Bahrain firms face pollution clampdown
Manama, February 3, 2013
Companies found guilty of flouting recommended air pollution limits in a Bahrain village are facing legal action, said a report.
The warning comes as an Italian company nears completion of a six-month study into air quality levels in Ma'ameer and its surrounding areas, according to a report published by our sister newspaper, the Gulf Daily News.
Residents have for years claimed fumes from nearby factories were responsible for health problems and deaths in the village.
The study, being carried out by Ferrara-based company Unitec Innovation in Analysis, is expected to be completed next month and hopes to finally establish some conclusive evidence about the issue.
The firm, which has carried out similar studies in Europe, has been assessing the air quality at various locations in the village and its surrounding areas to identify sources of pollution and the causes.
It will also study the impact of weather, meteorology and urban congestion on air pollution and submit a series of short and long-term recommendations.
"The law states that if a source of pollution is found that exceeds the national standard, then our minister has the right to shut down the source but either way we will file a memo in the courts," said Supreme Council for Environment director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani.
"Once the case has reached the court it is up to them to decide what must be done."
Unitec Asia general manager Viren Sharma, who is based in Sharjah, regularly flies to Bahrain to monitor the air quality tests.
"We have submitted the initial findings to the Supreme Council for Environment but I can't give any details about them," he said. "We get findings monthly and will update whoever is contracting us but due to our contract with the Bahrain government we cannot release any of the information."
Ma'ameer Environmental Activists Committee head Mohammed Jawad was hopeful about the outcome of the study.
"The Italians came and visited me in my place in Ma'ameer and gave me assurances of the company's transparency and I am sure they will do what they say as a respected European company," he said.
Jawad alleged pollution levels in the village had increased cancer rates and children born with physical disabilities and claimed to have knowledge of at least 70 cases.
But Dr Al Zayani said such claims could not be attributed to pollution levels without definitive evidence.
"It is our responsibility to investigate these claims which is why we have brought in an independent company with no agenda to study the area," he said. "The evidence needs to be received first before claims can be made."
Dr Al Zayani said special monitors had been operating in the area for three years measuring the level of 13 main toxins found globally.
"Locating the source of pollution is a complicated task but everything has to be taken into mind including wind speed and direction," he said. "The monitors will group their data to make a model that can accurately find the main sources for the different kinds of pollution in the air." – TradeArabia News Service