Imagine a rapidly growing tourist paradise, but set in the path of a “freeway” line of oil tankers constantly moving through, shipping out a third of the world’s oil, polluting the coastline, and you can begin to imagine the scope of the Gulf problem assessed by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health in Toronto.
“These are countries which because of their wealth have been developing so very rapidly that the pace at which things are happening is tending to outstrip the pace at which capacity to regulate is growing.”
Providing fresh water in a parched desert creates environmental destruction, because these desert lands are almost completely dependent on desalination plants for up to 90 percent of their water and those plants “deliver toxic brine into the Gulf.”
Then waste is “frequently dumped directly into the Gulf or riverbeds and wetlands where it then infiltrates into shallow aquifers and eventually enters coastal waters,” said the Canadian report.
It is all made worse by the fact that the region has developed so rapidly, relatively recently, since the discovery of oil. “There are lots of things that are going wrong. And the reason is that fundamentally there is a relatively weak environmental science capacity in the region,” Peter Sale, the study’s co-author told AFP according to Al Arabiya.
Among other things, one effect of this lack of local environmental focus has resulted in extreme overfishing. (Kuwait Marine Life Degrading to Alarming Levels) The $996 million fishing industry has great employment numbers. But, says the study “many fishery species are in peril due to over-exploitation” due to inadequate regulation of the fishing industry.