call-for-pigeon-netting-on-craigavon-bridgeBEIRUT: Rats and pigeons will no longer be able to penetrate the grain silos at Beirut Port, Economy Minister Alain Hakim assured Monday after a visit to the facility.

But a photographer from The Daily Star witnessed pigeons feeding on wheat that was poured from the silos into the open beds of delivery trucks.

“The silos were insulated from rodents, birds and [everything that comes] from the port,” Hakim told reporters after his tour.

“The silos’ internal and external work has been improved.”

Hakim’s announcement came more than two months after Health Minister Wael Abu Faour toured the facility and said he discovered that “the Lebanese are sharing wheat with rats and pigeons.”

In Monday’s comments, Hakim said Abu Faour’s visit last December was “positive in terms of remarks,” but stressed that the rehabilitation work in the silos had begun six months earlier. He added that he was in close contact with the health minister over the silos file.

But the fact that pigeons are still accessing the wheat after it is transferred to delivery trucks indicates that the risk of contamination still remains high.

“This was an inspection visit, and we will visit the silos soon with Minister Abu Faour,” Hakim said.

He noted that there was a difference between the silos in question and the “well-closed bunkers” where grains are completely isolated.

Hakim highlighted the importance of insulating the silos as part of improving the provided services, and revealed that restoration work was being carried out by the facility’s workers under the direct supervision of qualified engineers.

“Let the Lebanese rest assured that Lebanese wheat is being handled by Lebanese hands,” he said.

“The wheat is fine and we are improving the spaces surrounding it,” the economy minister added.


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