Water and Environment in Yemen [Archives:2001/28/Health]

July 9 2001

Ismael Al-Ghabery
Yemen Times
Water and environment will remain a major problematic issue until we launch tangible efforts to get rid of it. Due to the heat occlusion and ozone hole diseases have spread throughout the world, especially skin cancer and eyes cancer.
We can make better use of the natural landscapes and unique weather to grow plants and re-green the land as it was before. We could also start by addressing our misdeeds of cutting trees and destroying green areas during the past two decades as well as our use of insecticide and mechanical fertilizers in planting qat and food crops which have spoiled the soil and reduced production. Furthermore, they have spoiled fruits benefits and affected the bird life. This chaotic state is further accentuated by releasing the wastes of ships in seas and shores. We are also destroying our marine wealth by our arbitrary fishing and then choosing some kinds of fishing and throwing other ones in shores and coasts, consequently polluting the marine environment and ruining the fish wealth.
We have actually proven destructive and a foil to nature. Instead of the green lands that we used to have, now we have deserts. This has made us suffer from the scarcity of water and the clear mark-down of underground water. Springs and small water cataracts used to spread throughout the year in the past.
Qat has actually dealt a very severe blow to agriculture. Underground water level has also decreased remarkably which has made experts warn against using up water. The non-existence of laws and of awareness programs has actually intensified the problem. Arbitrary digging by some people and farmers is also very dangerous. They behave as if the whole land is their own. With the non-existence of laws regulating these things, and a reckless race to plant qat and ever-increasing construction of buildings at the expense of agricultural lands, the situation becomes worse. Solutions to this seems dim as there are no sincere and tangible efforts to effectively deal with the problem.