One of the most popular tourist activities in Egypt is to travel along the Nile River, and there is no shortage of options for doing so. Hundreds of eager men are ready to take hapless foreigners for a sunset sail on a falucca or fishing, while approximately 300 floating hotels offer extended trips from Luxor to Aswan. Unbeknownst to tourists, however, their Nile memories leave behind a terrible stench.
With elections next month expected to yield no new resistance to environmental apathy, the sudden interest from the Ministries of Environment, Tourism and Transport in the State of The Nile could be a case of too little too late, unless, of course, they can hit the government where it hurts most: below the money belt. The fishing, tourism, and transportation industries are destroying sections of the Nile River.
“Mahmoud al-Qisuny, advisor to the minister of tourism, stated on Thursday night that the waters of the Nile in Aswan are suffering due to the dumping of waste from fishing boats and river transport between Egypt and Sudan,” according to Al-Masry Al-youm.
This is particularly harmful because the Nile’s stagnant waters are unable to process the excess bacteria thereby released.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian Organization for the Advancement of Children disclosed conclusions of the Habi Center for Environmental Rights’ pollution, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm. The report conducted at the request of the economic adviser Ahmed Nagem found that 17,000 children die each year from gastroenteritis, which is directly related to the poor quality of their drinking water.
It was also found that four times as many people die of kidney failure in Egypt than anywhere else in the world, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.
The president of the Egyptian Tourism Board stated, “The Board stresses the importance of protecting the environment, and this matter is of particular concern because of its effect on tourism.”
In order to prevent further damage, the Ministry of Environment should both instill and enforce stricter standards for any kind of vessel that cruises up and down the Nile River. And though the government is more likely to act in order to protect their financial interests than their citizenry, we’ll take what we can get.
image via Argenberg