After a dozen oil slicks on the UAE’s east coast since January, making 2008, the most damaging year, readers of the Xpress News would have been deeply disappointed to read of yet another serious spill.
The article that reported (7 August 2008) a three day beach closure at Khor Fakkan, complaints from shopkeepers and angry remarks from hoteliers and their guests, came with several photographs confirming the damning evidence.
Journalists at The National newspaper have meticulously charted the oily record in their pages (see ‘Oil Spill Blackens for Fujairah’) and have made many constructive suggestions. If the Environmental Departments of the various municipalities were run as an efficient business, after so much damage to the environment and tourism industry, managers would by now have resigned or been fired.
The Fujairah coastline environmental problem has been followed this year by international observers. Comments and letters have recently included an interest to assist from a representative responsible for such matters in Singapore, the biggest oil bunkering port in the world.
The UAE in its short history has been adept at harnessing the best talent in the world. It appears that to care for its waters and coastline UAE authorities need to develop national laws, policies and management procedures that are informed by best international practice.
Dr Geoff Pound
Source: Vikram Singh Barhat, ‘Oil Slick Licks Tourists’, Xpress, 7 August 2008.
Image: One of the many photos that need to be seen, taken by Karen Dias of Xpress and used with thanks. This photo depicts tourists trying to wipe oil off their feet and shoes. Two of the many tourists who will not return to the east coast until there is improvement.