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What a waste

What a waste

A lawyer takes on the Ajman government only days after the international media reported Dubai’s sewage ongoing problem.

February 4, 2009 1:41 by

An Ajman-based lawyer is taking a number of government bodies to court over the environmental and health impacts of a dump near a residential area, reports The National.

Abdel al Kumaiti, who lives near the site, is taking legal action against the Federal Environment Authority, the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Ministry of Health and the Ajman Municipality and Planning Department.

“First we ask that the damage be assessed, damage to the soil, the water, the air, other living creatures and of course human beings, then based on that we will determine what compensation will be suitable,” al Kumaiti said.

The lawyer was contacted by other residents in the area who have been affected by the dump, but they refused to add their name to the case: “They are concerned they might lose their jobs,” explained al Kumaiti, “so I decided to file the case under my own name. But they have supplied me with enough evidence, medical reports and testimony to proceed.”

“We cannot bury our heads in the sand, it is not only our duty to take action, it is our responsibility to future generations,” he said. “We should ask ourselves are we happy to live this way?”

The news comes only days after the world media honed in on Dubai’s sewage problem. In an article published in abc NEWS titled “Filthy Rich: Dubai Choking on Sewage,” Dr, Mohammad Raouf, a Dubai-based environmental economist said: “Here is the main problem I believe: we grow very fast without taking into consideration all possible negative impacts,” claiming that Dubai’s archipelagos do not help the environment’s overall health.

The article was written after a report appeared on the Times Online website titled “Sun, sea and sewage in the playground of the rich in Dubai” dated January 29, 2009. The article cites Keith Mutch, the manager of the Offshore Sailing Club, stating that in spite of his warnings to the Dubai Municipality that truck loads of sewage are being dumped into storm drains, the local government has done little.

“The water is still not safe. It’s a bleak situation and we don’t know what else we can do,” he said.

On February 2, 2009, only four days after the Times Online article was public, the Dubai government announced that the emirate’s beaches are clean.

Why does the nation have these environmental problems when its individual governments are clearly striving for modernity? And what will the Ajman and the Dubai governments do in order to ensure that even without outspoken members of the community, like Abdel al Kumaiti and Keith Mutch, that they will act independently to resolve such pressing issues?

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  1. Hani on February 5, 2009 7:37 am

    Gaining a fortune or a lifestyle at the expense of your health, which one is more valuable. The sewarge problem should be fully transparent to the public, the water that comes to our homes should be tested. The quality of the air we breath, and this is not only for the expat community but also to the local communitey as we share the same environment.

  2. Catherine on February 5, 2009 10:59 am

    It’s a shame that such a new and emerging country is still so backwards and selfish in its thinking towards each other and the environment. The rest of the world has made environmental mistakes and are now ‘trying’ to amend them. It just seem plain ignorant and greedy that UAE government aren’t learning from others mistakes and implementing the technology and policies that DO already exist so that this country could actually be ‘green’, and an example to the rest of the world.

    I’m sick of reading all this ‘fluff’ in the newspapers about different ‘green’ initiatives and products when it’s just talk and spin.

    Everyday I see people throwing rubbish out their windows or leaving litter on the beach, buying off-road enormous cars – but never leaving a sealed road – people putting two banana’s in a massive plastic bag.. and the list goes on.

    The government needs to step up and implement policies and laws that encourage people and business to make sustainable decisions.

  3. Kevin on February 8, 2009 10:32 am

    The UAE needs to seriously address its grave and life threatening ongoing sewage problem. I have rarely come across countries investing billions in major developments while turning a blind eye to basic amenities. This sewage problem is life threatening and cannot be neglected any longer. The word must be spread around to cease frequenting the UAE’s sea shore which has become a cesspool; it has become like swimming in a toilet, LITERALLY.


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