السبت 22 أيار 2004

أحراج الصنوبر في المتن الأعلى

تتعرَّض لهجمة جديدة من الاعتداءات

قرنايل - "النهار":

مرة جديدة تشهد احراج الصنوبر في المتن الاعلى اعتداءات فاضحة قد تؤدي الى زيادة خطر التصحر في منطقة تعتبر عنوانا للسياحة والاصطياف في لبنان. وفي هذا السياق، نظمت "جمعية طبيعة بلا حدود" امس، جولة ميدانية في منطقة مطل القمر الصنوبرية في قرنايل - المتن الاعلى، بغية الاطلال على الاعتداءات التي تطول الاحراج، لمصلحة مشروع سكني لا يستوفي الشروط القانونية الموضوعة من التنظيم المدني، وخصوصا لجهة الاستثناءات التي اعطيت الى القيمين على المشروع التي من شأنها ان تغير معالم المنطقة، وجاء تحرك الجمعية بعد ان سمحت وزارة الزراعة وفي شكل مخالف للقانون بقطع عشرات الاشجار لمصلحة انشاء طرق يحتاجها المشروع في سياق تأمين البنى التحتية الاساسية، لا سيما وانه يقوم على ارض مساحتها تتعدى الاربعين الف متر مربع.


بعد الجولة، تحدث رئيس الجمعية المهندس محمود الاحمدية، فقال: "نحن في اجمل غابة صنوبرية موجودة في المتن الاعلى ولبنان، لا سيما في قرنايل المطلة على وادي لامرتين والتي تظللها احراج الصنوبر، وقد تفقدنا الموقع الذي انطلق فيه مشروع عمراني فوق ارض تتعدى مساحتها الاربعين الف متر مربع ضمن منطقة حرجية تعرف باسم "مطل القمر"، تغطيها اشجار الصنوبر التي هي رئة المتن والعاصمة والمناطق المجاورة. وهذا المشروع السكني الذي واجهه ابناء البلدة في خلال اعتصام نفذوه قبل نحو  عام على امتداد هذه المساحة، يعني الفتك باكبر عدد من اشجار الصنوبر التي يفوق عمر الشجرة الواحدة المئة سنة ويتجاوز عمر احداها المئة وخمسين سنة".

اضاف: "في هذا السياق، ثمة سؤال بديهي يطرح: على اي اساس او تبعا لاي معايير سمح بانشاء هذا المشروع؟ وفي ما خص التنظيم المدني اعتقد انه لا يمكن ان يعطي ترخيصا للبناء في منطقة لا يمكن البناء فوقها من دون قطع اشجار، ونعلم انه عام 1996 تم تنظيم دورة لتأهيل عدد اضافي من مأموري الاحراج، ليكون عددهم 200 عنصر بدلا من ،96 والامر الاول المطلوب من مأموري الاحراج هؤلاء، مراقبة ما يحصل على الارض، خصوصا ان الثروة الحرجية تخضع لقانون الغابات الصادر عام ،1949 ولقانون حماية الغابات رقم 558 الصادر في 1/8/،1996 وبموجب هذا القانون تمّ انشاء مصلحة حماية الغابات التابعة لوزارة الزراعة، وتضمن القانون 8 بنود تحدد كل السبل الآيلة الى حماية الغابات والاحراج، بما في ذلك حماية المياه والتربة، والقانون يلحظ منع اقامة المخيمات، وقطع الاشجار، وتناول الطعام في الاحراج، واضرام النار وتغيير المعالم، وهنا نسأل أين نحن من هذه البنود؟ ثمة عقوبات واضحة وقاطعة وصريحة، اذ ان كل مخالفة تراوح عقوبتها من مليون ليرة الى عشرة ملايين، والسجن من شهر الى ستة اشهر، وفي حال قطع الاشجار تراوح العقوبة من ثلاثة اشهر سجن الى ثلاث سنوات، وغرامة 250 الف ليرة تدفع عن كل كيلوغرام من الاشجار المقطوعة، وفي حال التكرار تتضاعف العقوبة ثلاث مرات".

وتابع الاحمدية: "نطلق من قرنايل صرخة الى المعنيين كافة والى وزارتي الزراعة والبيئة، والتنظيم المدني، ونناشدهم التشدّد في تطبيق هذه القوانين وان لا تظل حبرا على ورق، وان لا يكون ثمة "ابناء ست وابناء جارية" بالنسبة الى القانون، اذ ان المفترض ان يكون  الجميع سواسية في هذا المجال، وبالنسبة الى هذا المشروع نتمنى ان يلحظ المسؤولون كل ما يجري على الارض، وكانت لدينا الجرأة ودخلنا الى المشروع والتقينا المهندسين هناك، واكدوا انهم لحظوا اقامة محطتين لتكرير للمياه المبتذلة، وتعهدوا غرس خمس نصوب بدلا من كل شجرة صنوبر، لكن متى ستزرع هذه الاغراس؟ علما ان كل شجرة صنوبر تحتاج الى مئة سنة! هذا السؤال نضعه برسم القيمين على كل هذه المسائل في هذا البلد".

وختم: "ننوّه بوعي ابناء هذه البلدة الذين سبق ونظموا اعتصاما وحركة احتجاج على هذا المشروع بالذات لانه استثني من التصنيف الاخير الذي اعده التنظيم المدني حيال الاستثمار بمعدل 10 و20 في المئة، فيما نسب الاستثمار في هذا المشروع تصل الى 40 في المئة، وقيل لنا ان الاستثناء صدر بموجب مرسوم من مجلس الوزراء الذي نناشده ونناشد المسؤولين كافة العمل سريعا على مواجهة الواقع القائم، لمصلحة المحافظة على معالم هذه البلدة والمنطقة التي يعتبر الصنوبر فيها ثروة سياحية ومناخية".



Hospitality is Legendary for Lebanese People.  We open our homes and hearts to our Guests
It is common courtesy for Guests to respect, improve & protect their Hosts’ domain, property, land & Freedom

 Rumor has it that our “Special Guests”, the Syrian army, are cutting trees and desecrating the environment, possibly some that took hundreds of years to grow.  To quote from our source:  “… they are cutting trees in "Sahlet layla" and we can't stop them.… the problem is, that they bring the diesel from Syria … [but they sell it instead of using it to make extra money] …and the army stay without diesel so they are cutting the trees…” 

 We sincerely hope we are wrong.  However, IF this is correct, we appeal to all higher authorities to correct this problem.  How this is resolved would help classify themselves more so as “Guests” or “Occupiers”.   We would like to think that the Syrian Leadership would take appropriate and timely measures and hope to get a positive response from them.  



Tree planting campaign in 2003
and another scheduled for 2004

-----Original Message-----
From: mike Sawaya     [michael.sawaya @ aramco.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 6:27 AM

I'm excited to visit Lebanon for 10 days... from tomorrow I will be enjoying the stay with my parents and friends.
Although as I mentioned we have another planting campaign;
I know you like to hear this so that's why I'm telling u, inshallah next year you will join us.
I have attached some pictures, I hope you can capture them and
Maybe they will post them on the Shweir.com website.

Yalla Salam2at


Webmaster's note:  Mike, please write a report about the event below and identify as many of the people in the pixs. thanks.



----- Original Message -----
From: michael abouraad
To: anwar@shweir.com
Sent: Friday, August 23, 2002 11:46 AM
Subject: Environment Day

Hi Anwar,

During my short vacation back home I participated in one of the success events that occurred in Shweir - Harf Al Dier- it was called Environment Day on the 14 of July, Sunday. Arranged by a Group of Ladies from Dhour, Leila Nasser Kameis & some other from Dikwaneh Municipality & of course our Scouts, Lebanese Army, Def2a Al Madaneh & some other citizens.

The goal of this event was to clean the bushes besides the road from Antoun Saadeh Home to Harf Al Dier.

Another goal was to promote a team of Environmental scouts to monitor the forest from any treat of fire & promote awareness; the idea was launched by Dikwaneh Municipality with other Municipalities in Maten Area.

The Campaign was good but like other environmental issues it didn’t attract the attention of enough people & the impact on our Shweireh was minimal to the extent that no one even thanked the participants during Eid Al Mougtaribeen.

Well on my Behalf & the Environment club in Shweir we thank all the contributors to this Event & hope for more events in the future.



NB : Some attached pictures taken during this Campaign.


Hello Mike,

Thank you for taking the time to send to me the pictures and thank you and your team and all who participated in the Environment Day.  It is unfortunate that no one thanked the participants during the Festival.
I have learned over the years that we need to express our wishes and expectations in a more direct way...
Our elected officials have had so many issues to deal with.  I know that they care about the Environment and I would bet that had someone alerted them to make an acknowledgement or express a word of appreciation, they would have gladly done so.
The Awards that were presented during the Festival were selected was prepared and decided on about six months prior to the Festival.  So, they had no way of knowing about new projects after the fact.
On behalf of our Shweir.com family, we thank you and your team and all who participated in this noble and worthwhile project.
With best wishes,




Author Topic:   Development of the Ghwab!!!
Waleed Moujaes
posted 11-02-2001 03:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
I was just chatting with our friend George Samaha in Shweir. Our topic was the environment and how we can improve our ghwab. I am sure he discussed this idea with George M, Anwar, Mike, Nabil AK,... Since nobody opened this subject, and we have been discussing some ideas to make money for the last few days, I feel it is the time to open it: "Development of the Ghwab".

The idea is simple, and it depends on the following:

1- Cleaning the Ghwab from all the andool, dead trees and haysh. Those could be crushed and pressed to be used in chimneys.
2- Cut the low oak branches and make charcoal which could be sold.
3- Harvest the pine nuts and sell them (after giving the owners a percentage).
4- Plant various kinds of plants, flowers. Distribute seeds of za3tar, as3een, lawanda,... and any other kind which attract bees. Having lots of bees will help the few existing orchards of apples, cherries,... to produce more fruits.
5- We'll have a great national park with a small investment.
6- We'll protect our ghwab from fires, diseases,... we'll have healthy plants.
7- It will be a good source of income.
8- The ghwab, as you may know or have heard, was full of water springs. Those could be dug again. There are lots of small valleys, and a dam, for example could be built in Ain Al Hanoot). It could be used to store water, and then pump it up to Burj Dahdooh for usage in the dry season of Sep, Oct and Nov.

Obstacles that I think about:

1- Someone in the baladieh counsil should be pro-active and, at least, read thsi article and adopt it.
2- 99% is private land.
Solution: The baladieh is the one who should take the initiative, and be involved legally to have the owner's approval. Whoever is not in Shweir anymore will never ask, and whoever is there, shouldn't have a problem since we will clean their lands, and they will have some pine nuts (if pine trees still exist in their lands).

3- A small investment to buy 2-3 machines for crushing the wood, hiring some labor, hiring a manager.

4- Media campain to explain the advantages.

In few years, the baladieh should lobby the government to buy all this land and transform it into a national park.

Some of you might think I am crazy, or dreaming. I agree, but honestly, and with open hearts, IS IT IMPOSSIBLE???? I personally, don't think so!!!


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posted 11-03-2001 02:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Webmaster     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote

These are great ideas and you are right that in order for such worthwhile ideas to be implemented, we need the support and initiative of of our local municipality and a cohesive plan to keep such plan as an ongoing project...

I would like to add the following suggestion to your list... To add flowers in strategic areas along roads and alleyways and footpaths in Dhour, Shweir and Ain Al Sindyani something hardy that survives the winter snow like regular and trailing geraniums and seasonal or annuals to add color... that way, people can see them, enjoy them and note that there is a fresh look or a transformation taking place...

Along that effort, picking up of discarded rubbish by the roadways and pathways would be tremendous boost to the beautification and improvemetn of our environment...

Again, the key is our municipality...
As George mentioned in earlier communications, the community would have volunteers such as Keshafeh and SSSR and students to "adopt" some projects and we can have competition on who can make the best impact... What a wonderful and uplifting feeling that would give to our town the psyche of its people...

Anwar                                                                                             IP: Logged

posted 11-04-2001 06:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Aboul Wil,

Man ur definetly not crazy, a person who thinks like u is a Visionar. Al Ghuwab is the lungs of Dhour Shweir & that fire during 1986 war killed the most beautiful forest. By the way the pine seeds from AlGhwab are famous for its size and taste. Its a pitty no one care anymore. I reckon that 70% of the pines we planted have successfuly lived, lets continue with this aim and replant the ghwab over and over,... We spoke alot about conserving the land and call it protected like others in Lebanon; well u know hw our shwiereh think the moment u bring an issue like this up, it another WTC.

Good luck pal in ur trip to lebanon and lets plan the campign together

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Nabil E. Matar
posted 11-08-2001 05:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Every once in a while a good topic in The BB that benefit our home town goes unnoticed. This is one
of them. Thank you Walid for bringing a subject like that. My friend, you are not crazy nor you are
dreaming. In my book you are a great Shweiry with vision and NO YOUR VISION IS NOT
IMPOSSIBLE. All great thing in the worlds started with vision and your vision is very much
achievable. All what's needed is guys/girls like you working together as a team to make what is
impossible possible.
Sho Ya Shabab, furjona bra3itcon. No body has any thing to say about this subject. Ghassan, Elias
Habib, Hilda, Hana, Victoria, George, James, Lama, Isis, Klee, Gari and all the young Shweirieh back
home including you Elusive and Andre where are you, say some thing people

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posted 11-08-2001 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Yes! Whenever a tree is planted in any area in Lebanon, it makes the country a more enjoyable place to live.

I remember the days when I would drive from Beirut to Bikfaya daily and enjoy the beautiful scenery; but I was shocked when I went back 17 yrs. later to see what man has done to destroy all that beauty!

Now since I am not sure where Ghwab is (I may have an idea), although I am certain that I've left some footprints there, it is always a great idea to re-plant. Those pine trees are something to behold. Perhaps this area could also be made a protected area, along the line of Horj Ehden, if feasible.

Whatever you do, Shweiriyeh, don't let your beautiful village get cluttered with lots of concrete dwellings like what happened between Bikfaya and Zalqa, or Jounie where the once beautiful forest has virtually lost ground to haphazardly built houses!

Thanx Nabil for reviving this topic and encouraging people to write, Shweiris and non-Shweiris alike. Beautifying any village in Lebanon should not only be of interest to its regular inhabitants, but also to any Lebanese. After all, we are all in the same boat.

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Ghassan Zghaib
posted 11-08-2001 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GhassanZghaib     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Guys, great ideas can only come from great minds and spirits.

I don't know what to add but if I was back in town and had a position of Mayor, School director, teacher, baladieh member, anyone I would organize a yearly campaign to plant trees. I'm sure this has been discussed in the BB, but the way I see it is we have to get the youth at schools and outside schools to participate. It should become a yearly event like the Emmigrants festival. The schools can organize a weekend camping in the place were trees could be planted, so can the SSNP and Scouts. The baladieh should work harder to get the attention of the government (buy the trees and have baladieh workers help plant them). The government should work harder on protecting the trees (strange but i really feel like I'm crazy now ).
When Marie was born, we received a coupon from an organization which allowed us to get a tree and plant it in the backyard. We got another tree when Caroline was born. These trees were donated by the municipality and an organization managed by volunteers took on charge the rest of the work. The person behind this idea is a LEBANESE WOMAN. If we're able to do such great things in here and elsewhere, I don't see why we couldn't do it back in Lebanon?

Amazing how I was able to write so much words and not once the word DIAPER was mentioned.

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posted 11-09-2001 01:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
My favorite subject

Ya sheikh ghassan intersting to know that a lebanese woman is after that donation but wt a pitty the benefit is not for our country although indirectly the idea is smart and I would very much be glad if you could enrich us with more info concerning the proceedures like what kind of trees, who plants them after distribution, does the municipality takes care and checks them from time to time ?????? pls can u contact that lebanese lady ?

Talking about concrete, well its our people who have concrete minds for they can't forsee the future of our country, look whats happening in Ein Assis ??? & in Bikfaya, wo elissar... Building all over.

We once had a meeting with former minister of economy in Dhour Sameer Makidsi who lives close to Ain Assis , nice villa. He quotes saying Dhour Shweir's Assest is in its environment,,, ya shweireh lets intellect our people to invest in thier LANDS for what the use of winning the whole world and loosing our own lands... " Gosh I can't get a grip without being philosophical "

Mike                                                                                    IP: Logged

Nabil E. Matar
posted 11-09-2001 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Elusive and Ghassan, thanks for responding fast to my massage. Now how about the rest of guys/girls.

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George Matar
posted 11-09-2001 09:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
The Ghwab Ya Elusive is that sloped land you see when you stand at the inpiration point and you look towards Ain Sindiyani and you sight moves to the right towards Dhour Shweir. It is the inspiration behind the inspiration Point.
This is a dear subject to all of our hearts and if we loose the Ghwab we basically loose the Image we are trying so Hard to revive. By all means we need to make it our top priority. However all that we are doing right now is nothing more than echo until somebody with authority begin to join our dialogue. I thought by now, and after our trip to Shweir that the baladieh will establish some kind og contact with us, but unfortunately...we are at Zero communication, when will this end ya Mayor? Or shall I say start?.

Anyway, just to plant trees in the Ghwab is not enough, we need a better plan and I think I have one. I discussed it with Anwar last August, I believe this will be a focal point for Shweir and will additionally bring in LOT$$ of Revenues too.

I started a series of visionary articles on rebuilding Shweir (on the Mukhtar's corner)which I stopped after the Sept. 11 tragedy. The Development of Ghwab was going to be Part IV.

I shall get back to the series and make the Ghwab as the next Part. And yes it will be open for discussions. I honestly believe timing is everything on this, so here is My dilemma, I just want to know if I propose the Idea will Elusive or Andre join in with us or could they pass the idea to their villages!?! Of coarse I can do this by email to a selective few... Your thoughts on this.                                                                         IP: Logged

andre aquilar
posted 11-09-2001 03:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andre aquilar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
O.K. Messrs Matar, here is what I think :
Mr Moujaes' post "Development of El-Ghwab" is wonderful.
It would be helpful if the obstacles could be addressed first,provided these can be resolved, then when and how the Ghwab can be cleand up and beautified will become an easy task.
I will take the obstacles in the order that Mr Moujaes has tabulated them :
1- From my experience, the only way to get an 'official body' to act is if you take action ahead of it, as, when they see that things are starting to move they will jump on the band wagon and will try their utmost to help,probably for the credit it might beget, and that is fine, this happens worldwide..! after all we want to eat the pinenuts not kill the Natour..!

2- The 99% private ownership is by far the biggest hurdle..But it can be tackled, if a legal way could be found to allay the owners fears that once the Ghwab are "horticulturally developed" the governement will not, at a later date, slap a National Reserve title on it( with a very small price tag) thus rendering it completely usless for the owners or their issue, as has happend (I am told)in Hursh Ihden.
This I presume could be tackled by the Municipality in the form of irrevocable certificates(?) to the owners stating that if they concent to the clearing and grubbing,then they would be guaranteed that no injunction of any sort will be exercised on their plots without their tacit approval. I am sure that a good Shwiery lawyer will volunteer to look at this aspect in a more professional manner.
The owners, on their part will also pledge that no building activity will take place on the cleared lands for a minimum period of three to five years. (to be negotiated).
A small commitee of local residents can be created to approach the owners to explain all this and to show them,honestly,that if the Ghwab are beautified then there is a serious chance their real estate value might be enhanced,the commitee will also take into account what aprehensions, or grievances they might have, and try to come back to them with convincing arguments...this normally might get a positive response.
When this is done and work is on its way, then perhaps the governement could be approached, with the concent of the owners, to slap a Compulsary Purchase Order with the Right Price that will not be too unfair to the owners. Or, get a wealthy individual to buy it outright, and call the Reserve after him...!!! it has been done before... the Yafet Library, etc.
We can in parallel employ the good offices of our Maten politicians, who on numerous occasions have encouraged us to come to them with our problems and our dreams ???!!
3- The initial investment will not be that small,but it will not be huge either, and there are many ways to attract donations.
Beside the donations that will be given by individuals like you and me, (You will receive my donation without any disclosure on my part...lol !!), Businesses, at home and abroad could be approached to sponsor this project on the premise, for example, that a big board will be placed at the entrance of the Ghwab highlighting the names of those businesses that made contributions provided that these contributions are not less than X dollars, where X is not too prohibitive to swallow..!
We can call trees after the names of the children of the individual donators by nailing plaques with their names on the trees,that will make it fun for both children and parents.

A serious and efficient coordinator is essential.

4- A media campaign is a must, but who should this campaign be beamed at? I ask becuase I do not know..What I am trying to say is : do you envisage this to be a 'local' effort with Mugtaribeen, or a 'national' effort ?
If a local effort then the campaign will not be too costly,i.e. meetings at the Municipality, introducing the idea in the sunday sermons,on this website, together with posters showing the Ghwab as it is now, And as you invisage it would look like, i.e. a " Now and Future" poster etc, also talking to the Newspapers during the cleaning period to come,take pictures, interview the scouts and other volunteers as they are working, ...newspapers love action and they will bend over backwards to publish a story like that.
If on the other hand you envisage a national effort then I do not know...??
I am sure the thoughts mentioned above could be absolute bunkum, so let us have more thoughts.
As to what to do in/with the Ghwab I have other thoughts that are similar and compatible with the ideas posted.. but for fear of being to lengthy I will post them at a later date.
In any event,I genuinely think that this idea is neither crazy nor farfetched, it is exiting, vigorous and with a little bit of goodwill and effort it could just work.
My compliments Mr Moujaes.

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posted 11-09-2001 04:25 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Yes mukhtar, the Ghwab turned ou to be where I imagined it to be, but did not know its name. Thanks for the enlightnment.

I just read Andre's reply; he seems to know what he's talking about, with plenty of good ideas. However, I believe that the development of Ghwab, should be a local undertaking rather than governmental (too much bureaucracy!). I concur with Andre that perhaps a few real wealthy Shweiris could underwrite most of the tab, as well as donations from other Shweiris, locals and immigrants. Perhaps a nature center could also be included in the development, similar to what we see here in the US.
As for building on cleared lands, I don't think it would be a good idea. This parcel of land should be strictly a nature reserve. Any construction of homes should be around the perimeter.
Just one word about Ain el Assis, which I saw last summer and left me dumbfounded upon seeing two monstrous-looking buildings (or is it one?) almost choking the Ain!!!
Perhaps the Baladieh can buy them out and destroy them? Is it feasible?
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andre aquilar
posted 11-09-2001 05:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andre aquilar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Mr Elusive,
The idea is not to build on cleared land, which is why it would be helpfull if we could get the owners to pledge (legally) not to build for a period of time, as hopefully by then a solution might be offered.
As you quite rightly said, Ain-el-Assis is a case in point, the children of Shweir are going to inherit this ghastly mess,therefore both Ghwab and the Ain are intimately connected, that is why one has to make sure not to repeat the Ain fiasco in the Ghwab.
It is said that hindsight always has 20/20 vision, now that we can see, it is crucial that we do not duplicate.
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Waleed Moujaes
posted 11-09-2001 08:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Waleed Moujaes     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Andre, thanks for your complements!!! This is my duty. I was always an environmental activist, and will always be.

I have a question if you don't mind. I am curious to know who are you, and how you're related to Shweir. You did not introduce yourself on the GB. From your name, you don't seem Lebanese, maybe from your mother's side!!! I am sure we all would appreciate your answers. You for sure, is a valuable supporter for The Shweir Environment Group, and obviously the environment in Lebanon.
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posted 11-10-2001 06:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Why about a 'SHWEIR ENVIRONMENTAL GIFT FUND' as part of the Shweir Foundation? It would have 'tax-deductable gift recipient' status for those in America, and maybe internationally.
Set a price per tree, US$5 or US$10.
Print nice colored picture certificates (like the photos of the villege from the web-site, or tree/valley scenes) with a space where the name or details can be typed or inscribed in beautiful Arabic and English.
Set a minimum for a tree certificate, say two trees.
Set a minimum number of trees for special, more elaborate certificates for a 'grove', or a 'garden'.
Hanging in my study for over ten years is a large framed certificate inscribed:
'A garden of 100 trees has been planted in memory of the Abotomey families 1887-1987 on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of their arrival in Australia from Mount Lebanon, by their great-granddaughter Klee....."Their descendants are as numerous as the stars" '.
This garden of trees is part of the extensive forests planted around Jerusalem and throughout the Galilee that draw rain to the Middle East.
We have other tree certificates to record special occasions such as marriage (the Golden Book of Marriage), and received as gifts of honour, for example, tree certificates to honour the birth of a child.
In all cases, these donations plant trees, build dams, and rejuvenate land with desert-watering and planting. We have visited some of the areas, travelling through forests and dry-land planting projects. This is a normal way of life for my family.
If Shweir needs a fund to restore and develop the environment, an environmental gift fund would be the way to go.
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posted 11-10-2001 12:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Wisely said Andre & the best part is “the only way to get an 'official body' to act is if you take action ahead of it “.
This is the essence of our problem in Lebanon, we wait for the Government, Municipality, FORIGNERS or even a Messiah to come and do our job,,,, .Walid & Nabil Bou Kheir know very well how the Environmental group started and the peak of its giving was freely initiated by shweirieh shabaab. We planted Al-Ghuwab around 2000 trees, we did it once & we can do it again, check the pictures in the Environment section http://www.shweir.com/environment.htm

at the bottom of the page were we are all gathered Scouts, Isaaf, friends from Beirut, SSNP’s you name it they all came to help. I won’t say this whole campaign was easy for it took a lot of time to prepare and coordinate with all the groups in shweir + passing by each grocery store asking for a simple donation like a shovel or a Maawal or even a Mankoushi for the guys.

By the way I am a true believer that if theres a will there’s a way & what the guys Nabil, Elie, George and Anwar did this summer is a solid proof that the shwerieh blood is genuine & active.

Dr. Klee hats are high , I love the idea; lets open a box for shweir environment donation, like $2 or $5 what ever for a pine tree or a californian tree Anwar brought with him and each new born shweireh abroad will have his tree planted back home & WILL be obliged to visit every summer to check his property.
Anwar I guess the procedure is not complicated cause we can post all the new born in year 2001-2002 on the website, get their name and donation for next year “ Shweir New Born Tree Campaign”.
Wouldn’t it be a good idea, we are even encouraging reproduction among shweirieh.

Li Shweir
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posted 11-10-2001 03:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for james     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Why don’t we start a donation to buy the needed trees? As a member of this bb I would be more than happy to do that. Someone from Dhour can make a study on how many trees are needed to reforest the Gwab and the cost of each tree. This way we have an idea of what is needed and how much we can afford to donate for this noble cause. There is nothing better than the smell of pine trees as you arrive in Dhour. I have been away almost thirty years and I still remember that smell like I remember my Teta Affifi’s manaeesh she used to make and bake at the local bakery every Sunday morning.
posted 11-10-2001 04:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Ah Ya James! With your brand new E320 Mercedes, perhaps you can buy a whole horch!

andre aquilar
posted 11-11-2001 12:30 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for andre aquilar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Mr Moujaes,
You asked how I was related to Shweir, this I will tell you :
A few months ago while having lunch with a far cousin (Shweiriyeh I must add) she asked me, with a glint in her eye, whether I had heard of shweir.com.
That evening I logged on, and surfed it with lukewarm interest. I went back every now and then simply because I recognized some of the names, nothing special, just curiosity.
It dawned on me after a while that there IS something special about this website.
Now, Mr Moujaes, let me ask you this :
How many villagers in Lebanon, do you know, have gone to the lengths and trouble the organizers of this website,(and contributors), have gone to,in an effort to create something meaningful with which to help their village ? A thankless task, one must admit, but they still did it.
How many people do you know, have "shaken" their backsides and actually worked to produce collectively, something significant to aid the needy, the invalid, the schools, etc, always rushing to thank others but never themselves ?
How many individuals or groups, do you know, who made it their aim to highlight, with pride, the achievements of others but never their own ?
How many people do you know, who, day-in-day-out take the time to brainstorm, and continuously encourage one another to find ways to improve, in a small way perhaps, the environment and therefore try to give quality-life to their village ?

It is said that curiosity killed the cat(!!) well in my case it created much interest.
I am not normally given to flattery and praise, what I said is neither of either, it is merely an observation on my part.

As to your other inquiry, I ask you humbly to let me retain my space, it is not to puzzle or to intrigue..it is just me.

posted 11-11-2001 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Andre Aguilar:

Is this your real name or just your pen name? No reason for asking, just curious (I've been there, hence my curiosity)!
I agree with you; this is a great site, as well as entertaining, if I might add.

I recently discovered (to my surprise) that my real name is on this website, but obviously no one was able to put 2+2 together! And here I've been 'wrongly' (?) labeled as being "elusive"!

[This message has been edited by elusive (edited 11-11-2001).]

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George Matar
posted 11-12-2001 08:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Andre, On behalf of all of us behind the seen... THANK YOU.
And Elusive, or should I say Uncle "B" yes somebody did put 2+2 together but Out of respect we are expecting you to introduce yourself. Complimenting James is also a give away. In regards to Miss Lebanon, you know now that you didn't have to send us the information via a beautiful and talented Shweiry. Am I on the right track????
I just Heard Another plane went down in New York!!!!!!!! I must check that, will get back to this subject later

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Nabil E. Matar
posted 11-12-2001 09:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Thank you all for your responds to my request to participate in this topic especially Elusive and Andre. My friends your input to this subject is great, that doesn’t mean that the input of James Klee and the others was less impressive. Now we got all these great ideas. Next step will be is how we can put them in to action. Therefore my friends, I suggest that the environment Champion Mike Sawaya take these ideas, brain storm them with his volunteer group (Nabil bou Khayer, George Samaha, etc.) maybe utilizing other Shweirieh expert in this field and come out with an achievable plan that we all participate in it. One more, I used My brother Najib and I used to work in the Green Plan (Al mushroo3 Al Ukhdar) To my knowledge The president of the plan Mr. Samir Abou Joudi’s mother is from Shweir, I wonder how much he and the Green Plan can help in this project.
God blesses you all and thanks

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posted 11-12-2001 10:58 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for elusive     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Not bad, Ya Mukhtar. Your math was not too bad for an engineer. But, my guess is that the 2+2 math took a lot longer than solving the problem of Lebanon's economy by the Italian experts!
Now, I am intrigued. Did you figure this out after I mentioned that my full name was somewhere on the website or before? Anyway, I had no idea that one of my own would innocently give me away. The irony of all this, is that she never figured me out (provided she had been perusing the bb)!!! However, it took Jimmy, with all his 'smartness', many hints to finally figure me out!

James hasn't killed me yet for "exposing" his taste for expensive cars, but am sure I'll be hearing from him soon.

As for introducing myself, I am trying to figure out a way to make a smooth transition from being "elusive" to being "me".

It was fun while it lasted.

George Matar
posted 11-12-2001 12:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
I Guess you all heard about the plane crashing by now, all indication point towards a mechanical Failure.

No Mr. B, it was few weeks ago, right after Habib asked you whether your wife first name intials starterd with. Then I asked you if you first name name started with the letter B, and you thought it was unfair. The Fact is this.....I read every alpha or numerical character that is entered on this webpage.
Your forwarded email and request at the time was honorable (although, I don't know why you didn't do it yourself)and indicated good intentions. Go Ahead and Make a splash and announce youself to everybody, I am sure the admiration will not dissipate. But this subject is for another BB.

Andre, I love the way you took the bull by the horn and immediately started to tackle the issues. Please consider youself among family here.

We really are on a good track with the environmental issue, as you all have know by now that George Samaha and Nabil Abi Kheir are up to their elbow with Red wood trees and germinating thousands of red wood seeds, Nabil is also bringing 300 new Snawbar trees to the village. Now come the task of finding homes for all these.

The Ghwab is one great possibility, and issues that were brought by you all most likely should be addressed. Converting The Ghwab to a Park should be more than a dream (Would somebody in Shweir Inform the Baladieh and have them at least read and possibly join us on this subject).

I see more than reforestation of Ghawb, a well planned park with trails and picnic areas, like Anwar suggested last year,and a small complex that is built in Harmony with the Ghwab could bring great revenues to the village. I'll share my crazy Idea with you Possibly this afternoon

IP: Logged

Ghassan Zghaib
posted 11-12-2001 12:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GhassanZghaib     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Sorry guys (especially Mickael) to be late in my reply, after all you know by now that the weekend is the time I work most (and weekend were the time when someone should rest ).

There's nothing special in what I mentioned earlier except that the idea is to make of every special occasion A SPECIAL excuse to go out and plant a tree. Here, the municipality only gives away donates one tree for every newborn in the year. They call it (Un arbre, une Vie = One Tree, One Life). It doesn't do any follow up. You just take it and plant it in your backyard (I got one for every daughter and it's kind of special to know that every girl has a tree named after her).

We can use the same idea back in town, Some of the special events I have in mind:
1. New borns
2. graduations
3. Marriages
4. any other special or dear event.
                                   IP: Logged

posted 11-12-2001 01:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Webmaster     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
The discussion of this topic has been a very intriguing one... it started with Waleed Moujaes discussing Environment with George Samaha. We got some great feedback from around the globe and evolved to unraveling the mystery of "Elusive"'s identity... sort of...

Elusive, if you may recall many moons ago, I asked if your wife's name started with a choice of three letters which you confirmed and George followed up with asking if your first name started with a "B"... so we knew all along who you were, but as George said, out of courtesy we kept that secret, we gave you space to unveil your identity when you were ready...

You mentioned that your objective for using a pseudonym was to see if others close to you recognized who you are... It is ironic to note that at one point you did not recognize the postings of someone that you knew very well when you asked "...who is that James anyway?" You found out about James by clicking on the "?" next to the date of his post, followed some links... and what a surprise...

Elusive/Andre thank you for enriching our BB with your in depth high caliber discussions and intrigue... the Shweir.com courtesy still stands for you to officially unveil your self when you are ready... I think enough hints have been dropped for those who know you to add 2+2 if they are reading the BB... On the other hand, those who do not know you are very curious and perhaps are on the edge of their seats to find out your identity.

Pesonally I do not mind pseudonyms so long as writers do not abuse the priviledge or do not adhere to the Mission Statement. Although politics and religion were discussed in other Elusive postings/debates, albeit pushing the limit, they were more on an educational level rather than promoting one over the other...
overall, it has been a positive, educational, and suspenseful experience...

Now where were we... back to the main topic "Environment" ... Thanks Waleed for starting the topic... and to all who shared many good ideas about it... It is amazing that between the time I read the last elusive post and had a chance to write this two more entries were posted...
Great feedback...

Andre, welcome aboard and thanks for the kind words... with the caliber of talent we are continually adding to the shweir.com family, there is no question that we will achieve or even bypass many worthy goals.


                -----Original Message-----
                From:   Nabil ABI KHEIR [mailto:Nabikeir@exotica.com.lb]
                Sent:   Tuesday, November 06, 2001 4:57 AM
                To:     Matar, George

                Yes sir..
                Our mukhtar bilmahjar is planning to visit the moon.....
                Hello George..ya3teek al 3efyeh...
                Just to let u know that we are to get about 200-300 pine trees from the ministry of agriculture so that our campaign will be soon...I will let you know when, plus some pictures...

                Yours truly, Nabil Abi Kheir 

-----Original Message-----
From: Matar, George [mailto:gematar@sbinfra.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2001 7:32 AM
To: 'Nabil ABI KHEIR'; 'A. G. Kenicer'

 Hello Nabil

The Moon?  Well not yet, we are planning to add it to our 2003 Agenda, 3layk kheir Nabil, you just don't know how much we appreciate you keeping us informed this is how great things are achieved. 

It was such a delight meeting with you and all the Shabeebeh this summer, I tell you with time we will so many great things for out Village.  Thank you so much Nabil


Author Topic:   Environment-Shweir ( FYI )
posted 10-30-2001 12:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Michael     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
I recieved this email from Nabil :

From: "nabil Abi kheir"
To: msawaya44@hotmail.com
Subject: Tahiyaat
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 10:33:37 +0000

Dear Miko.

How is everything and you???
About the trees ,me and George Samaha have planted the Sequoia (red giant trees)and some of the seads.)one bed)..

I am trying to bring about 300 pine trees from the ministry ...hope it soon...


Its the time of the year wr we have to prepare for planting our trees, although a shy follow up from my side but hv to admit the guys did a good job till now,... Unfortunately I cn't make it this christmas to lebanon, I had in mind to Campaign this year in inviting Christina Sawaya and she helping out promoting the idea of preserving our environment,....

Any suggestions from our shweireh, in Preparing for this year planting campaign ???  L'Tahya shweir  Mike

George Matar
posted 10-30-2001 06:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for George Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Hello Mike

It has been a long time since we heard from you on this BB, welcome back.
Yes Indeed George & Nabil are doing a great job, also by keeping us informed. I received a similar message from them.

Some suggestions Mike. I really would recommend getting the graduating class of the high school and Rahbat to join effort and start a tradition. Think of it as a senior project. The students will:
* Investigate to find a proper location
* Get clearance or permission from the owner
* Schedule the activities
* Properly Mass plant the Area, Nabil can provide guidelines on distances / rows between trees.
* Design a small ceremonial and elegant plaque with the Year and Names of all participants: something along the lines of :
A Gift to Shweir
The Graduating Class of 2002
Individals Name / School

See a program like this will be carried every year and will give these folks a place they can be proud of and visit as they get older. Not to mention the benefit it will give Shweir over the years.

Bringing Miss Sawaya to the planting day is a great Idea (add her name to the list of students). Maybe every year we’ll bring somebody prominent to attend… Snow ball effect. I see a lot of potential in this. This is really good Mike
IP: Logged

Nabil E. Matar
posted 10-30-2001 07:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Nabil E. Matar     Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote
Dear Mike,
I am so glad that you are using the BB to deliver your massage. I send you, Issam Sawaya, Tony Sawaya and the Shabab email last week, unfortunately the email to you returned. I don’t know if I have your right address and I lost Nabil’s email address.
Any way, we are glad to hear from you big buddy. As for the trees, I know that you were the staring wheel for this project and I know how much you are disappointed that you want be able to make it to Shweir this year to join George, Nabil (Smiyeh) and the Shabab in there great efforts. The idea of Letting Miss Lebanon getting involve in this effort is great. My suggestion is to also let the boys and girls scout get involve in this effort and send many pictures to the web site that shows areas before planting and after. Also pictures showing the progress of areas that you already did plant. Also I suggest that al shabab should try to survey the town and find protected areas where we can grow the red wood trees like school yards, Cemeteries, parks (if any) etc.
Keep up the good work and god bless.

One additional note to every body:
Anwar, George with the help of the Shabab back home done a wonderful job during the past Eid Al Mughtaribeen which as you all could see reflected in the picture taking by Anwar. I know it is still early for the next Eid, but we need your help to provide the Shweir.com family with ideas / suggestion of things we could present during the next festivity




An article about planting of Cedar trees posted  by Dr. Klee on 02-27-2001 05:18 AM           

On the topic of Cedar planting, I just found an interesting item on the internet about a 'Cedar Tree Project' at http://www.namnews.org/cedtree.htm which says (from Brooklyn, New York, USA): "The National Apostolate of Maronites (NAM) in cooperation with the International Committee for the Safeguarding of the Cedar of Lebanon, is sponsoring a grove of 500 Cedar Trees in the Arz al Rab area near Becharre, Lebanon....Each tree sponsored will be commemorated by an inscribed plaque (leaf-shaped) to be mounted on the 'Tree of Life' which stands at the entrance to the Cedar Grove. All participating donors will receive a Certificate of Appreciation noting their donation and their commemorative inscription for the leaf-plaque on the Tree of Life". Each cedar planted is a minimum donation of US$75. When this forest matures in hundreds of years it will be enormous.  
Author Topic:   Making the mountain green
posted 02-17-2001 05:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Klee      Reply w/Quote
It's great to see the photos of the new trees planted in Shweir; and even a new cedar tree! What a beautiful place. The stone villas and buildings look picturesque and as strong as the rock. The land is green and the people look happy. Thankyou for showing us in pictures. May your trees grow tall and strong.

Thank you Dr. Klee for your research and insights.  These give us great ideas about our upcoming tree planting projects.  

A Peek behind the scenes...  copies of cyberspace discussions...

-----Original Message-----

From: Matar, George [mailto:gematar@sbinfra.com
Sent: 21 February, 2001 5:22 PM 
To: 'Mike Sawaya'; 'Kenicer Anwar'; 'Moujaes Habib'; 'Moujaes Alfred'; 'Bou kheir Elie & Judy' 
Subject: A suggestion


Anwar already put that picture on the site, He just updated the page, lot of beautiful stuff you are going to love it. He also have the update on the computers with pictures.  Waiting for your next input to the BB.  The next project.....Environmental???????

I was thinking last night of something we can do in day that will have a good impact, and here's what I came up with. There is a very high probability that Anwar & I will go to Dhour this year, if we do we are planning on bringing some Red Wood and other 8" long baby trees to plant.  My feeling is the appropriate place for them would be in Protective areas and most likely in the valley.

Here's what I am proposing, plant these trees at 6- 8 meters apart on the circumference (all around) of the cemeteries in Shweir, Ain Sindiani and Harf Murad (HM might have plenty of trees already). I think that will make the cemeteries more tranquil looking and provide a beautiful view from all directions when these trees are 5-10 years old. Additionally, lets say, like Anwar suggested at one time, charge $$ for people to donate these trees for a departed love one. Each tree will have a 4x6 plaque with that person(s) name. We all have loved ones buried there and we love for their memory to linger through the ages. Any proceeds from this could be used to maintain the trees, add flower beds, add bathrooms next to cemeteries (so people quit fertilizing the concrete pads) or finance another project.

If you like that idea, let us have somebody measure / pace the cemeteries.  We can start the drive around June. We also need to know if there will be any laws or regulation that we need to abide by from both sides of the Atlantic. It would be great and beneficial to have the Baladieh involved in this too, they would have to provide the up keep. I don't know if the churches do that.  Of course if the High school Seniors do this instead it would be even bigger.  Your thoughts for a penny.  



-----Original Message----- 
From: Mike Sawaya [mailto:Mike.Sawaya@atosorigin-me.com
Sent: Wednesday, February 21, 2001 8:37 AM  


Y2atikon alf A2fya. I love the pic's :-))   Aboul Gearge, our Int'll Mukhtar any thing that brings beauty and prosperity to my town & its people count me in.  Shipping those Red Wood Trees is my only concern, I think we have to ask the US govt for approval & permission before any step.  I guess choosing the cemeteries is the safest place to plant them, cause deforestation is spreading too fast. 

Just for ur info, I will be leaving to Lebanon next week on Wed the 28, only for 10 day.  If you need anything from Dhour guys pls don't hesitate to ask.



From George Matar: 

Estimate How many trees we need regardless. I am still waiting for the rest to respond. It will take the rest of the week to get their input......But do you really like the idea Mike, I need to know if I am off track or something...  Another thing you can do is talk to the Baladieh and soften them up, we all need each other.  Are you going to help them set up the internet??

Other than that, and speaking for those on the west side of the Atlantic.....We envy you and Habib.  Have fun, and you did promise at one time picture of the first planted trees so we can track their progress.

Give my very best to the Real Mukhtaar, tell him I appreciate him letting me use the title.  Happy Easter, is it time yet?



-----Original Message----- 
From: Waleed Moujaes [mailto:waleed.moujaes@globeexpress.com
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2001 6:46 AM 
To: 'A. G. Kenicer'; 'Mike Sawaya'; 'Matar, George'; 'Moujaes Habib'; 'Moujaes Alfred'; 'Bou kheir Elie & Judy'; 'Hilda Sawaya'  

Hi guys,

Most probably, the agriculture clearances problem would be in Beirut. It is not because Lebanon is more protected - the opposite is true. However, the customs people tend sometimes to be smart and to force the law!!! Those people won't have any knowledge in agriculture. So, if somebody from Lebanon can help us with a small piece of paper, it would be very helpful.

Anwar, the danger from the freezing temperatures in the air is mainly on the roots. So, if you can cover or insulate them inside the golf bags, it would be great.  George's idea about planting them near the cemeteries is good. However, I guess those trees grow very big ( I haven't seen them yet), and their roots will be big enough to damage the walls of the tombs ( b3eed men hawn), so it would force whoever has around them to cut it. This will be, at least, 20-30 years from now, but we are planting them for the new generations to come, not for us!!! We can try to find few spots there, but not more.  In addition to finding some spots between the houses in Shweir, I suggest to plant few groups of 4-5 trees in the "Ghwab" near the "sa'iya"- the small stream of water. By this, they would have sufficient water, the temperatures in the summer are relatively lower, and a safe environment away from the people.  In few years, everybody would be surprised with them. Most of you haven't been to the ghwab in decades, so we will go this time!!!

As for the pine trees, I suggest "Tallet Emad". Mike, we have planted a lot in the last few years at the "Mtull". Tallet Emad has suffered a lot during the war, and it needs our help. Further, cars can easily reach. Arranging a full day for the environment during "Eid Al Mughtaribine" will be a very good idea.  In addition to talking to the Baladieh, let's talk directly to the "shabeb", scouts, music, football club,... Those are our absolute primary hope!!! I don't know if Habib and Mike can do something here.



-----Original Message----- 
From: A. G. Kenicer [mailto:kenicer@att.net
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2001 2:06 AM 
To: Waleed Moujaes; Mike Sawaya; Matar, George; 'Moujaes Habib'; 'Moujaes Alfred'; 'Bou kheir Elie & Judy'; Hilda Sawaya 
Subject: RE: A suggestion


In order to best respond to George's & Mike Communications, I copied and pasted some of the emails so that most info are at one place. First of all, George's ideas sound great to me and would love to get things in motion to achieve as much of that as possible subject to some logistics.  Yes, I will make best effort to go to Lebanon this summer. In %'s, there is over a 70% chance. I intend to bring California Giant Redwood Trees with me. Mike brought a good point about agricultural clearances. The tree supplier will provide us with the necessary docs. It should be no problem exiting USA. Concern would be entering Lebanon or via transit like in London, Paris or Frankfurt. Most likely it would be Paris and my brother who works for United Airlines can lend a hand there. A few years ago, I brought two dozens of these trees to Morocco to commemorate King Hassan II 25th anniversary of his golf pro am tournament. All the trees survived the trip.  I stuffed the tubes in our golf bags. when we attended the event the following year, I learned that they lost about 20 % of the trees they planted.

Provided we succeed in getting them to Lebanon, we may expect to lose 10-30 % within the first 2 years. This can be due to very cold temperatures in the cargo hold of the plane, to mishandling or care issues (over water or not enough water or nutrients) roots freezing during heavy snow. I intend to bring about two dozen of the 6" - 8" ones and a lot more of the smaller test tube saplings. We will plant a handful for ceremonial purposes and present the others to people who would care for them by keeping them inside their home in a small suitable container next to a window until they grow to about 15" to 20" where by the roots would be established and strong enough to withstand snow and freezing temps. We can have a competition on who's tree grows the best one year later.

We can still do the plantings with additional types of trees.  One idea would be to bring as many varieties of the pine, cedar, maple etc. and plant them in strategic locations and give description about each type. We need to tap the knowledge of possibly Waleed Khayrallah. I think he has an advanced degree (PhD) in horticulture.  Lets make a list of the top goals we want to achieve. Fine tune the guidelines. Get volunteers or appoint most suitable candidates. Lets get bimonthly reports and updates. And lets see how much we can achieve.

Yesterday, I listed the results of the Shweir.com New Years resolutions on the new BB. We can consider some of those goals as well. As al Mukhtaar may say, Let's Rock & Roll



-----Original Message----- 
From: Elie BouKheir [mailto:elie@thwy.net
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 7:33 PM 
To: 'Hilda Sawaya'; 'Moujaes Alfred'; 'Moujaes Habib'; 'Matar, George'; 'Mike Sawaya'; 'A. G. Kenicer'; waleed.moujaes 
Subject: RE: A suggestion

Hi Guys,

I don't write very often because of schedule constraints you all know how it is, however I am truly enjoying your enthusiam about our town, usually all agrigultural items are import tax exempt in Lebanon, Sample trees are transported by planes on a regular basis, they do put them in plastic bags.

I just thought of bringing an environmental important issue besides our trees,that can be a vital issue and will take a significant step in the right direction, knowing that currently our people are suffering from the water quality, hepititas is in existance, I truly think the water has some thing to do with it if not all.

First I suggest that we communicate our efforts with the legal staff of the Baladieh today, that are currently in charge of the municipality responsibilities. So I suggest the following: 
1) We must work together with the Municpality staff and obtain prints showing where we get our water supply, may be Saneen or osme water spring, and be able to review the water storage and filtration system if there is any.  
2) Submit a feasibility plan for a water filtration system to handle our coummunity capacity tapping into the existing water distribution system.  
3) Once we have a good solution we will take on the necessary commitment to help support technically, financially or otherwise the project. May be this will lead to privatization issues.

If you guys agree on this, may be we can start having some good inputs and interaction with our Baladieh.  What do you think Guys?

Elie BouKheir


-----Original Message----- 
From: Habib Moujaes [mailto:hmoujaes@destination.com.lb
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2001 10:20 AM

Dear Elie, Moukhtar, and the rest, 

This exchange of ideas is really great.. I whish more people would chip in..  I like the Idea of trees allot, Unfortunately most Ghwab are privately owned and one cannot rely on the cooperation of the owners to maintain these trees. (out of being abroad mostly..)

I suggest planting these trees along side the secondary and farm roads.  Even ask people in town to plant them around their homes, this way these trees have a better chance of surviving.  

As for the water supply idea..  The water supply to Dhour comes from three sources:

1: Nibeh Al Asal from Sannin 
2: The Artificial Lake in Zaarour 
3: Nibeh Al Manboukh near Zaarour.

These three sources also supply the neighboring towns.  They are government owned and operated.  A new feed line was connected from Bikfaya to Dhour (Upward) to supply our tank on the Bourj (George's hideout) during the off season. (this is fed from Jeiita or Beirut's water supply) Even with these sources, we still are in need for a couple of thousand cubic meters per day.  Our options are somewhat limited, The baladieh can operate a water-works but it cannot collect money for it.  

Privately, one cannot establish a water company, and to tap into the existing water network is next to impossible.  However a new plan  for a New reservoir on the Bourj (four times the size of the existing one) is to be implemented soon which will give the area double the flow rate it was getting.  This plan was to be implemented last year, unfortunately the mayor sent a letter requesting this project to be cancelled...  This created some confusion which led to the delayed in the start of the project until next summer. ... 

Conclusion:  I believe we should hold off on this project until the tank is erected and will see what the situation is then..  Sorry for the long version but I though some data needed to be shared...



From:  George Matar 
Sent :  February 26, 2001 at 1:37 p.m.

Wow, I am really impressed by all the idea exchanges we are having here.  I'll echo all of your responses, it actually is great....But you guys hold your horses a little bit, one step at a time, and make that a small step at a time. We have successfully completed a small project, my feeling is to stay with projects of the same magnitude. This is where the idea of the trees around the cemeteries came about, small and tunnel zoned idea.

We really need to draw a firm line between what we can and can not do, a line that we should not even attempt to cross. As much as I love what Elie is proposing, I see that it is a job for the city of Dhour, the Matn, and the Ministries of natural resources and Utilities. That would be a very hard, if not impossible, for us to get into it. For one thing I would not want us to propose a project that we can not control. I can not see us controlling such an effort, sorry.

In regards to water shortage and if the proposal, as Habib mentioned, does not go through, it will be up to the people living in the Dhour Shweir to come up with the right solution. Whether it is by digging wells (beir) to collect rain water or building sewage / water recycling plants to use the water for irrigation. We should limit our involvement to recommendations / suggestions only. There are many ideas that can be explored. 

I still think that the Idea of beautifying the cemeteries is a good and achievable one. In Answering Waleed's concerns, the tree type proposed is not as important as the actual planting of any type of trees. Maple trees are a good selection, So is Aspen (hawr) both of these trees are panoramic in the spring through the fall.  

The Red Woods are pretty trees, and I doubt they will have much of an impact on the tombs for the next 2-5 centuries. Surely we are smart enough not plant them or any other kind so close to the graves.  

Mikes Idea of building a nursery is good, but then again it should be a town's project, we can help by collecting funds to, lets say, initially stock it up, or supplying it with trees etc...like the Red wood trees. 

In Short let us stay with small and strategic projects that will get everybody's support. We can not go wrong that way.

George Matar



The following photos and captions were sent by Mike Sawaya

Shweir Youngsters learn about the Environment... 

Thank You Mike Sawaya and a great big Hello and Marhaba to all the young ones.  

It will be wonderful to identify and list the names of all these beautiful Shweirieh... any volunteers? 
Please do not forget to name the parents.  Thank you in advance.


I've taken these pictures during the month of December 2001, while planting some pine trees in Al-Mtull area.

 Thanks to the people who participated in this planting day:

 Pic 1 - Habib Halabi, Henry Bou Saab, Moi, Amal my sister, Nijad my cousin & Sweaty our supporter of the day.  
Pic 2-  Nabil Abi Kheir, Tony Sawaya, Nijad Sawaya.   
Pic 3-  A typical villa in Shweir.  (You call this great architecture or what ?)  
Pic 4-  Deir Mar Elais.  
Pic 5- Why should we reforest our town ??  
Pic 6- Mount Sannin wearing its white coat.  
Pic 7- Nijad and I in action with the earth.  
Pic 8- Habib Halabi thanks in a million for coming.  
Pic 9- Our international Cedar Tree ( 2 years old ).  
Pic10- More planting 
Pic 11  Shweir children's learning to plant a tree.  
Pic12- Henry Bou Saab thanks for joining.

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9. Env 9.jpg (80780 bytes) 10. Env 10.jpg (61643 bytes) 11. Env 11.jpg (157437 bytes) 12. Env 12.jpg (74717 bytes)

Thank you Mike Sawaya 

an e-mail from Mike sent on Feb 21-01 titled " A Suggestion" 

Dear Int'll Mukhtar, 

I agree with Habib Moujaes that it always start with a small idea and it grows to be a success, that's the part I am concerned of the implementation.

Anwar mentioned the Trees last year, I adore the idea specially these one of a kind trees. They will suite & beautify our town.  I am willing to mobilize the Scout, and all clubs even friendly environmental clubs I know in AUB to assist.  Keeping Dhour Green is the way, former ministry of economy Dr.Samier Maqdisy lives in Dhour & once mentioned that Dhours economical benefit Comes from keeping its lands green, this way more people will come and invest and enjoy its good environment.

Ideas I have planned for reforesting Dhour Shweir.:

1- Forming a Nursery of pine, Cedar trees etc. ( 1000 trees as a start ) 
2- These trees will be planted as seeds and given a title, named by each shweiry donators from all around the world. ( They will be taken care by a part time supporter)  
3- When the time comes they will all be planted in lands of the donators.  
4- The opening of such a nursery could be this Summer2001.  
5- Promote the idea of securing and protecting the Ghawab from urbanization and Cement invasion.  
6- Set a yearly agenda of planting at least 100 Trees.  
7- Work conjunctionally with the Baladiah & all other organizations in our town, creating the awareness and love of Land.  
8- Keeping our shweireh attached to their town & land by providing an alternative income (Such as planting Fruit full trees which will also generate industrial revenue.  
9- Promote Environmental issue in our BB, educating, sharing, discussing 
useful ideas via our Shwiereh Student. 
10-Let it be part of our yearly tradition to innovate an idea that will list us in the world Genius Book of Record. ( Ex- prepare in Eid Al Moghtaribien the biggest artificial Tree or largest Taboula plate ever).

These are some ideas that will enhance our vision for a better Shweir, Aboul Greage u have the blessing of my dad, U are indeed a genuine Shweiry and the Dynamo of our Int'll shweirieh.

Mike Sawaya 


A message titled "Making the Mountain Green" posted on the New Bulletin Board on Feb 17 by Dr. Klee:  

It's great to see the photos of the new trees planted in Shweir; and even a new cedar tree! What a beautiful place. The stone villas and buildings look picturesque and as strong as the rock. The land is green and the people look happy. Thank you for showing us in pictures. May your trees grow tall and strong.


Montana Fire.JPG (67190 bytes)  Submitted by our al Mukhtaar bil Mahjar:  This dramatic photo is a reminder to protect our environment or it could go up in smoke in no time.  
I don't know the accuracy of the information but the picture is incredible.  This awesome picture was taken in Bitteroot National Forest in Montana on August 6, 2000. The photographer, John McColgan, is a fire behavior analyst from Fairbanks, Alaska. He took the picture with a digital camera. Because he was working at the time he took the picture he cannot profit from it; however, the picture is a once-in-a-lifetime shot and should be shared.  

Webmaster & Al Mukhtaar getting some giant environmental inspiration 
at the base of Giant Sequoia Redwood tree near San Francisco, California
(Several people could fit inside its hallowed trunk)

Copies of postings from Shweir Bulletin Board Re: Shweir Environment

Posted by Waleed Moujaes on August 20, 2000 at 05:06:05:

Everybody spoke a lot about this subject, and it seems that this page is the most important and attractive to most of the Shweiriyieh abroad. You saw our pictures, making our plans, planting, awards,... but you haven't seen what is happening in Shweir. I don't want to scare anybody, but this is the reality. Blocks of cement growing high, trees more than 50-60 years
( even more than 100) old being cut without mercy, nice "natural parks" being destroyed for selfishly short sighted projects. For example, Ain Al Assis, which is (ACTUALLY WAS) the lungs of Shweir and Shweiriyieh and a place for a nice walk in the morning or the afternoon, is transformed literally into
blocks of cement, and hills of garbage... This was 3 years ago. I am going to visit next week, and I am really worried of what I would see this time.

Where is Shweir heading, unfortunately towards an environmental catastrophe if the municipality did not take a serious action and put an end for such an imbalance. Although a lot of people, young guys and girls are working hard, they need the support of who is in power ( people who make or break).

The main problems could be summed up in 2 points:
1- Lack of education.
2- The absence of true and responsible management.

There are certain steps which could be taken to solve the first point, but time is running out very fast. Our only hope now is a strong "BALADIYIEH" who must understand that what our dear Shweir is, is because of its enviroment and geographical location. It is very important for us to plant as many trees as we can. We have planted thousands of trees, but it is very simple for a truck to destroy hundreds of young trees planted by our young brothers and sisters over a period of several years, in a matter of half an hour.

I don't know how can we convince our municipality to put some limits on building and inforce them on the ground.

It is our duty to keep pushing harder and harder.

Waleed Moujaes  

Posted by Mike Sawaya on August 20, 2000 at 13:09:11:

Walid Thanxs for that Clarification.

What walid indicated is the bitter true, our lungs hv been attacked by a deadly virus,a disease that lives among our families and friends, its lack of Awareness.
Our team 3 year's ago came up with a plan to immplement the Zoning, meaning each area in Dhour Shweir will be divided according to a defined category of construction A(for 3 store building)& etc B C D.

The project went to the Municipality and they actually started to work on it from the ministry directly. But our short scoped shweieh fought against that plan, even Michel al Murr and Assad Herdan got involved to stop the plan & last attempt to save our divine trees.

I'm sorry to mention names, the future of our children & town is more important than some avaricious individuals.

I agree with Walid, lets put our hand together and fight back to save the last pine tree by securing our town from irrational buildings and prepare for planting campaigns & involve all our shweireh to plant a tree with their bare hands and feel the sweat & joy of giving rather than always wanting.

By the way, Walid was one of the founders and most fervant member of Shweir Bia2.
Well done Aboul Wil.

Posted by George E. Matar on August 24, 2000 at 08:44:34:

The two reports by Waleed Moujaes & Mike Sawaya do reflect a sad reality in Shweir. Shweir, has no businesses that generate new revenues (new money) other than attracting summer rentals. This is 3-4 months of new income due to what the Misayfeen and diehard Shweirieh returning to spend their summers in our Shweir.
To the locals, more housing, is a potential for more money. Can we blame them for building? Well, No! Unfortunately, construction is done on the expense of defacing the land. The Shweirieh home owners should never forget what made our Dhour Shweir so special. They have got to realize that: Their commitment to the “Summer Occupants” is really not the two, and three bed rooms housing, but the view they see when they open the windows.

The Misayfeen and Mughtaribeen, return to Shweir to forget the 9 month of being confined within their offices, having their vision shocked by high rise building, traffic, zmameer, chaos, and their day to day complex life. They come to Shweir to be closer to nature, and for a short two weeks to 3 month live a simpler and more meaningful life. If we can not provide this to them, they will go somewhere else.

Mike & Waleed, are quite right in their analysis of the situation, or, they might be like the rest of us romantic fools that want to see Shweir like we remember it, beautiful. But, what is great about what these two guys, and their likes, is that they are visionaries, they saw an alarming situation and started doing something about it. My friends whether you know it or not, you have started to educate the rest of us Shweirieh on the importance of the environment and keeping our Shweir beautiful. So don’t let an ignorant truck driver killing few trees dampen you enthusiasm, your efforts is setting the stage for keeping our beloved town exactly how we want it, BEAUTIFUL. Just remember, the truck driver you mentioned might not know what he’s doing…….But his offspring will know.

If we collectively agree on how we want our Shweir to look 20, 30 50, 100 years from now, then we don’t need Mr. M. Mur or the Government to impose restrictions and limitations on how we should or shouldn’t build our homes. Now that I said that, the hardship of selling the “collective” idea to the rest is where the battle will be. Remember, education is a slow process, we’re on our way. So Hang on.

But until then I pray that when we Build we will build responsibly so that our home, our neighbor's home, and the environment are in harmony, because that's all we got, it will be a darn shame to lose it.


Posted by Hilda on August 24, 2000 at 13:01:18:

In Reply to: Shweir in a Catch 22 posted by George E. Matar on August 24, 2000 at 08:44:34:

I cannot agree more with George. I wish as people plan and build their homes, they are concerned about the outside landscapping and appeal. The town as a whole needs to be concerned about its natural beauty. Some of the trees were destroyed by the war, as I understand, and that kind of reforestation can be adrressed as a voluntary community effort. Adhering to a certain building code surely helps.


Posted by Anwar on August 29, 2000 at 20:46:40:

I find the recent articles on this Shweir Bulletin Board about the Environment by Waleed, Mike, George and Hilda to have very important messages that express concern about the future and well being of Dhour El Shweir. An acquaintance from the Middle East once told me that he first heard about Shweir from doctors who prescribed to patients with respiratory and asthma conditions to go to Shweir, Lebanon because of its clean fresh air and its beauty. It sounds like that reputation is being tarnished. That saddens many of those Shweirieh who care.

It is in the best interest of the Shweirieh to preserve and enhance Shweir’s beauty, environment, its crisp refreshing water and its fresh air. To do otherwise would be like… as they say in America… to shoot ourselves in the foot. If we transform the main and prominent land into a “cement jungle”, Shweir would lose its charm and appeal. Less and less people would care to visit it or consider coming back. Everyone loses.

Don’t get me wrong. Just as much as I am pro environment, I am pro development. The best and most rewarding kind of development is one that enhances rather than detracts from the environment. After all, when you build your property, you will become part of and live within that very same Environment. There is a big difference between Sensible development and irresponsible one. There has to be a balance and harmony between good, progressive and worthwhile development and the environment.

Long term goals or master plan for the next 5, 10 and 20 years are vital to ensure a positive outlook for Dhour El Shweir. This will include proper and enforceable land zoning, most beneficial utilization of the land, development, the environment and all other factors that are impacted like water, waste water, garbage collection, electricity, parks, children playgrounds, open space, senior citizen’s centers, schools, libraries, recreation facilities etc.

With proper planning, good communication and higher awareness, Shweirieh can build their properties and enhance the environment at the same time. Granted, there will be some reasonable compromises, and some give and take.

Can the Shweirieh, the property owners, the politicians, the environmentalists and the decision makers work together in the best interest of Shweir?

We would like to hear from those who are in key positions who can enlighten us on this subject.


Posted by Hilda on August 31, 2000 at 18:28:09:

In Reply to: Shweir Environment posted by Anwar on August 29, 2000 at 20:46:40:

I think Anwar captured eloquently all the concerns that were expressed on this web site with regards to the environment in Shweir. Anwar had set the tone for very reasonable objectives that if all believe in, and strive for, can be accomplished.




Courtesy of Mike Sawaya

Above is a vantage view point photo from Mike Sawaya's balcony.
The following is a thumbnail of an Arabic brochure on Environmental issues provided during Eid Al Mughtaribeen, 1996.  Click on it to enlarge it. >>>

Arabic Broch EM '96.JPG (345651 bytes) 

The following are some emails regarding the Shweir Environment:  This is unedited and it was not intended for the web pages.  However, there are a lot of important information discussed behind the scene, we thought that you may wish to eavesdrop.  (please pardon the typos)

From: Mike Sawaya
To:  The Team at Shweir.com in response to earlier emails posted below this one. 

Hi Shweireih,,

I'm glad we by this sharing discussion among us, I'm also surprised to see the level of anticipation towards this vital issue.

I figure u are all well knowledgeable to the needs and threats our beautiful town is facing.  I am going to try and answer some of George and Hildas questions...  

The pilot project of Shweirs environment started 5 yrs ago as I've previously mentioned , it was handled by very sentient and dedicated university graduates, my experience in this field will say that instead of bringing any X environmentalist to study our needs will be a waste of Time and resources, we should keep our team involved, Nabil Abou Kheir is an AUB Agriculture Graduate and Works with Exotic the largest gardening company in Lebanon and he is involved.

Walid Nasser works with the Environment Ministry, Simon Dergham is an electrical engineer and into this battle, Mirna Moujaes, AUB graduate, Rania Touma Sawaya a AUB Nutritionist worked in the team, Neameh Moujaes AUB Agri ,we hv about 30 caliber in the team and ready for any action, Pls let us involve our towns graduates in this project & its people too.  

I also agree with Hilda that Adel Samaha and Najib mattar should get into this bandwagon BUT with the collaboration of our team The main reason out of this is to Save time and researches that has already been implemented.   We hv gone into lots of projects like Planting The Ghwab, George the reason why u see lots of dead trees was because during the 1986 war a Lighting Parachute fell in the forest and burned everything, the fire lasted for 3 days, every shweireh got involved in putting the fire out But wts the use if we don't replant that beautiful area, It has always been known that the pine seeds of AlGhwab is the best in Lebanon.  

We got involve as u can see in the picture about 40 people they even came from other areas and University,, The Shweireh Scout and Red cross was also involve we planted almost 1000 Pine trees 50 Cedar Lebanese trees and we are proud to say that 80 % of these trees hv succeeded till NOW.

We also Planted the Protestant School in Ain Asis, the Area of arzal al Zaim also got burned 4 years ago ws successfully replanted.  We hv also been keen to preserving wt we have accomplished by maintaining and protecting our small trees form Shepard's Goats and from Unexpected fires not to mention the Hunters who are Blinded from Up and Down.  

To answer the other questions , when do we plant? Definitely not in the Summer Nor in Eid al Mughtaribien, for several reason, First the best season is winter month of Nov and Dec, but in planting seeds in the Ground directly March is the best time. As to my experience any tree that can survive our 1250 Meter high and the freezing degree in winter can cope but the Question is do we need to introduce other breeds to our environment, ? well why not, I planted 20 , 2 meters Kina on both sides of the Seha and I think those trees are well off and useful too.

But I will stress on 3 kinds of trees Pine and cedar & Oak definitely. (for a Reason I will explain later.)

Why we plant during these Month is because a Tree removed from the bag to be planted directly in the ground will need allot of water , this way we are giving a good chance say at least 4 to 5 months of rain and snow, so the roots will be able to attach to the earth, and the lack of water resource in the summer.  George I'm afraid u are right our trees are weak, why ? well I still recall 2 years ago a virus attacked our Area I think its because of the Pollution and second the dry season and no snow and rain like before, lots of insects and disease showed up, I ws the first to recognize this because I like to hv long hicks in the near forest close to my house and I realized a pine tree out of no ware turns into naked in less than a month, so I gathered the whole team and we researched on this by taking some samples to the Lab of AUB. ALNahar newspaper came and interview me for the same reason well the bottom line is that during that year all of Lebanon faced that treat, Hamdillah I hv'nt seen any of our dead pine trees. 

Wt should we do NOW ? two things, keep the good Job on our site by creating awareness to the beauty of our Town, Trees, Old housing , Nature, ..... People. 

Second start a fund raising campaign, For    A) Having our own Tree Nursery.  B) Preparing for a Yearly Planting Campaign wr we should support financially by getting every shweiray involved. C) To Maintain our beautiful Old tree we should need proper preservative for them D) Create a dedicated team of environmentalist.

Lastly I want to deeply Thank u Anwar , George and Hilda for ur Care and anticipation Pls lets make this our pilot project and I am still 200% devoted to this cause.  

I am sure we can all succeed together.  Wt we should do is . 
1) Study ways of building fund raising for this specific topic.  There are 100 ways of doing that. 
2) Get more shweireh from arround the world to know more and share with us. 
3) Hv a team who will work independently on this project, I know u guys can't do everything. Open for more discussion.

by the way I hv with me a environmental flyer we distributed during 1996 eid al mougtaribien I will scan and send on Saturday.


The beauty within us is reflected from our environment.


-----Original Message-----

From: A. G. Kenicer [mailto:kenicer@att.net
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2000 9:11 PM 
To: Mike Sawaya; gematar@sbec.com; HTSHURBAJI@aol.com 
Subject: RE: Conservation - Agriculturists -

This sounds good to pool our resources.  I am going to copy Mike Sawaya on this since he may have lots of data that we are unaware of right now. I recall noticing in one of the photos that Mike provided us about the tree plantings they were working with a map.  Chances are that they may have soil tests and other studies made. 

See how things are moving in a positive direction now? Below, I copied and pasted some excerpts of emails that are relevant to the subject. Thanks for your initiative.  

Would you like to co-ordinate these ideas and resources?  One more thing... George Matar noticed that the magnificent Oak tree in Saideh's yard looks weak, sad and lonely... has anyone made any evaluation about its condition... whether it is lacking nutrients, irrigation... If it is sick, we need to figure out ways to save it.  


-----Original Message-----

From: Hilda  
Sent: Thursday, August 10, 2000 8:11 AM 
To: gematar@sbec.com; Kenicer@att.net

George and Anwar, 
The two people that I can think of to address the issue of deforestation in shweir are Adel Anis Samaha a young agriculturalist from dhour who will undoubtedly be willing to offer his expertise, and of course Najeeb Matar, your brother George...In actuality combining the talents of the both would be good and beneficial to shweir in drawing a plan to reforest the shweir. Of course they 've got to work within a set budget and if there is not one then we'll have to come up with one. Adel knowing the prices there may be good at setting the budget for the plan...  All that will be needed then is to have volunteers to implement the project...


The following are copy(s) of posting(s) from the Shweir Bulletin Board:

Posted by Hilda on August 10, 2000 at 07:59:21:

Acting on a big tip from the web master and viewing the pictures of the shweirie volunteers planting trees and trying desperately to repair the damages of deforestation, I feel that shweir needs an agriculture person who knows the native trees, soil, climate etc. to help in the effort to bring back the bueaty the pine trees bestowed on shweir. Mike Sawaya has been spear heading this effort,I wish an agriculturalist would offer the volunteers a blue print to follow in their effort, and then we will have to consider ways to fund this project... Just a thought.

Hilda Touma Sawaya, Tennessee, USA

What every Shweiry and visitor remembers most about Shweir?  

They remember its natural beauty, its refreshingly crisp cool spring water, its fresh clean air, the sound of the gentle wind passing through the pine needles and the many artistic chiseled stone buildings in the old section of town, just to name a few. 

Unfortunately, during the war, Shweir, like many other places experienced setbacks due to the bombings and ensuing fires.  Another set back was caused by the lack of architectural guidelines, controls and enforcement.  Both of these items resulted in loosing many of our trees and in some areas a mismatch of building design which lacked uniformity.  

It is refreshing to learn that our younger generation saw the danger and pitfalls of continuing in such direction.  They took proactive measures to turn things around.  They mobilized, volunteered their time and donated resources to plant thousands of trees and continue their efforts to heighten awareness to preserve, enhance and protect Shweir's natural beauty and its environment.  

We salute this group of Shweiry and thank Mike Sawaya for bringing this information to us, for providing us with the photos you will see below and for his leadership towards this very important role.  We would like to recognize all those who participated and/or supported this effort.  We invite you to send to us any articles, names of individuals and more photos regarding this subject. 

Saving, enhancing and preserving Shweir Environment is of critical importance to all Shweirieh.  We, at Shweir.com will dedicate as many web pages necessary towards that goal.  Mike Sawaya have suggested to establish a special environment forum.  We are giving this serious consideration.  Your input and participation is always welcome and will be greatly appreciated.  

Photos courtesy of Mike Sawaya in Saudi Arabia 
Tree Planting & the Environmental Vehicle Award 

40 volunteers march to plant trees in Gwaab

Trophy for the Winning Environmental Car at Eid Al Mughtaribeen 1998
we need captions to identify people who appear in these photos.

     Click on any photo to enlarge it.  Click on "Back Arrow to return to this page.

M6 Plant Plan Mtg.JPG (78197 bytes)
Meeting to review
plans for tree planting
M10 Environment Car.JPG (91981 bytes)
Environment Car
in Eid Al Mughtaribeen
M5 Arzal & Sweety.JPG (50245 bytes)
Al Arzal 
M8 Shwierieh Plant Gwaab.JPG (102391 bytes)
Planting thousands
of trees in Al Gwaab
M3 Same Win Envir Car 98.JPG (102374 bytes)
Same winning
Environmental car 1998
M4 Snow in Color Dec 99.JPG (88483 bytes)
Snow in Dec 1999. 
This is a color photo