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Raw sewage destroying Red Sea's marine life
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 12 - 2011

In this file photo, a tanker dumps raw sewage in the sea in Jeddah. — Okaz photo
JEDDAH – Raw sewage continues to be pumped into the Red Sea years after authorities said they would solve the problem. The waste which pumps through 600 pipes is spoiling the sea and is causing massive pollution to the environment, according to a report in Al-Riyadh newspaper.
Despite the increasing number of complaints and health experts' warnings, authorities have taken no measures to deal with the pollution permeating sea water around the Corniche area, Al-Arbaeen Lake and the South Corniche in Al-Khumra.
Now fish at Al-Bangla Fish Market are showing signs of poisoning, and near Al-Nawras Square, fishermen can still be seen casting their lines for fish that swim near sewage pipes.
The 600 pipes which flow onto the sea are notorious for spewing out sewage without warning. Everyone in Jeddah is familiar with the tragic tale of a teenager called Fatima who drowned when sewage started gushing out of a nearby pipe. Fatima's body was not found for 12 days.
Al-Riyadh newspaper interviewed some environmental experts in order to illustrate the dangers that raw sewage poses to human beings. Dr. Anwar Ishqi, Director of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, said that Jeddah suffers from high levels of pollution due to its poor sewage infrastructure.
“Take for example Misk Lake and the pollution it causes. Because concerned authorities could not solve or contain the problem, they decided to pump the sewage of Misk Lake into the Red Sea.”
What makes things worse is the fact that most buildings located on the beach pump sewage into the sea without any treatment. This has caused damage to beaches, coral reefs and fish.
Dr. Ali Adnan Ishqi, Associate Professor of Marine Science School in Jeddah, said: “The sea is affected by sewage water, rain and floods. If the sea's salinity is affected, life in the Red Sea will become extinct.”
He also revealed that coral reefs are most affected by sewage water. “Coral reefs play a very basic role in the food network. But now they are facing extinction.”
Sewage is also being pumped into the delicate mangroves environment along the estuaries of the Red Sea. He urged everyone to “realize that the environment should be kept clean and beautiful for future generations.”
Dr. Majdah Abu Ras, Vice Executive Director of the Saudi Environment Society, warned against the dire effects of pumping raw sewage into the sea. The environmental pollution disrupts the Red Sea's environment and leads to the emergence of mutated fish, he said.
“In the long run, fish will be poisoned which will affect the fish market and economy as well,” Abu Ras said.
He feels that “concerned authorities should determine the areas where sewage should be pumped then test the water to see whether the sewage material has been treated before it was pumped into the sea.”
However, Dr. Omar Abu Ruzaiza, professor of civil engineering at King Abdul Aziz University, said there were plans to solve the problem.
He said the National Water Company is expected to connect a large part of Jeddah with new sewage pipes in 2012.
“There will be two stations with a full capacity of 500,000 cubic meters a day for treating sewage material. All sewage will be pumped into these two stations. The sewage water will be treated three times and a third of it will be reused for irrigating public gardens,” he said.

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