23 May, 2008

Places of natural beauty trashed

The National:
Fujairah wadis choking on waste
Sandra Knuteson, the assistant professor of environmental science at the American University of Sharjah, collected and measured rubbish – including plastic bottles, glass, aluminium cans, paper, food wrapping and nappies – discarded at two popular wadis in Fujairah and Hatta.
The scientist started her project in December, when she decided to estimate the impact of the National Day weekend on Hatta Pools. She cleaned up an area 300 metres long and 100 metres wide around the wadi a week before the long weekend, removing 183kg of rubbish from the site.

However, the following Monday, another 81kg of waste had appeared. Two-thirds of the rubbish was plastic and broken glass. The rest was aluminium cans, crisp wrappers, toys, nappies, styrofoam containers, cigarette butts, food and paper.

A similar method was used at Wadi Wuraya, a picturesque waterfall in the mountains of Fujairah. The project was carried out with volunteers from HSBC and the Emirates Wildlife Society – World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), which is working with the Fujairah Government to have the wadi declared a protected area.

On March 8, the volunteers removed 115.9kg of rubbish from a 0.05 square kilometre area. Two weeks later, 42kg was collected. Ms Knuteson believed the amount could have been substantially larger if a municipality clean-up had not been carried out during the two weeks.

Glass made up 47 per cent of the litter and some of the bottles were broken, putting the public’s safety at risk. There were also plastic, soft drink cans, cigarette lighters and batteries.

“The batteries are a danger to water quality,” said Ms Knuteson, adding that the acids contained in them can leak into the soil, reaching groundwater supplies.

Apart from being unsightly, litter is a threat to the well-being of animals.


Anonymous said...

I really want to be shocked, outraged and upset by this...but this is where we are and sad to say it is going on to a greater or lesser degree in my country and yours often with government consent.

It still doesn't make it right.

alexander said...

Warraya or Wuraya or however you want to spell it, used to be lovely - a site of untouched beauty only accessible through something like 18km of wadi bed. The day they built a road up to it was the day it became a graffiti-scarred mess.

Hatta, now that it's blacktop, is only going to get worse. And it was always bad (even if the Omanis do occasionally paint over the graffiti).

I fear there's little joy to be had here.

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