Saturday, January 31, 2009

No kidding ...

Having spent a fair part of my life in that part of the world and its fleet of shi'ite trucks, unique garbage disposal traditions, and interesting view on environmental protection - I also find the sky to be blue on most inhabited planets.
A noxious tide of toilet paper, raw sewage and chemical waste has transformed Dubai’s most prestigious stretch of shoreline into a foul-smelling health hazard.

A stretch of the exclusive Jumeirah Beach — a magnet for Western tourists and home to a string of hotels — has been closed. “It’s a cesspool. Our tests show too many E. coli to count. It’s like swimming in a toilet,” said Keith Mutch, the manager of the Offshore Sailing Club, which has posted warnings and been forced to cancel regattas.The pollution is a blow to Dubai’s reputation as an international holiday destination offering almost guaranteed sunshine and clear seas.

The debate over who is to blame is also turning toxic, pitting the city’s wealthy expatriates against local authorities, who have been criticised for failing to stop lorry drivers dumping human and industrial waste into the ocean.

The row also illustrates how Dubai’s rapid development threatens to outpace the Emirates’ ability to enforce environmental standards, angering the foreigners that the boom town seeks to attract. Mr Mutch first detected trouble during a walk on the beach last summer. “The stench was unbearable and the water was a muddy brown. There was toilet paper in the sand,” he recalled.
I only hope it made its way to Michael Jackson's hidey-hole.

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