Is Kuwait Bay safe?

Muna Al Fuzai

The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources (PAAAFR) confirmed the discovery of significant quantities of dead fish, demanding that the Environment Public Authority pays attention to Kuwait Bay, which is the second largest incubator of fish wealth in the world, and follow up the harmful materials that are dumped in the sewers.

Kuwait Bay, also known as ‘Jon Al-Kuwayt’ and where Kuwait city is located on its shores, is suffering from an environmental problem that needs attention and quick serious action. Kuwait Bay has several major activities existing around it, including commercial and industrial ones, and all these factors have led to the existence of pollution, thus creating major change in the features of this area and the water, which led to the death of fish in several occasions.

I believe that the phenomenon of fish death is not new in the world, but the recurrence of it at the same place means there is a flaw and need for treatment. This condition also raises concerns about the presence of toxic substances in the marine environment that threatens fish and human health. In Kuwait we, rely on seawater to eat, drink and shower .

We all recall the most famous incident of fish death that hit the waters of Kuwait Bay in 2001, which  led to the death of over three thousand tons of fish, as estimated at that time. We should not allow that to happen again.

The reasons for the collective death of fish vary between natural and human causes; which happen primarily due to the impact of human activities and erroneous environmental practices through the discharge of human, agricultural, industrial and other pollutants directly into coastal waters without treatment, which may lead to accumulation of toxins and death of fish .

For example, Sulaibikhat Bay (the southwest sector of the bay) is the most vulnerable area due to its exposure to anthropocentric activities such as reclamation, sewage inflow and other activities. The area near Shuwaikh Port is suffering also due to reclamation processes. Right now, there is a decision to prevent fishing in the vicinity of Kuwait Bay so fishermen cannot be accused of getting rid of fish by throwing it back in the gulf.

The International Journal of Environmental Science and Development, Vol 5, No 6, December 2014 Issued an Environmental Assessment of Water Quality in Kuwait Bay prepared by N Al-Mutairi, A Abahussain, and A Al-Battay – chapter IV ‘conclusions and recommendations.’ It clearly mentioned that Kuwait Bay is suffering from different kinds of pollutions either from local or regional sources. Most significant influencing factors are desalination and power plants, and sewage outlets along the southern coast of Kuwait Bay. This study is really worth looking at and evaluate the status of Kuwait Bay before it is too late.

MP Khalil Al-Saleh said recently that the issue of fish death on the coast requires a serious action by the government, announcing the adoption of the Parliamentary Environment Committee of a proposal to investigate the case. He pointed out that the relationship between increasing rates of cancer in Kuwait and water poisoning and environmental pollution should be studied. I believe that this matter is  urgent  and must not pass without study and investigation. I hope the parliament committee will reveal the reasons of the recent deaths of fish.

By Muna Al-Fuzai
muna@kuwaittimes.net

This article was published on 29/04/2017