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Red Sea pollution ‘exceeds global limits,’ says expert

Two men sit on wall overlooking the Red Sea at a popular cafe in the northwestern Saudi town of al-Wajh, in this April 25, 2016 photo. (AFP)
JEDDAH: Pollution on Jeddah’s beaches exceeds international limits, which should be blamed on the National Water Company’s (NWC) lack of treatment for sewage, according to an environmental specialist.
Ali Ishqi, a former environmental professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, claimed that there is considerable pollution on all the city’s beaches. The sewage was being pumped through massive pipes, causing the water to change color, which was not pleasing on the eye, he was quoted as saying by a local publication on Tuesday.
However, this claim has been rejected by Abdelbasset Sreifi, secretary general of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), who said a great deal has been done to protect the city’s shoreline.
He said 328 outlets pumping untreated sewage into the sea were shut down, with only two operating according to environmental and health standards. The PME had carried out a study on pollution with the Regional Organization for the Conservation of the Environment of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden (PERSGA), which would be released soon, he said.
PERSGA is an intergovernmental body dedicated to the conservation of the coastal and marine environments found in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aqaba, Gulf of Suez, Suez Canal, and Gulf of Aden surrounding the Socotra Archipelago and nearby waters. Its member states include Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.

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