21 Feb 2019 - Meet Manal: she joined UNDP's Ocean Action Campaign as a volunteer in September 2018. Manal focused her activities back to her roots - Lebanon.
I spent the first 24 years of my life with a beach less than 10 minutes away from my house. I used to open my eyes every morning looking at the Mediterranean Sea, I never felt bored of this beautiful view, I never felt bored swimming every day in this endless blue water, I never felt bored driving next to the beaches nor sitting at the shores even though it was cold in winter. It is the perfect place to go no matter the time or weather. It is a place where you can just sit and think about life, and make decisions. It is the place where you want to be happy and relaxed. Being there gives you a feeling you could never understand until you are there.
Then I moved to the middle of the United States of America where the closest beach to me is over 15 hours driving.
Living far away from the sea has taught me to appreciate it more than I ever had. I miss it every single moment.
However, even when I am visiting back home, I still miss it. Unfortunately, all I can smell and all I can see around me when I am standing by the shore is rubbish. #Lebanon’s waste crisis began in 2015 when a huge landfill site closed and government authorities failed to implement a contingency plan in time to replace it. Sadly, since then, everything has been dumped directly into the sea and coastal landfills which has been causing a major disaster for the shoreline ecosystem and public health. The level of sea pollution in Lebanon is dangerous. Urgent actions need to be taken!!
From there, I decided to volunteer and join the UN Development Programme’s Ocean Action Hub where I had the opportunity to promote Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14) for Healthy Marine Ecosystems for People and the Planet among the environmental organizations, scientists, civil movements, and youth groups in Lebanon. The most important thing was to make these groups aware that they are not alone in trying to stop pollution and protecting the Ocean and that there is a global community for the ocean that they can join.
ACTIONS need to be taken and more volunteers are needed in order to promote SDG14 around the world. “Without a healthy Ocean, human life will suffer.”
I dream of a healthy Ocean/ living for our present and future generations. Let’s make it REAL!