Huge swaths of the Hajar Mountains in the UAE’s northern emirates appear ghostly white when viewed on Google Earth. Closer examination of the satellite imagery reveals large chunks of missing hillside and some sort of quarrying operations, and my recent physical visit to the area revealed these to be mostly rock ‘crushers.’
Simply put, sections of the rocky mountainsides are blown up and crushed down to whatever grade of rubble is required. Dust suppression is an important consideration in this industry, but it’s effectiveness seems limited as a pale grey dust coats the mountains around the quarries.
Most people would agree that the Hajar Mountains are probably not amongst the world’s most beautiful, although many do appreciate their bleak ruggedness.
It’s not hard to understand why some might consider them a landscape worth sacrificing in the name of progress, development and profit. The hills have been reconstituted 100km away into far more useful roads, bridges, carparks, airports, and all manner of concrete structures.
Consider the flora and fauna of this desolate landscape.
Although not the most prolific, they are certainly amongst the most tenacious and ingeniously-evolved. They’re exactly the sort of survivors we will need to draw inspiration from once we have depleted this planet’s resources. But by then they’ll probably be long buried under a pall of grey dust.
Have a look at the GPS coordinates at 25°14’19.72″N 56° 6’33.34″E.
Note from the editor: this photograph is part of a series called “Consumption” that seeks to document consumerism’s impact on the environment. From resource extraction and commodity production all the way down the supply chain to retail stores and waste processing facilities, Richard artfully examines what nature has come to mean in a world that depends on buying stuff.