Who has rights to the Nile’s sometimes polluted water is under dispute, catering as it does to numerous nations up and down its long and winding length. Egypt has kept control, but other African nations are beginning to stand up to claim their share. The barge that sank in the river on Saturday, just north of Aswan, may give other nations additional political leverage if it appears that Egypt is not maintaining its environmental responsibility.
Earlier this year there was an oil spill in the Red Sea, which media reports show the Egyptian authorities attempted to cover up, while the country’s recent, widespread power cuts demonstrates even further bad management. If the country hopes to hold on to its access to the Nile, its agencies need to start implementing better environmental practices. A Nile Petroleum Company barge sank while docking in the new Nile Corniche north of Aswan, near the village of Abu al-Reesh, according to Al Masryalyoum. As a result, 110 tonnes of of diesel fuel was dumped into the Nile.
In this case, authorities acted swiftly, recruiting civil defense squads, security forces, and specialized teams from the River Transportation Co. in order to quickly arrest the problem, writes Mahmoud El Gaafari.
Also, the nearby drinking water plants were shut down to prevent potential contamination.
“Neighboring governorates will be notified so they can take all necessary measures,” according to Mr. Gaafari.
However, in a characteristic strike against transparency, security forces prevented the media from having complete access to the site, Mr. El Gaafari reports.
“All necessary measures have been taken to keep the situation under control,” Mostafa El-Saed, Aswan’s governor told CNN.
So far it is said that the slick has only spread over one square kilometer of the rivers various islands and aquatic plants, causing relatively little damage, but as we witnessed with the much larger and more serious oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the real environmental effects only materialize long after the fact.
More news from Egypt: