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Wed 1 Oct 2008 09:51 AM

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Dubai coastline highly contaminated

Tests find presence of faecal matter in 'exceedingly high proportions' due to sewage dumping.

The water along parts of Dubai's coastline is highly contaminated due and not safe for swimming or sailing, independent tests have revealed.

Dubai Offshore Sailing Club said samples taken from both inside and outside the harbour in Jumeirah show the presence of faecal matter in "exceedingly high proportions" due to raw sewage that has made its way into the water because of illegal dumping into the city's storm drainage network, Dubai tabloid 7Days reported on Tuesday.

The club, which has banned all activities until the polution is cleaned up due to safety fears, brought in specialist contamination testing firm Intertek to check the level of polution.

"We were shocked by the findings of the company. The samples showed the presence of faecal matter in exceedingly high proportions both within the harbour as well as outside it," Dr Michael Loubser, a club member and a specialist paediatrician, told the newspaper.

“We have stopped all our activities after the test results fearing the health hazard. We have asked people not to swim or sail in the waters until it is cleared.

“I am not sure to what extent the other beaches are safe."

Dubai Municipality and doctors on Sunday warned beachgoers to stay out of the sea after it was discovered sewage tanker drivers have been dumping waste illegally to avoid long queues at Dubai's only sewage treatment plant.

The sewage has affected the waters close to Jumeirah Open Beach and further up the coast in the same area.

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brandaid 11 years ago

The waters are contaminated with feacel matter...people are sleeping in their cars....The municipality are cutting off peoples water and electricity if they share housing, every Gov't department is trying to 'fee' us to death....the price of property is outragious, the cost of living is skyrocketing, the traffic is the worst in the Gulf..school fees are out of this world and the quality of everything is so bad it isn't funny. Paradise in the Gulf is becoming hell on earth...time to go.

R Woodward 11 years ago

It is surprising that these tests were carried only after visible evidence was found. In the EU and the US beaches are regularly tested for bacteria and other contaminants. It may now be fortunate that the beach property developers have destroyed the flow of inshore water that not all beaches will suffer. Of course if you can afford the AED 5-30m to buy on the Palms your beaches are flushed by the tide. When is Dubai going to put in a testing programme to protect the 70% population not living on the Palms.

stefan 11 years ago

We do whine a bit about life in dubai but the beach sewerage issue is v alrming. not that this happened as many beaches worldwide are periodically affected; its the fact that a sailing club and not the Municipality discovered it. Government requires responsibility and the persons responsible should think about the consequences of their inaction while their celebrating Eid with their families.

Louie Tedesco 11 years ago

Readers and commentators will have noted that complaints appear only to come from the expatriate population. Do we care more for the health, safety and the welfare of our temporary home than the indigenous population cares? How can it be that the burden of discovering and chasing down the source of the illegal sewage dumping is placed upon the manager of a private establishment, rather than the local authorities having taken immediate action? Had the expat population -as so often before- not voiced concern and justifiable outrage over this mess, who else would have cared? Perhaps we expats should impose a moratorium on our constantly valiant, yet typically failed, efforts to improve things. Stop organizing and participating in clean-up campaigns, public safety and health awareness, animal rights and protection issues. One is left with the feeling that the expats are constantly "annoying and bothering" the local authorities with constant suggestions. The closing line which we are always told is - "if you don't like it, leave…". In the end, expats are transient by nature and we will eventually return home. Why are our voices the only ones ringing out the environmental and health risks which concern this nation and affect the local population and their future generations? Indifference shown by local authorities should develop and foster the same level of indifference from the transient expat population.

Living in hope 11 years ago

Well I for one have nothing to be concerned about, I believe that Dewa, Dubai Municipality and all the bottled water companies will have it all in hand and our best interests at heart, I also belive in elfs, fairies, make believe, the tooth fairy and Santa Claus. Just boil everything and keep off the beaches for a year or two......

Swimmer 11 years ago

I have been swimming at the open beach in Jumeirah since 2000. Yeasterday my wife and I arrived to find the sea full of detritous inclusing human effluent. My point here is that that beach was left open no warning to bathers despite the issue being known to the authorities It is easy to blame the illegal tipping of effluent by truck drivers but the fact reamains that there is not an adequate sewerage infrastrcture in Dubai. Most advanced countries monitor the location of there sewerage trucks with RFID so know where they are dumping theier contents why isn't dubai. Lastly why isn't municipality taking this matter seriously? is the plan to move to Abu Dhabi where there is a sewerage infrastructure?

John Fewings 11 years ago

Well, it had to happen - the crap about Dubai as "the city that cares" is washing ashore on prime real estate areas. How fitting...

Trojan 11 years ago

The former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfield once said: "There are things that you know you know, and there are things that you know you don't know, and there are things that you don't know that you know, and there are things that you don't know that you don't know". Well, it is the last one that will kill you, and in this almost literily. This makes you just wonder, if the Dubai authorities are willing to hide such a serious public health threat just as not to spoil the openning party of the "world's 8th obscinity", what else are they hiding from us?