Yemen capital plagued by piling toxic waste
SANAA - A huge pile of waste is gathering in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, threatening to leak toxic waste into the war-torn city’s fast diminishing water supply.
Prior to the war, a recycling plant filtered out the most dangerous materials from Sanaa’s 10-million-ton garbage heap, but Saudi bombs have since destroyed it.
The facility was struck first in June, and again in December by the Saudi-led military coalition fighting Iran-backed Huthi rebels in an attempt to re-instate the exiled government.
Experts have long warned that Sanaa will be the first capital to use up its water supplies, and now in addition to wide spread poverty and destruction, the parched city is faced with a new health health crisis.
“The main problem we’re now facing is in the management of waste in Yemen that is posing a real danger to the general health of residents,” Professor Mohammed al-Qahali, head of the science and technology department at Sanaa University, told Reuters.
He went on to highlight the risk of “hazardous chemicals that could cause a variety of diseases including cancers, birth defects, immunological disorders and many other diseases.”
Shayef al-Asri, a resident, said, “At night I cover my mouth (from the smell), the smell of rot wakes me from my sleep, and it has only gotten worse since they struck the recycling plant.”
Saudi Arabia, along with Gulf Arab allies and US intelligence have bombarded Yemen with air strikes aimed at Huthis.
They accuse the rebels deployment in civilian areas as the reason why bombings have repeatedly struck schools, hospitals, markets and other civilian spots.
The UN have failed to implement lasting peace plans and estimate that over four-fifths of Yemen’s 28 million strong population are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance amid prevailing poverty, hunger and disease.
The most recent issue of gathering toxic waste threatens to aggravate the situation, perhaps accelerating the city’s ultimate demise, says Khaled al-Thor, environment professor at Sanaa University.
“It requires expertise and an immediate resolution, otherwise… Sanaa will disappear from the map.”