Friday, 23 April 2010

Dumping Hazardous Waste


As some of you know, the Jet Driver likes to spend a lot of time outdoors.
Oman's beautiful mountains and unexplored trails are some of the main reasons why I have stayed in this country for so long.

The place is simply stunning and one has no problem understanding why more and more people want to come and see this great land and meet its amazing inhabitants.

I use Google Earth quite a lot to scope out new trekking and biking routes in the region, and a few days ago, I selected an area where I thought I could find a decent trail to explore.

I found a new track just beyond Al Jiffnain village, and was curious as to what the 30 metre-long dark area was on the trail, and hoping it was some kind of old building or maybe a ruin of some sort, I biked out onto the trail with a friend.

At first, we had to negotiate a fairly dusty trail with a rock crusher that was going at full pelt, grinding out whatever was being thrown into it.
Then the trail cleared up into nice rolling hills - perfect for a challenging but not overly emotional bike ride.

Then the smell arrived. And we wondered what on earth had died there.
We have experienced the smell in the past when a goat or a fox has met its demise in a wadi, but this smell was incredible.
Noxious, acrid and after about two minutes of inhaling it - eye-wateringly nauseating.

We came over the ridge and were utterly astonished to find…. this:

An area had been leveled to make it flat, like a giant truck park.
Then someone had bulldozed an absolutely huge trench and filled it full of waste oil, sewage, rubbish, animal remains, plastic and chemicals.

There is also piles of rotten industrial waste neatly stacked all along the clearing, which we could not photograph because we risked getting seriously ill being in proximity to them.

The smell was insane!
And we were quite honestly overwhelmed by the damage that this cesspit is doing to the area.

As you can see from the photos below, it has already begun to seep into the water table.

Photobucket

Photobucket

This was not an accidental depositing of hazardous industrial waste.

A group of individuals sat down in a board-room and had a meeting about this, and either through having no education, or more likely, a complete lack of care for the environment, regulations and the health of the local population, decided that it would be acceptable to just dump this stuff here and systematically destroy a beautiful area of land in Oman.

Now. I have questions.
I want to know:

Who is responsible for this?
Was it the owner of the rock crusher?
Was it one of the quarrying companies that are digging around there?
Who were the decision-makers on the ground at the time?
Who sponsors this company's activities?
Was there an Environmental Impact Assessment done?
What were the pre and post EIA reports?
If an EIA was not done, then why not?
Do the local people know that their land is being polluted by hazardous waste?
Are local people drinking water off the land here?
Are they giving this water to their children?

This area is accessible by 4x4 and even by normal vehicles.
I urge anyone with an element of clout to go up there and have a look at what it going on.

Which Ministry looks after stuff like this?
The pool of waste is so big that it even shows up on a satellite map.
For those who are interested, here is the grid reference.

23°29'27.89"N 58° 8'56.80"E

Bang it into Google Earth and have a look.

It is a total and utter criminal disgrace.

Pass this on to everyone you know.

Omanis……. your country is slowly but surely getting wrecked by a small group of wealth-hungry people who want nothing more than to make money off the back of you.
Destroying your beautiful land in order to get rich and they think that dumping hazardous industrial waste off the beaten track will not be found out.

Well, guess what?
There are more and more expats who love exploring deep inside the jebels where locals tend not to go.
I am one of those explorers….and now that I know what these things look like on Google Earth, I'm off to start looking for more.

The Jet Driver is on a mission!

20 comments:

pinaki said...

yeah, I hike through the surrounding wadis very frequently and came across this stench while exploring the road which i presumed led to nowhere.. incredible!

there must be many many more of these dumps (well actually every wadi around town, lots along the yitti road too, have the usual tattered sofa, construction remnants, tires etc) but none smell like a concentration camp on a muggy night. except this one. unpleasant even by local standards.

fred_says said...

Rather than mentioning this on a blog and hoping someone will take this up on your behalf, please go to the Ministry of Environmental affairs and make an official complaint.

Thats What I said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Thats What I said...

The crusher to the North East 23.5N 58.176E is the only heavy vehicle access to the dump site …….so presumably the vehicles will be from the Crusher which also appears to have substantial holding tanks of ?
Given the situation that appears to be evolving in Sohar Ghadhafan village over the pollution coming out of the industrial Sohar Port it seems that dealing with such pollution is not a high priority . The former Municipal dump in Sunub probably holds more horrors

Anonymous said...

Well found JD.

I suggest that you email a link to this thread to the media. I attach a few email addresses:

kiran@y-oman.com mohana@apexstuff.com theweek@apexstuff.com editor@omanobserver.com aalrahbi@hotmail.com vishwaspaul@timesofoman.com shabiba@omantel.net.om vinotnair@yahoo.com hieditor@timesofoman.com hi@timesofoman.com vaz.hubert@gmail.com faces@timesofoman.com eomantribune@alwatan.com.om ali@alwatan.com dubai.newsroom@reuters.com ktravi@omantel.net.om gulfnewsoman@yahoo.co.uk;
editor@y-oman.com
priya@y-oman.com

Amber said...

ewwww...sludge. Nast.

Jet Driver said...

Anon

Be a darling..... and email it for me please.

Jet Driver's anonymity is important :)

Many thanks

JD

Anonymous said...

I'm sure a person of your obvious talents can set up a fictitious email address. It is, after all, your story.

Anonymous said...

I'll pass it on to the guys at MECA. Who knows, they mayt even do something about it.

R

Anonymous said...

Environment/Water Resources have been to look at the site and take samples. No need for anyone to do anything else at the moment. Will let you know when I have more details

Jet Driver said...

Anon

Thank you so much!
I will be very interested to see what they find out.

JD

Anonymous said...

Please everybody be advised, this matter was well known to the appropriate authorities & is being dealt with for some time now. The flat land area in question was actually allocated officially for a company from town to dry fish for processing as the original location in town was too much for the residents.
Later the use for this purpose was also cancelled.
The company has illegally now used this area for dumping, not only the fish oil waste as per the photos but at the other end also waste fish heads, garbage and other things that the original correspondent maybe didn't see.
Full penalty and restoration measures will be applied, however the company carries much "wasta" and this makes quick implementation very difficult - an unfortunate but real fact of life here !!!
The site has nothing to do with the crusher people.

Alhamask said...

JD, thank you so much for this eye opening post! Would you happen to know if this particular case ever appeared in the local news papers???

Jet Driver said...

Alhamask

I do not know if it did, however, someone did leave a list of email addresses that you can use to bring this issue to the attention of some of Oman's finest journalists.

Feel free to send them the link to this post.

Jet Driver cannot send emails to them directly at this time but would appreciate anyone else doing it.

Regards

JD

Alhamask said...

Thank you JD, I will email the journalists without fail!

Anonymous said...

Great going JD! I see you've made the Muscat Daily front page with this. Mabrook!

DJ

Jet Driver said...

Have !????

Awesome!

JD

Nadia said...

I can't believe someone actually quoted a blogger on the front page headline of Muscat Daily. A salute to you my friend!

Anonymous said...

You are a great blogger Mr. JD. Keep it up!

Jet Driver said...

Anon

Thank you

JD