UAE sets strict environmental standards

Nov 23, 1996 01:00 AM

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is planning to impose heavy fines on ships dumping waste into its water under new tough laws intended to control pollution. A new environment protection law is expected to be endorsed by the federal cabinet in early 1997 and will be the UAE's first well-defined environment regulation. The new rules bans vessels from throwing garbage, sludge or any other waste into the water. They should instead dispose of them at special centres to be established by the UAE at its ports. Ships should also inform ports about their cargo and notify authorities about any vessels suspected of waste-dumping. The new regulations have been drafted by the environmental regulatory body FEA and representatives from the ministries of interior, justice, finance and industry, as well as municipalities, and oil companies operating in the Gulf state. The new law followed a surge in pollution levels in the Gulf waters mainly because of waste-dumping by oil tankers and other merchant vessels. The Gulf, home to 60 percent of the world's oil, is one of the busiest shipping routes, with more than 100 large vessels plying its waters every day. Experts have warned the region has become one of the most polluted areas in the world because of waste-dumping and repeated oil leaks. More than 7,000,000 barrels of crude oil find their way into the water every year due to leaks from oil terminals and pipelines.

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