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Libya’s Farwa Island Risks becoming a Victim of Lawlessness

An uninhabited 13-kilometre-long sandbar cut off at high tide in far western Libya, Farwa appears picture-postcard idyllic, with scattered date palms on white sandy beaches and ringed by the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has said Farwa is potentially the “most important coastal and marine site in western Libya, in terms of its high marine and coastal biodiversity”. But it faces a long list of threats, said Fawzi Dhane from local environmental group Bado, identifying illegal fishing and pollution as key worries. The island, which lies close to the border with Tunisia, is made up of sand dunes stretching over 4.7 square kilometres. Its lagoon and salt marshes are also home to flamingos.