Dubai's International City residents kick up a stink over sewage smell

DUBAI // Residents of International City in Dubai have had enough with holding their noses from the stench of Al Aweer sewage treatment plant. They said gas emissions from the plant at Warsan 1 had become more toxic and more frequent, although the plant has been operating since the start of the community. Jumeirah Village […]

DUBAI // Residents of International City in Dubai have had enough with holding their noses from the stench of Al Aweer sewage treatment plant.

They said gas emissions from the plant at Warsan 1 had become more toxic and more frequent, although the plant has been operating since the start of the community.

Jumeirah Village Triangle residents have also complained to Nakheel, the master developer, about lorries transporting sewage through their community.

Last week, Nakheel announced a new sewage pipeline from Jumeirah Park, claiming the problem should be resolved by next year.

Similar problems have been reported in Desert Springs Village and Discovery Gardens, as well as Mistral Villas in Umm Al Quwain.

International City residents are not alone in their concerns over air quality, but many worry that there is no prospect of a resolution.

“It is a problem we have had to live with for almost a year,” said P V, a marketing manager who has lived in the area since 2014.

“The Emirates cluster is most affected as it is directly opposite the sewage treatment plant.

“There was a bad smell from it last year, but only late at night, and it would have lifted by early morning.

“Since January, the smell has been there from much earlier in the day, and lasts a lot longer.”

Residents initially took their complaints to Nakheel. They said they were told there was nothing the developer could do because the plant was operated by Dubai Municipality.

Neither Nakheel nor the municipality responded to a request for comment on the complaints.

Indian expatriate R J has been living in International City for a year. “People come to International City because it is an affordable place to live, particularly if you have a family to support or are new to Dubai,” he said. “Initially there was no problem when we moved in. The smell is getting worse and it is forcing people to move out of the area.”

Danielle, a South African, has been living there for three years and was looking to move, as the fumes and odour were making life unbearable, she said.

“For some reason, the smell has become horrific. You can’t breathe and it makes you want to vomit,” she said.

“It is a sewage smell but there is a chemical smell also. The plant is opposite our house.

“When I moved in, it wasn’t as severe. It’s not so bad during the day, but starts about 7pm. You can smell it in the apartment and by 10pm it is overpowering.”

Dubai’s growing population means sewage treatment is big business in the emirate.

In May, Dubai Municipality announced a Dh2.8 billion upgrade to sewage treatment works in Jebel Ali to help cope with a decade of planned expansions, including Expo 2020 zones.

The emirate’s daily capacity of sewage is expected to more than double from 300,000 to 675,000 cubic metres.

High concentrations of odour from sewage sludge can have health consequences, experts said.

Chronic lung conditions, asthma and rhinitis are risk factors associated with long-term exposure to toxic pollutants in the air around chemical plants.

“Asthmatics will be more at risk from changes to the air quality around them,” said Dr Ahmed Alhaj Saleh, an internal medicine consultant at Medeor 24×7 Hospital in Dubai.

“Changes to environmental conditions can be a big factor in encouraging asthmatic attacks. Pollution in general from factories, or smoke, can be difficult to control for people living nearby,” he said.

“We know it is an issue, as patients working in these types of factories feel better at the weekends when they are at home.”

nwebster@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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