Two trucks cross at rock quarry as a crusher machine in the rear empties rocks near Fujairah. Andre Forget / The National
Two trucks cross at rock quarry as a crusher machine in the rear empties rocks near Fujairah. Andre Forget / The National

Quarry effects must be curbed

The effects of quarries on both the environment and human beings have been proven. Blasting, crushing and emission of noxious gases cause air pollution and ground vibration, which can, as a consequence, have negative impacts on people’s health and well-being.

In Fujairah, a quarry in Al Taween has caused distress to some residents, many of whom have had breathing troubles and developed health problems, including chronic respiratory issues.

As The National reported yesterday, families living a few kilometres away from a quarry expressed concerns about their children's health and safety, saying that blasting has also damaged their house foundations and electricity connections, giving rise to costly and complex maintenance issues.

While Fujairah’s natural resources department said that it was monitoring the situation and using dust-control techniques at all quarries and mines, it’s important that the concerns of local residents are heard. Quarry owners have a responsibility to talk to those affected, understand what their issues are and work out ways to address them.

The same issue exists in other Northern Emirates, including Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. In 2015, the Ministry of Environment and Water shut down one quarry in Ajman and another in Fujairah for breaching health and safety regulations.

Last year, the new Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, met quarry operators to discuss the concerns of residents on health risks from dust and noise levels, warning commercial organisations against flouting the established standards, guidelines and legislation on environmental impact.

Many Al Taween residents will say the situation is desperate in their neighbourhood. Certainly, the authorities should conduct a thorough investigation of these complaints. Quarrying has many economic benefits, but these benefits cannot be accrued at the expense of the public’s health and safety.

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