Sunday, February 1, 2009

DM gives clean chit to Dubai's beaches

Dubai, 01 February 2009: Dubai Municipality has clarified that all beaches in Dubai are safe for swimming and that beach-goers need not worry about their health, contrary to rumours being spread by people with malicious intention.

Salem Bin Mohammed Mesmar, Assistant Director General of Dubai Municipality for Health, Safety & Environment Control, said the problem of sewage discharge into storm water drains that polluted a small stretch of Jumeira beach has now been resolved completely and periodic lab tests show that the water is safe to swim and there is no health hazard whatsoever.

"We had closed the beach for a brief period earlier last month and had reopened it on 20 January after taking the necessary steps to ensure its water quality. At present, people are swimming in all beaches of Dubai including the beach in question which is just 300 meters long," he said.

Mesmar added that the Municipality takes water samples from all of Dubai's 12 beaches regularly and test them at the Dubai Central Laboratory. The tests' periodicity varies from monthly to weekly depending on various factors including water pollution.

"Our latest tests show that the presence of E.Coli in the water is within the permitted level which is less than 100 MPN (Maximum Probable Number). Sometimes, beach closure happens due to various reasons including disposal of sewage, red tide, oil spill, fish mortality, and algal bloom effect and this is very common," he explained.

He noted that beaches around the world are subject to such phenomenon and Dubai is no exception. "What matters is prompt action and we have taken all necessary steps in this regard," he said.

Explaining measures that have been taken by the municipality to prevent illegal disposal of sewerage in storm water drains, Mesmar said a special taskforce has been formed by the civic body to detect tanker drivers who commit the illegal act. So far, some 208 drivers who attempted to dispose the water in the storm water drains have been nabbed by the team in cooperation with Dubai Police. Each of them has been fined Dhs100,000. The municipality has also announced a cash reward of Dhs2000 for whoever tips-off the civic body about such attempts and some 30 people have already benefited from this as well.

"Preserving the environment is everyone' responsibility. We urge the public to cooperate with us in tipping us off anyone who would try to break the law and cause pollution to our environment and beaches."

Mesmar also announced that the first phase of a new Dhs1.55 billion sewage treatment plant, which is being built at Jebel Ali with a total capacity of 300,000 cubic metres, is expected to be ready for operation by August this year. The plant will be fully operational by 2010.

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