Off Lebanese coast, old army tanks used in fight for marine life

(CNN) — Environmentalists in Lebanon dropped military tanks into the Mediterranean Sea over the weekend in an offbeat effort at marine conservation.

The project aims to build an “underwater park” for sea life and create an artificial coral reef.

Ten pieces of equipment provided by the Lebanese Armed Forces were sunk off the coast of southern port city of Sidon.

The Friends of the Coast of Sidon, which led the initiative, said the equipment consists of six tanks and four other armored vehicles.

“It will provide an optimal environment for the growth and multiplication of coral reefs and fish eggs; in addition to being an environmental and maritime tourism center.”

The park “is the largest underwater facility of its kind” in the Mediterranean’s eastern basin, the group said.

“It aims to contribute in reviving, renewing and enriching marine life and to provide the city a new attraction for environmental and marine tourism goers and diving lovers and professionals,” the group said.

Lebanon’s coastline is world renowned but years of pollution has dirtied the Mediterranean waters. Since 2015, the country has also grappled with overflowing and festering landfills that spill trash onto the beaches and into sea.

The environmentalists hope the new underwater tank reef will help in the revival and regeneration of Lebanon’s marine life.

A similar tactic was used in the United States nearly a decade ago when over 2,500 New York subway cars were used to create an underwater reef for fish in the Atlantic.