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 Dana El Baltaji
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?