The critical environmental and sustainability issues of Libya:
- Water Crisis
A major environmental concern is the depletion of underground water as a result of overuse in agricultural developments, causing salinity and sea-water penetration into the coastal aquifers. 93% of the total land surface of Libya receives less than 100mm rainfall a year. Libya has 0.8 cu km of renewable water resources with 87% used in farming activity and 4% for industrial purposes. Only about 68% of the people living in rural areas have access to pure drinking water.
The economy of Libya depends primarily on revenues from the petroleum sector, which represents over 95% of export earnings and 60% of GDP. Its economy depends primarily on the oil sector, which represents about 69 percent of export earnings. These oil revenues and a small population have given Libya one of the highest nominal per capita GDP in Africa.
After 2000, Libya recorded favourable growth rates with an estimated 10.6% growth of GDP in 2010. This development was interrupted by the Libyan Civil War, which resulted in contraction of the economy by 62.1% in 2011. After the war the economy rebounded by 104.5% in 2012, but then crashed again following the Second Libyan Civil War. As of 2017, Libya’s per capita PPP GDP stands at 60% of its pre-wars level.
- Conflicts/ Civil War
Conflicts have devastated much of Libya’s once flourishing health care system, most notably in the urban centers of Tripoli, Sirte and the rural south. In one year, the U.N. reported 36 attacks on medical facilities and personnel, though many suspect the actual number is higher. The biggest hindrance to improving Libya’s life expectancy is the civil war. The WHO estimates that 1.2 million people are suffering from food insecurity as a result of the conflict and more than 650,000 have unreliable access to safe drinking water and sanitation. Roughly 30,000 people have suffered from conflict-related injuries and a sharp rise in gendered violence has severely affected communities across the country.
Poverty is a key cause of Hunger in Libya. Of Libya’s 6.4 million people, 40% live below the poverty line. Conflict is also one of the leading causes of hunger. Approximately 21 percent of the world’s undernourished people are affected by conflict. This is especially relevant in Libya, where roughly 90 percent of the population is affected by violence. Hunger in Libya has an impact on child development as well. Stunting (low height for age) and wasting (low weight for height) affects 21 and 4 percent of children under five, respectively.
An assessment survey, conducted by the WHO and MOH, showed that 17 out of 97 hospitals are closed and only 4 hospitals are functional between 75-80% of its capacity. Over 20% of primary health care facilities are closed and the remaining hospitals are overcrowded, struggling to perform basic procedures as medicines and supplies are often depleted and many health care providers have fled the country.