Friendship forest- From a dump to a thousand trees
“Forest of Friendship between UNIFIL and the Municipality of Safad al-Batikh” is the name of the new project implemented by UNIFIL in order to salvage the town’s nature and protect its townspeople health, through transforming the village’s garbage dump into a green forested area.
The project was initiated by the municipality to end a “15 year old garbage dump” problem. The dump had spread over a thousand square meters, releasing bad odours and polluting the area, not only for the townspeople of Safad al-Batikh but also for the towns of Shakra and Majdel Silim.
The municipality of Safad al-Batikh presented the necessary studies to UNIFIL asking for its help. UNIFIL approved the request and funded this project through UNIFIL’s Quick Impact Projects with a total value of $24,818.
And so, hand in hand, they launched this project in June 2012, which consisted of excavating and levelling the area of the dump and purchasing and planting 1000 trees.
The 10,000 square meter Forest of Friendship between UNIFIL and the Municipality of Safad al-Batikh, was inaugurated on Thursday 4 October in the presence of the Malaysian Lt. Com. Badrul Hisham Bin Mohammed, the deputy chief of UNIFIL’s Civil Affairs Achit Tsagaandorj, the mayor of Safad al-Batikh Souhad Zeinnedine, UNIFIL officials, and a gathering of the townspeople.
“We have planted a thousand trees in our new forest and they will be irrigated once a week. And in the upcoming spring we will also plant around 2500 new plants” said the mayor Mr. Zeinnedine.
The mayor reiterated in his speech to the crowd his gratitude to UNIFIL, which supported his request to end the 15 year old problem that was ruining the town’s nature.
Lt. Com Badrul Hisham Bin Mohammed considered this project one of the most innovative UNIFIL has implemented. He expressed to the townspeople of Safad al-Batikh his honour to be part of it.
He added: “I believe that this is the way forward from now on. We should put the interest of our children first and foremost thus preserving our nature.”
“UNIFIL’s objective is to do something new and benefitting to the local community” said Civil Affairs’ Achit Tsagaandorj. “When we work together we can achieve and this project was executed in a very good way especially since it was completed with limited resources” he added.
The townspeople were equally happy with the new forest. “We sincerely thank UNIFIL for helping us to get rid of that hateful smell we used to have in our town because of the dump. It was actually very sickening” said Zahi Zeinnedine, who attended the ceremony in order to celebrate the new, clean, non-polluted air in town.
Itidal Zeinnedine, a wife, mother, and grandmother, was grateful for the municipality and UNIFIL for this new forest. “Our kids will be able to play from now on in a clean green public area.”
And playing was on the minds of the town’s kids, Andrew and Clara Rizk thanked UNIFIL for the newly created green space. “We no longer have to close our noses from the smell, but on the contrary.
Safad al-Batikh was granted a clean, fresh, and green start thanks to its municipality’s