The leadership of Fujairah said they would crack down on quarries in the emirate that had become hazardous and now Emirates 24/7 is reporting that “about seven quarries, which account for 10 per cent of total quarries in Fujairah, have been closed until they commit to environment standards and improve production conditions.”
An inspection of quarries in the emirate was conducted 29 July 2009 by Fujairah Natural Resources Authority (FNRA) to monitor the extent of their commitment to decisions related to the protection of environment and reduction of harmful emissions.
Chairman Mohammed Saif Al Afkham instructed all quarries to commit to all environment conditions and decisions.
How do you evaluate a quarry? Do you need the training of a dentist to spot cavities, or weak areas that have the potential for the structure to collapse? What instruments are needed to give a quarry the once over?
The report says that a number of quarries were inspected on the one day which appears to be a superficial look rather than an extended examination. How long does it take to give a quarry a thorough evaluation?
International Standards and Local Features
What criteria are involved in an evaluation and do these have to conform to an international standard? Are there any features of a quarry assessment that would be unique to the UAE or specifically to Fujairah and the Hajar mountains?
Hazardous to Human Health and Buildings
Some of the Fujairah quarries are located far too close to human communities and when the wind is blowing the dust is thick and harmful to one’s health. What are the other harmful emissions apart from flying rocks?
What about the level of noise pollution and the potential damage that can be done by blasting and the vibration of the ground?
Does the evaluation involve a human health survey to insure that the health risks from Fujairah quarries are removed?
Is there an assessment of the damage to the flora and fauna and the risks to the archaeological and heritage significance of the area?
What specifically are the environmental standards that are applied in an evaluation of quarries? Is there a limit to the number, size and density of quarries in a particular area? Does it also involve assessing the degree to which quarries deface the beauty of the environment?
Who is undertaking the evaluation of the Fujairah quarries and how is objectivity assured in this process?
How often should quarries be surveyed and evaluated?
Digging for Details
Could the FNRA supply us with more details on the criteria against which Fujairah quarries are evaluated?
Can international quarry experts who observe quarries or engage in evaluations give us more details?
Fujairah Team Inspects Quarries, Emirates 24/7, 30 July 2009.
Fujairah Crown Prince Committed to Environment Around Quarries but How? FIF, 7 October 2008.
It’s Boring in Fujairah but Sometimes It’s a Blast, FIF, 11 June 2009.
Federal Laws to Safeguard Against Quarries, FIF, 18 June 2009.
Visit Fujairah for the Hajar Mountain Drive, FIF, 10 September 2008.
Dr Geoff Pound
Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.
Image: Aerial view of quarries in the Hajars near Jabal Siji in the emirate of Fujairah (Photo courtesy of Google Earth). CLICK TO ENLARGE.
Quarry Update 16 August 2009-08-16
Quarries are responding positively to cabinet resolution: minister
WAM Dubai, 16th Aug. 2009 (WAM) -- The quarrying and mining industries in the northern emirates are responding positive to regulations introduced recently by the government for protection of the environment, H.E. Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, said today.
''We have sensed substantial response and cooperation from quarrying firms in regard to rectifying their status to fall in line with standards set out by the ministry, ''he the minister said following a surprise tour of rock crushers to inspect their commitment to the relevant regulations.
He announced that air quality had been assessed by advanced mobile sensors and that dust emission were at the minimum level.
He explained that commitment of quarries in
Dust will be analysed to identify its physical and chemical properties in order to establish a relevant data base.
On efforts made by the ministry to implement the cabinet resolution no 20 of 2008 for regulating quarries, the minister outlined a series of measures in that respect including holding of workshops and setting up of a technical office at Massafi.
''Measures are being taken to close down 13 quarries this month for failing to introduce required conditions after the grace period given to them were expired,'' the minister added.