The Dark Side of Dubai

This is a very excellent and interesting article on the present state of the Emirate of Dubai. Pretty amazing. It is a long article, but is very well-written and engaging. Most interesting to me was the part about the environment and the sewage being pumped out into the sea, which, of course, is where people swim while they are there on vacation.

Also new to me was the info about the carbon footprint, which is very high per capita bc of the huge amount of energy used for desalination.

[One hotel employee talks about the beaches:]"It started like this. We began to get complaints from people using the beach. The water looked and smelled odd, and they were starting to get sick after going into it. So I wrote to the ministers of health and tourism and expected to hear back immediately – but there was nothing. Silence. I hand-delivered the letters. Still nothing."

The water quality got worse and worse. The guests started to spot raw sewage, condoms, and used sanitary towels floating in the sea. So the hotel ordered its own water analyses from a professional company. "They told us it was full of fecal matter and bacteria 'too numerous to count'. I had to start telling guests not to go in the water, and since they'd come on a beach holiday, as you can imagine, they were pretty pissed off." She began to make angry posts on the expat discussion forums – and people began to figure out what was happening. Dubai had expanded so fast its sewage treatment facilities couldn't keep up. The sewage disposal trucks had to queue for three or four days at the treatment plants – so instead, they were simply drilling open the manholes and dumping the untreated sewage down them, so it flowed straight to the sea. [...]

HT to JS, the complete article by Johann Hari is over at The Independent. Kudos to them for this excellent journalism.


Anonymous said…
Don said…
Reminds me of old Lake Worth (1960's.) You could get a bad wiff of sewage if the current and tides were right (or wrong!)

If you look at the top photo here, you can actually see the dividing line between the inland/sewage affected water and the ocean water.

Wonder if these kinds of things were visible in Dubai?

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