Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
GMMR, Sarir, World Heritage Convention, marine dumping, Surt
Libya has undertaken a number of major irrigation projects intended to ease the countryís water shortage. The most ambitious is the so-called Great Man-Made River (GMMR), a massive 25-year irrigation scheme begun in 1984. Expected to cost $30 billion, the GMMR is a vast water pipeline system designed to tap the aquifers of the Sarir, Sabha, and Al Kufrah oases in southern Libya and transport fresh water to Libyan towns and agricultural areas along the Mediterranean coast. The first of five planned phases in the construction of the GMMR was completed in 1991, when Banghazi and Surt were supplied with water from the system. The second phase was completed in 1996 when water pipelines reached Tripoli. Slumping oil revenues in the mid-1990s delayed the start of the third phase of the project. Although the projectís planners predict that the GMMR could supply Libya with 5 million cubic meters (177 million cubic feet) of water per day when completed, it is unclear how long the water supplies can be exploited.
Libya has pursued an extensive reforestation program in recent decades. Since the 1960s, the government has planted more than 200 million seedlings in western Libya in an effort to prevent further soil erosion and desertification.
Libya has ratified the London Dumping Convention and the Mediterranean Action Plan, although untreated sewage and waste from the countryís extensive petroleum industries continue to pollute the Mediterranean Sea and coastal areas. Libya has also ratified international agreements that limit marine dumping and nuclear testing, and the country has signed treaties intended to protect biodiversity and the ozone layer. Libya is party to the World Heritage Convention.
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