At least they aren't they hard of smelling

Smelly effluent mars affluent Dubai's beaches

DUBAI'S beautiful beaches had been making headlines because of a couple who had sex by the sea, but a more pervasive nuisance from washed up sewage threatens to deter tourists.

For several weeks some of the emirate's fabled beaches have been covered with the stinking contents of septic tanks as Dubai suffers the consequences of its frantic and poorly controlled development.

The foul effluent, which threatens to damage Dubai's image, highlights one of the paradoxes of the emirates - it can build the world's tallest tower and six-star hotels but has not constructed the sewage works it needs.

Dubai officially had 1.3 million inhabitants at the end of 2006 but its population is ballooning.

New apartment blocks and neighbourhoods are rising everywhere at a record pace, but infrastructure is dragging behind.

For example, the city still has no main drainage system, hence the need for tankers to collect the contents of septic tanks and transport the waste to the emirate's only sewage treatment works at Al-Awir, out in open desert.

A second plant is under construction but will not be in use until next year.

For the moment, the existing site is operating at full capacity and the queue of tankers awaiting their turn to unload snakes out of site amid a miasma of nauseating fumes.

"The wait can be more than 10 hours. It is hard to bear, especially when it is hot," Ijaz Mohammed, a tanker driver from Pakistan, said.

Drivers are paid by the journey and in September some of them got fed up with the long queues and started offloading into the ditches intended as run-offs for the rare showers of rain.

The dumped effluent first runs into the sea, then drifts onto beaches, in particular those of the fashionable Jumeirah district, home to some of Dubai's swankiest hotels.

"This pollution is accidental and results from the practices of certain drivers," Mohammed Abdelrahmane Hasan, held of the city council's environmental services department, said.

Read more: Smelly effluent mars affluent Dubai's beaches | (external - login to view)
Makes me wonder if they aren't headed towards a black-plague kind of outbreak if they don't start creating a proper sewage system.

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