Most swimming pools in Bahrain 'unsafe'
Manama, July 3, 2013
More than half of swimming pools in Bahrain fail to meet basic safety standards and could be putting lives at risk, according to a major inspection campaign.
Forty-eight out of 87 facilities across the country were being rented out to the public illegally, the Gulf Daily News quoted the campaign report.
Checks being carried out by the Health Ministry got underway on June 20 and will continue until July 8 to educate owners about the licensing system and safety requirements.
"Statistics showed that the total number of swimming pools open to public is 87 spread over five governorates, out of which 48 were unlicensed, located mostly in the northern area," said ministry public health directorate water and enterprises sanitation unit prevention of drowning committee head Zahra Nasser.
"According to statistics obtained from visits to swimming pools carried out by inspectors, 28 pools were unlicensed in the Northern Governorate, 10 in Muharraq, nine in Central and one in Manama."
Nasser said the majority of pools being illegally rented out to the public were located in private farms.
"Licences were issued to five of them, after checking the availability of health and safety requirements," she said.
Swimming pools are officially licensed by the Industry and Commerce Ministry and the Health Ministry, which has the power to order their closure.
Legislation was introduced in 1999 that requires pools in private residences to undergo safety inspection before they can be rented out.
Bahrain also launched a campaign in 2006 to crack down on unsupervised and insanitary swimming pools in hotels and apartment buildings following an outbreak of viral conjunctivitis.
Regular inspections are carried out to ensure swimming pools comply with national safety standards.
"The programme includes tracking adverts, which owners put up on billboards or in magazines and flyers," said Nasser.
Parents were earlier accused of risking the lives of their children by allowing them to play in swimming pools unsupervised because they wanted to protect their modesty from lifeguards.
"Safety is important, but we read about pool tragedies almost every summer," said Nasser.
"If families don't want to hire lifeguards, the final responsibility is on them. We have many public pools and beaches in Bahrain and drowning hazards are inevitable. It's also important for the families to learn first aid, so they can try to resuscitate a child before help arrives." – TradeArabia News Service