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Sat 1 Mar 2008 04:00 AM

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Plans required to stop coast damage

The UAE's coastline could be threatened by construction activity unless a strict environmental management plan is enforced, according to a report by Dubai Municipality.

The UAE's coastline could be threatened by construction activity unless a strict environmental management plan is enforced, according to a report by Dubai Municipality.

The study by the municipality's environment department into waterfront development, particularly along Dubai's creek, found construction waste to be among the major threats to the marine environment.

The report said: "The waterfront of the creek provides a major attraction for multibillion dollar, mixed-use development projects representing the economic boom of the country."

"However, the multipurpose use contributes to an increasing influx of organic matter, nutrients, heavy metals and petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants which ultimately settle at the bottom of the creek, drastically leading to water deterioration."

The report, which was issued at last week's PIANC-COPEDEC VII - the international summit on coastal and port engineering - called for a strict environment management plan for the protection of the marine environment to be implemented.

"Dubai's coastline development is among the most intensive and ambitious in the world," said Essa Al Maidour, assistant director of Dubai Municipality's general projects section and chairman of PIANC-COPEDEC's local organising committee.

"It is the magnitude of the projects. And in an environment like ours, as we work towards such a magnitude we have to be careful."

"We must ensure that what we're doing does not have a negative impact on the surroundings."

"We could develop a lot of good physical structures, but if we have bad work around us, then this does not achieve anything."

Al Maidour added that Dubai Municipality has set up a special department which is taking care of the physical and environmental issues related to coastal development.

"We've established a database which monitors changes, whether they are positive, negative or neutral in order to establish an equilibrium line for the ecological system, whether it's for offshore or inland development.

"We're trying to make sure our development is sustainable and won't effect the ecological system of the area."

"In any project like this, for sure there are risks. We just have to account for them and be able to move forward with the maximum security."

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