Unsafe waste disposal poses threat to public health

Unsafe disposal of garbage and medical waste is posing threat to public health in Al-Ajwad District in eastern Jeddah.

Disgruntled area residents have complained that a company operating in the neighborhood is causing pollution as it incinerates garbage and medical waste using primitive methods for the past many years.

Residents of the Al-Ajwad District expressed their astonishment at the inaction of the Breiman Municipality, National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) and the Municipal Council in this regard.

Despite repeated complaints, residents said, no action has so far been taken against the company.

Talking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette, an area resident, Khalloufah Al-Ahmari, said people of the locality have been suffering since the last four years and air pollution in the area continues to grow and affect public health as a considerable part of the waste is burnt three days every week.

He said the emission of harmful gases from the medical waste is causing various diseases among children and the elderly people.

Al-Ahmari said that a delegation of area residents comprising 25 Saudi nationals had raised the issue during a meeting with the NSHR. At that time, the NSHR had promised to forward the matter to the Jeddah Mayorality and Breiman Municipality but the situation remains unchanged and the residents are still suffering, he added.

Mahdi Al-Qahtani, another resident of the district, criticized the relevant authorities for ignoring the residents’ repeated complaints. He said these authorities just kept promising that the problem would be solved in the near future.

Al-Qahtani said after repeated complaints, several members of the Municipal Council headed by Dr. Bassam Akhdhar checked the situation on the ground. “They promised us at that time to solve the situation soon, but this has not taken place till now.

The company is still emitting harmful gases.”
During a visit to the site in question, the company’s security staff tried to detain the reporter and the photographer to prevent them from taking photographs.

An official source in the company told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that they are very keen to protect the public health. He claimed that the company is following international methods and steps in incinerating medical waste.

The source admitted receiving complaints from the area residents. He said that the company is studying the situation to come up with an amicable solution to the problem.

Saudi Gazette

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