Saturday, 06 October 2007
By Adel Al-Malki
SOME residents of North Jeddah have vacated their homes to escape the smoke emitted by a garbage yard located in the east of the city.
"It's only the second day but we can't stand it anymore. I had to take my family to my brother's house," said Ahmad Al-Sheikh, of the Al-Marwah neighborhood. Al-Sheikh said the residents have complained to the municipality about the proximity of the garbage yard to residents. He pointed out that in other countries, garbage yards are located in remote areas with a private entity tasked to responsibly look after the disposal of the gas.
Many children and elderly people sought refuge in the Al-Salaam Clinic.
Sa'ad Al-Sayali, another affected resident, said he had stayed in the clinic for two nights in a row because the smoke from the garbage yard has been worsening the asthma of his kids.
"The smoke just keeps following us," he said.
Other residents also reported developing chest diseases since the pollution started.
Al-Marwah resident Ali Hadi said that they thought the municipality had taken care of the problem when they stopped smelling and detecting smoke for two months.
However, the smoke returned stronger than ever and lasted longer, usually overnight.
Salem Al-Harbi of Al-Rabee district said the smoke has driven family away. He recounted inviting his cousin to stay in his house who then left just two weeks later - with bad memories of the smoke and a bad case of asthma.
The municipality is said to be working on relocating the garbage yard to 25 km away from Jeddah in the next three years, and turning the current site into a park.