Tourists are charged $200 a night to stay in this Jumeirah Islands apartment. Residents similarly pay a handsome sum to live at one of Dubai’s much-touted artificial palm islands. Within the last few years, despite warnings from environmentalists, people flocked to snatch a share of this exclusive, sinking, erosive man made island. And already, they are beginning to experience the side effects of such an ecological calamity.
Dubai’s daily, The National, followed up on residents’ year long complaints that the algae-choked lake surrounding Jumeirah Island emits a foul odor and attracts mosquitoes after the developers, Nakheel, failed to follow through on their promises to improve the situation. The paper submitted water samples to an independent laboratory which confirmed that levels of ammonium, as well as dissolved and suspended solids, are considerably higher than permitted by the municipality.
Carol Huang reports that the Jumeirah lake has ammonia levels of 17.4 milligrams per liter, which is three times higher than Dubai’s established municipal standards.
“Nakheel, which developed and maintains Jumeirah Islands, said the test results did not indicate a threat to residents,” according to the paper.
“Whilst we cannot comment on a particular sample … in any event, the ammonia level cannot cause risk to humans,” a spokesman said.
In addition, the accredited independent laboratory Inspectorate International, which has 200 branches scattered throughout the world, reported total dissolved solids to exist at levels that are 30 times higher than the permissible 1,500 milligrams per liter.
It could be the 50,400 milligrams of dissolved solids that are clogging pipes which are supposed to circulate the water, which is drawn directly from the Gulf.
The now stagnant water is full of both green and white algae, and residents complain that it attracts many mosquitoes, though the laboratory tests did not reveal any mosquito larvae.
Residents first reported the problem to the developers one year ago, to which the latter issued a written response.
“The lake rectification works are proceeding. The water quality continues to improve and salinity levels are increasing which in turn results in the natural eradication of the algae,” the letter said.
Clearly, no such rectification has occurred, even though experts claim that it would not be difficult to restore the lake’s quality.
“If they had enough mixing of the water, the whole problem could be solved very easily. It’s not an ideal situation from a health point of view. Obviously it will be uncomfortable,” Walid Saleh, the regional co-ordinator of United Nations University and an expert at its Institute for Water, Environment and Health, told The National.
The municipality declined to comment.
Though Nakheel claims the problem’s source lies beyond Jumeirah, this latest event further demonstrates the developers’ lack of commitment to environmental integrity.
:: The National
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