View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Monday, October 13, 2008

Swimmers at Dubai Beaches Going Through the Motions

The putrid news is reaching as far as Britain, according to the BBC. There is raw sewerage in the sea close to Dubai’s tourist beaches. If you can’t see it you can smell it.

While officially the beaches have been given a clean bill of health, independent tests around the Dubai Offshore Sailing Club show the water to be contaminated with bacteria and human faeces floating in the sea.

What is the problem with Dubai which relies heavily on its tourists to bring income?

The blockage is at Dubai's only sewage treatment plant where there are long queues and serious delays.

Drivers are paid by the truck load to collect waste from the city's septic tanks and they currently have to wait for several hours to dispose of their foul cargo legally. The Dubai sewerage system is constipated. The system does not have the capacity to receive and process the human waste that Dubai dwellers produce.

These truck drivers say they have a crap job at the best of times. But many of them are refusing to sit down on the job. In the secrecy of the night time darkness some drivers are taking a shortcut and dumping their loads straight into manholes meant only for rainwater.

The result is raw sewage flowing directly into the once-pristine blue sea of the Persian Gulf - right next to prime swimming beaches.

The faces of the authorities are flushed. The Dubai Municipality has imposed fines of up to $25,000 and threatened to confiscate tankers if the dumping persists. Many truck drivers have been caught in recent days.

Hopefully in time the problem will pass.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Raw sewage flows directly into the sea near Dubai's exclusive yacht club (Photo courtesy of BBC at the above link).