Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Nabeeh Saleh Island in 1954 and in 1998
We live on an island yet what beach can you go to on a day out with the kids? Tubli Bay has gone from 24km to 10km due to coastline alterations and places like Sa7il Abu Sub7 in Duraz is not the best place to go paddling. Land reclamation leaves the coastline muddy, rocky and jagged. Where sewage is dumped offshore, I have seen it washing up on some coasts, with some coastlines being the closest rubbish dumps to dispose of waste. There was ONE project of opening a public beach I think somewhere near Hidd, but with over a 150 kilometers of coastline, this isn’t going far enough. I haven’t even touched on the danger that dredging sand from the sea bed poses on marine life and the coral reefs that Bahrain is famous for. Its hardly surprising that Bahrain (along with most other Arab countries) has not signed up to the Kyoto protocol against global warming, as the environment is about as important to the government as Alsaiidi’s bumfluff. Hell, they're reclaiming land so fast that map drawers can't even keep up. Yet 40% of the southern part of the island is a 'restricted area' off-bounds to the populace.
In the UAE, Sh. Zayed succeeded in turning a desert into arable land, and planted millions of palm trees. In Bahrain, which was once called the ‘island of a million palm trees’ we have conversely succeeded in turning arable land into desert. Increasing land prices and higher demand for land has meant the commercial value of a mazra3a or a public park is no longer viable in certain areas. Following the rapid industrialisation during the 1970s and 80s, the government’s failure in imposing strict guidelines and investing in the protection of preserved areas like the ‘green belt’ in South-West England has meant that we’ll be lucky if we have a single home-grown palm tree left on the island. Palm trees are considered a luxury piece of décor only fit enough to line the streets or Rifaa leading to the Kings palace in Safrya.
The damage is done on mainland Bahrain, but with a little TLC and a few palm trees seeds we might just be able to restore some of the island’s former glory. Oh yes, and how could I forget that the PM and the King have kindly left a few islands untouched, namely Jedda, Um Nasan (which you can see from the Causeway) and Um Sobban, which they have been confiscated for private use. At least there is some preservation going on, I hope they enjoy it!!