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Saudis responsible for destroying coral reefsin the Red Sea: Expert
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 04 - 02 - 2012

A renowned environment sciences expert has blamed Saudi nationals for polluting the Red Sea. “This is an indisputable fact,” Dr. Ali Eshki, Professor of Environment Sciences at Jeddah's King Abdulaziz University, said.
Saudi citizens should be held accountable for the destruction of marine life in the Red Sea, he said and pointed out that when municipality workers started digging the Jeddah Corniche toward the end of the 70s, they did not take into account the great damage they were doing to the marine life, especially the coral reefs.
He said coral reefs are home to some of the greatest diversity of life forms on our planet. “They are living structures consisting of different creatures. The coral polyps themselves are one of the principal builders of these amazing formations,” the professor was quoted by Al-Hayat Arabic daily as saying.
He said many possible causes of this phenomenon have been suggested. Most of the excavation was done on shores which were rich in coral reefs, and by the time construction work on the Corniche was completed, the marine life was almost destroyed. Added to this, he said, was the fact that deep digging uprooted the most important types of reefs from their roots.
He said a report by Hagen Schmid, the well-known and respected naturalist, diver and author of several books on the marine environment of the Red Sea, showed that the percentage of bleached carols was not constant. There were significant variations in different areas. It appears that the reefs which have had to cope with other additional sources of stress are much more sensitive to the causes of bleaching. Reefs to the north of the city of Jeddah, where most coastal development is currently taking place, showed much more damage (20-30 percent) than the reefs to the south of the city (5-10 percent) where relatively little or no development has taken place.
He said the principle formation of the marine life in the Red Sea is the reef formation stressing that the deep excavation work plays a big role in the destruction and pollution of marine life. He said dumping of sewage water into the Red Sea and random cutting of rare reefs must be immediatley stopped so as to preserve the environment for future generations.

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