Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Four Actions to Make Fujairah Residents Breathe Easier

Two recent articles and a reader’s poll in The National took my breath away.

Firstly, Anna Zacharias wrote about residents in the Fujairah quarry village of Tawaian in which numerous children and adults have developed asthma, apparently due to quarry dust.

Secondly, in another article Vesela Todorova reported the UAE statistic that “man-made air pollution may have been responsible for more than 600 deaths in 2007.”

Thirdly, a reader poll was established by The National (early October 2010) asking,
“Have you experienced problems with air pollution since moving to the UAE?”

This poll is not statistically accurate but its conclusions are sufficiently alarming:

YES, it is a major problem 65%
, it has not been a problem 20%
Sometimes, but it does not bother me 15%

Action Commended
The National articles were balanced in their reporting and recognized the important work that the Fujairah Municipality had done in its monitoring of dangerous quarry sites, its insistence that companies do more to contain the dust and its decisions in closing down businesses that failed to comply with the stricter regulations.

Action Required
To build upon the good work by the Fujairah Municipality these four measures might make Fujairah residents breathe more easily:

1. Regular independent evaluations of Fujairah quarries to monitor the emission levels of pollutants in the air. The independent nature of these reports is essential as the Fujairah Government has a vested economic interest in the quarry business. The evaluations would extend to the investigation of vehicle exhaust emissions, industrial chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, desert dust and all forms of air pollutants, not just quarry dust.

2. Develop a comprehensive network of air monitoring stations on the ground and install the latest state of the art satellite systems to monitor pollution, detect unlawful polluters and effectively control our air quality.

3. Establish on the Fujairah Government web site a pollution gauge to allow people to check up-to-the-minute levels of air contamination. Devise a system of public alerts to warn people of days when there are hazardous atmospheric conditions.

4. Institute a major study as soon as possible that will work with the hospitals and all medical practitioners in the emirate to investigate the impact of air pollution on the health of Fujairah residents and to bring back its findings and recommendations to be made available to the public.

Vesela Todorova, Air Pollution a Factor in Hundreds of Deaths, The National, 7 October 2010.
Anna Zacharias, Move Us or Move the Quarries say Residents, The National, 7 October 2010.

Geoff Pound

This article is also posted on the Fujairah in Focus Facebook Page.

Image: “These four measures might make Fujairah residents breathe more easily.”

No comments: