Fujairah Collage

Fujairah Collage
Some distinctive landmarks in Fujairah

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fujairah Bans Smoking to Boost Public Health

Fujairah has already outlawed shisha smoking in outdoor cafes and smoking in barber shops.

Now, according to Fuad Ali’s Gulf News report (25 April 2008), the Fujairah Municipality is banning smoking in ‘government areas and open public spaces’ (further explanation is needed).

Hopefully the next thing will be compulsory filters on vehicle exhaust systems, regular testing and the policing of heavily smoking cars and trucks.

This legislation then needs to be followed by closing down quarries near residential areas that are blowing dust particles into the atmosphere, banning rubbish fires and regulating industrial emissions.

It is good to hear Al Qasim, Head of the Environmental section at the Fujairah Municipality implementing his strategy “to improve the environment and boost public health.”

An independent study needs to be urgently commissioned to look at air pollution in Fujairah and bring further recommendations that will enhance the health and safety of its residents.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “heavily smoking cars and trucks.”

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Video Footage of Fujairah

A person by the name of Jerry, taking time off from the World 8 Ball Championship, has taken 9 minutes of film footage on some sights of Fujairah.

The first two minutes offers a good look at Le Meridien Hotel which has not only a good beach but the biggest swimming pool in the Emirates.

One gets a look at the Al Bidya mosque, the oldest mosque in the UAE and still being used for prayer, the Fujairah museum and the fort. The final minute offers some views of the Miramar Hotel.

The film is slow and upbeat but worth a look.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: The Fujairah Fort

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fujairah Features in The National Newspaper

Truly National
It is to be expected that The National newspaper, which has been launched today in paper and online, will contain many stories and photographs from the city that is paying its bills.

It is pleasing, however, to discover that the virgin issue has several stories from Fujairah which signals that the newspaper is aiming to have a national reach in reality as well as in name.

Everyday Life in Fujairah
Already being favourably quoted in blogs today is a story by Rym Tina Ghazal about a Fujairah woman who speaks about her sense of isolation in the eastern emirate, what it was like to weather Cyclone Gonu, the assistance of maids, access to health, and life generally in the overgrown village. This is one person’s impression but the number of Fujairah people commuting each day to Dubai and Sharjah reveals another picture of connection across the country and it highlights Fujairah’s new role as the most affordable dormitory suburb of Dubai.

Fujairah Fotographs
In a report of the Saudi sale of Etisalat shares it is good to see a picture of the distinctive Etisalat Tower in Fujairah and another scene from the eastern city in The National’s Picture Gallery.

Finance Fuels Fujairah Economy
As evidence that The National journos have been writing dummy runs for weeks, a business story posted on 24 March 2008 by Hugh Naylor describes the impact on the UAE government injection of finance in upgrading Fujairah roads, drainage and sewerage systems.

Fujairah Fish Prices Falling
After months of complaining about the exorbitant price of fresh fish, another story written days before The National was launched, reports the dramatic falling of fish prices. It highlights the rush to the Fujairah fish markets where, in contrast to the other emirates, no minimum prices have been established, leaving Fujairah with the greatest supply and the lowest prices.

The article adds a reminder saying that while Fujairah fish are being sold at bargain basement prices, the savings will be wiped out once you’ve paid the petrol costs to drive to Fujairah and home! But why not turn your trip to the Fujairah markets into a pleasant drive, not only to fill your deep freeze but to experience some authentic Emirati culture?

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: Moza al Kaabi is the first person from Fujairah to feature in The National.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Fujairah’s Flying Angel Ship is Making Waves in Marine World

In an article in the Maritime Global Net news, Fujairah’s Flying Angel is reported to be growing wings:

The news item entitled ‘DUBAI SUPPORT BOAT'S FIRST YEAR’ gives the following account:

“The Flying Angel – the world’s first floating seafarers’ centre owned and operated by The Mission to Seafarers – has welcomed over 3,000 seafarers onboard since entering full-time service in the port of Fujairah, Dubai on 15 April last year.”

“The purpose-built support boat takes its name from the flying angel logo of The Mission to Seafarers, the international society that has been caring for seafarers for over 150 years.”

“The 27-metre vessel provides similar facilities to the Mission’s 100-plus land-based centres including a bank of computers, telephones, access to a chaplain for services and counselling, as well an additional service of a medical clinic with a full-time paramedic onboard.”

“‘We have had an excellent first year serving the seafarers who are at anchor miles away from the shore,’ said the Revd Stephen Miller, port chaplain to Dubai. ‘For the vast majority of seafarers waiting in the anchorage, the costs incurred for getting to shore are simply too great. Therefore we are able to provide a facility which allows seafarers the chance to relax away from their vessels without the need for costly water-taxi services. The boat also helps shipowners because staff return to their posts refreshed and refocused on their tasks.’”

“In the last 5 years the anchorage at Fujairah has become one of the largest in the world with over 100 vessels, or nearly 3,000 seafarers waiting at any one time. Ships wait at anchor for repair, visits by company superintendents, recrewing, reprovisioning and refuelling.”

“Since launching in April 2007, The Flying Angel has visited over 197 ships, connected nearly 4,500 telephone calls, provided over 2,300 hours of internet time and distributed nearly 3,000 books, magazines and other items of literature.”

“‘A lot of 2007 has seen us trying new things to see what benefits seafarers most,’ reflected Stephen on the year. ‘However, more and more seafarers tell us what a great help the Flying Angel has been to them and we hope to grow our services to reach even more seafarers in the years to come.’”

Source: ‘Dubai Supports Boat’s First Year’, Maritime Global Net, 15 April 2008.

Image: The Flying Angel—the world’s first seafarer’s centre.

Monday, April 14, 2008

UAE Drivers Need Ongoing Driving Education

The recent reports of the high fatality and injury rate on Fujairah roads point to a catastrophe and this in a country where drunken driving is not the major contributor.

Traffic education happens primarily before drivers get their license and this is supplemented by some publicity during the annual National Campaign for Traffic Safety Awareness week.

In a country that has the highest number of cars in the world but also the dubious record for the highest number of traffic injuries on the globe it is crucial that there be ongoing compulsory education for all drivers.

The Khaleej Times article (13 April 2008) citing the 745 accidents on Fujairah roads in this last month said that high speeds and the failure to wear safety belts were major factors for the carnage.

The implementation of speed cameras and the raising of fines and demerit points have provided some deterrence but what is needed is regular education.

A compulsory, ongoing education for drivers must give urgent attention to these issues:
* Speeding
* Tailgating (in the tailgating capital of the world)
* Seat belt wearing and the In ša’ Allāh (إن شاء الله) factor
* Pedestrian Crossings (the most dangerous places in the UAE)
* Stop Signs (these are not Give Way signs)

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “High speeds…major factor.”

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Fujairah Leads Environmental Debate

A Gulf News article (‘Limit Use of Plastic Bags, FNC Urges Cabinet’, 8 April 2008) reported that, “the FNC demanded that the [UAE Federal] government adopt more restrictive rules to strengthen environmental protection and contribute to sustainable development.”

In the report it was pleasing to see that leaders from Fujairah and the UAE’s East Coast were leading the government to vote in accordance with what is best for the environment.

Specific Recommendations
The reported recommendations, endorsed by representatives from the East Coast, include the following:

Ahmad Al Danhani, a member from Fujairah, said that the government action plan should address all types of pollutants and not only dust and noise pollution from quarries and crushers.

Rashid Al Shuraiqi, a member from Ras Al Khaimah (Sharjah), said that environmental assessment reports should be produced by all projects every five years and not just upon launching them.

Sultan Al Muaden, a member from Fujairah, said the government should ban the import of scrap metals, especially spare parts of cars.

Recommendations for Environment
The main recommendations that the UAE government is debating include the following:
* Limiting or banning the use of plastic bags.
* Reducing the life span of cars across the UAE
* Closing quarries and crushers adjacent to housing communities
* Treating by-products of desalination such as mineral salts and brine safely and efficiently.
* Ordering that all trucks be fitted with exhaust filters.
* Controlling the discharge of wastes from vessels and ordering these vessels to declare their shipments, especially those from nuclear powered ships.
* Approving and enforcing the National Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment at the earliest time.
* Addressing all types of pollutants, not only dust and noise pollution from quarries and crushers.
* Requiring environmental assessment reports by all projects every five years not just upon their launch.
* Demanding that the government stops burning wastes and adopts strict measures for the safe disposal of medical wastes.
* Issuing a federal law to regulate the use of underground water and water resources. (The use of underground water is currently under the jurisdiction of local authorities).
* Banning the import of scrap metals, especially spare parts of cars.
* Demanding that special roads be built for trucks and a railway system for passenger and cargo to ease road congestion in the country.
* Demanding that the government act diligently to enforce the federal law banning smoking in closed public areas.

Fujairah and East Coast Environment
Without oil (at this point), the eastern regions are staking their future growth on showcasing the UAE beauty (beaches and mountains) and developing the associated sectors such as tourism, fishing, diving and hotel accommodation.

It is hoped that the Fujairah and East Coast leaders will have a significant influence and enable the UAE government to decide policy that protects and enhancements the UAE environment and its people.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: The road from the Dubai International airport towards Fujairah. This blanket of smog is in the emirate of Sharjah. “Addressing all types of pollutants, not only dust and noise pollution from quarries and crushers...”

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

UAE Negligent in Policing Fujairah Waters

Both the Khaleej Times (2 April 2008) and the Gulf News (1 April 2008) have reported two further oil slicks this week in the Fujairah waters.

The Gulf News article says that “oil spills have become a regular occurrence all along the East Coast with authorities unable to stop or prosecute offending ships.” The oil disasters along the eastern shoreline in recent months have been reported on these sites on 20 February, 2008 and the 11 March 2008.

Fish off the Menu
The Khaleej Times reports the concerns of local fishermen and the Gulf News reports the oil in the Qidfa waters with its proximity to Fujairah’s main desalination plant.

There are residents in Fujairah and Kalba who have taken fresh fish off their menus because of the regular evacuation of oil from the tankers with dead fish often being washed up on the Fujairah beaches. Soon people will be opting not to drink Fujairah fresh(?) water.

Cries from Hoteliers & Divers
Hotel managers along the east coast have called for tighter controls. Hotel workers have had to close their beaches and assist in the cleanup. The oil slicks have affected tourism which is one of the major planks of the Fujairah growth strategy.

The Diving Companies have reported their concern, not only about the damage to their businesses and tourism generally but the long term (decades) environmental impact on the shore and marine life.

Practical Policing
Thus far the UAE police have been impotent and the Fujairah Municipality has only wrung its hands and offered no apparent solutions.

Calls for tighter controls and higher fines have been made in an earlier posting.

The oil and shipping companies need to be levied higher fees for coming into the Fujairah waters to download and upload their cargo. These companies that make millions of dollars must bear the new costs so that more police boats can be purchased and put on 24 hour patrol among the 200 ships and 3,000 people that make up the Fujairah marine precinct.

Dr. Geoff Pound

Image: “so that police boats can be purchased and immediately put on 24 hour patrol.”