Public beaches in Abu Dhabi reopen after sewage leak

The cause of the leak is not known and Abu Dhabi Municipality said it closed the beaches temporarily to preserve the safety of beachgoers.

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ABU DHABI // Two beaches in the capital have reopened after a three-day closure.

Al Bateen Public Beach and part of the public beach on the Corniche were closed after a sewage leak.

Abu Dhabi Municipality said it closed the beaches temporarily to preserve the safety of beachgoers.

Abdulaziz Zarub, team leader of the crisis and emergency management of environment at the municipality, said tests were undertaken, which proved the waters were safe.

“We test the waters daily and analyse them based on the Blue Flag criteria. As soon as we see a difference in the tests, usually negative, we take preventive measures,” he said.

The Blue Flag criteria is a certification given to beaches worldwide that require certain standards – water quality, safety and environmental information – to be met.

Abu Dhabi is the first emirate in the country to receive the certification, said Mr Zarub. However, he said the reason for the contamination remains unknown.

“This is a beach. There are ships and dust in the wind. We cannot know the reason and our only aim is to protect the people,” he said.

He said beachgoers should be confident it is a clean and safe environment and he was happy to see many people swimming on Wednesday.

The beaches were closed from Sunday until Tuesday.

Fatima Khalfan, an Emirati mother took her children for an early morning swim on Al Bateen beach yesterday. She said she did not know the beach had been closed for the past three days.

“If I was allowed to bring my children, then I guess there is no need to worry. We were not told anything by anyone and I don’t feel the water is contaminated,” she said.

“We have been here since almost 8am and the children are happy.”

aalkhoori@thenational.ae