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Last Updated: Tuesday August 01 2006 18:42 GMT

Lebanon oil slick hits wildlife


There is grave concern for the wildlife off the coast of Lebanon after an air strike on a power station led to loads of oil getting into the sea.

It started when Israel attacked the Jiyyeh power plant near Beirut between 13 and 15 July, releasing a reported 10,000 tonnes of oil into the water.

Oil can have a devastating impact on marine creatures and there are fears for tuna and turtles in the area.

The UN is now attempting to help the Lebanese authorities clear up the mess.

A UN spokesman said there was "grave concern" about the affects of the oil slick, which now covers 80 miles of coastline.

It's feared that up to 35,000 tonnes of oil could eventually leak into the water - which is the same as if an oil tanker went down.

Local environment groups have described the spill as a disaster.

They say that slicks on beaches will prevent baby turtles from reaching the sea after they hatch.

They are also worried about oil on the sea bed threatening the tuna population.

Middle East

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