A huge dumping of oil has been washing over the beaches at
The oil started appearing on Monday (23 May 2011) but by Tuesday afternoon it had arrived with greater intensity.
The oil was in a band about twenty yards wide from the beach out to sea. According to Al Aqah hotel guests on Tuesday the beaches were closed. Nobody was allowed in the sea from the Rotana Hotel to
Guests said the oil was causing their eyes to water and the pungent smell was most unpleasant.
One guest reported seeing a turtle raise its head through the oily sea surface but who knows if it will survive.
Hotel workers along the Al Aqah stretch were working strenuously to clean the beaches but with so much oil still in the water it appeared as if it would be a long process.
It is one thing to get the beach to the point where guests can walk on it without them getting tar on their feet or shoes. It is another thing to thoroughly clean the beaches so they are brought back to a satisfactory condition.
Newly appointed head of the Environment Protection Department of the
Prevention is Better than Cure
When reminded of the most recent oil dumping at Al Aqah last month and asked what more is being done in the way of prevention, Fatma mentioned that a new plan was being devised to combat oil dumpings. This will address early surveillance and using technology to accurately detect the tanker from which the oil is being discharged through to reviewing such matters as policing, penalties and cleanup operations.
Fatma said that the problem is too big for it to be left to municipalities and that there needs to be a national approach.
The new plan will involve a significant amount of work and is likely to be released and put into operation sometime in 2012.
Isn’t it Ironic?
As the oil is washing up on the beaches, delegates at the Wetlands Workshop and the Ramsar Convention from the UAE and the surrounding region are inside one of the Al Aqah hotels discussing more effective ways of conserving protected areas and hearing reports from the Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME).
This article is also posted on the
Image: A photo taken on Tuesday of one of the Al Aqah beaches, showing traces of oil in the sand and the dark band of oil in the sea.