Sunday, January 20, 2008

Bid to Save Jeddah’s Dying Coast

Sunday, 20 January 2008
By Adel Al-Malki

The municipality here has identified as many as 90 major sources of coastal pollution, including the towering Jeddah Desalination Plant that's a landmark along the Corniche.
"The Municipality used the GPS system to identify the sites," said Faisal Shawli, director of the Jeddah Municipality's Environmental Sanitation Department. "The process covered all parts of the city such as the Corniche, the main garbage dump (in the northeast) and the sewage dump (further northeast)," he said.

Along the Corniche area, as many as 19 channels from storm-water drainage networks, government quarries and cement factories pour polluting effluents into the sea.

Additionally, there is the smoke emitted from Saudi Electricity Company and Jeddah Desalination Plant, Shawli said.

The Municipality also identified more recent sources of atmospheric pollution from as-yet unidentified places along Jeddah's eastern fringe where tire-fires have been fouling up the air of late.

Shawli said a municipality team is out investigating why people are setting fire to tires and how the problem can be solved.
The northern Corniche is one of the focal points of the municipality's anti-pollution drive.
"We are working to account for all pollutants in the northern Cornish and stop the sources," Shawli said.

The anti-pollution drive is the latest of the municipality's efforts to improve the quality of life in the Red Sea coastal city. Last week, it announced completion of a three-phase city cleaning operation.

The municipality's stress on hygiene and anti-pollution measures is in keeping with the spurt of gigantic real estate development projects under way in the city.

These include five-star hotels, top-class resorts and high-end residential units such as the 40-story Al-Jawharah residential tower along the Corniche (near Hilton) and the luxury residence project in the same area by Saudi Economic and Development Co. Ltd. (SEDCO) and Singapore-based Keppel Land Ltd. Another landmark coming up along the Corniche is the Business Headquarters Park.

One research study that recently won funding from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) revealed alarming environmental pollution in Jeddah.

The study by Ahmad Bin Hassan Al-Ghamdi of King Abdulaziz University pinpointed the three main environmental hazards in Jeddah as follows: sanitary drainage 90.7 percent, air pollutants 62.1 percent and solid home-waste 21.4 percent. He estimated pollution from the three sources at 25, 36 and 12 percent respectively.

The study put the monetary cost of environmental and health hazards from sanitary drainage water as high (between SR50 million and 200 million a year), air pollutants as average (between SR5 million and SR50 million a year) and solid home waste low as average to low (less than SR5 million a year).

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission has drawn up a draft report on how badly the recent inferno at the city's garbage dump affected public health.

The report about the blaze, which raged for nearly a week, is to be submitted to the Custodian of the Holy Mosques soon, reports said.

Sewage pollution of Jeddah's coastline has been a long-standing problem.
In 1997, a published study by the Department of Marine Biology at King Abdul Aziz University said the mangrove stand of Avicennia marina in the South Corniche receives about 100,000 cubic meters of sewage per day.

The sewage has high values of COD (chemical oxygen demand), BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), nutrient concentrations, heavy metals and faecal coliform counts, the study said.

Consequently, as early as the mid-1990s. the mangrove stand occupying an area of about less than half a square kilometer, was dying or getting retarded. The study attributed the cause to the sewage discharge in the area.


Three Kingdoms said...


I am wondering if you can advise of any recent developments being announced about this lake and/or the problems along the coast line?

Much thanks,

Anonymous said...

Very interesting!
Could you be as kind to post a link to the original reportby Ahmad Bin Hassan Al-Ghamdi? It cannot find it looking on the authors name.