Tubli Bay ‘will be a swamp by 2020’

Nov

27

2014

TUBLI Bay will become little more than a fetid swamp within the next five years if illegal land reclamation continues unabated.

This was the stark warning issued by Manama Municipal Council yesterday in its last ever meeting before it is disbanded.

The bay, which is supposed to be protected by Royal Decree, has already shrunk to two-thirds of the size it was in 2006 ‘“ and outgoing councillors are worried that all that will be left by 2020 will be a few kilometres of swamp.

‘The Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry has three times been forced to change the boundaries on the map determining the size of the bay as it has failed to stop reclamation,’ said outgoing council chairman Mohammed Mansoor.

‘Municipal inspectors and policemen called to deal with illegal reclamation at the bay just stand there doing nothing as they are afraid.

‘The bay’s size by law is 13.5km, but today it is just 9km and by 2020 it will be just a 3.4km swamp.’

Mr Mansoor said the bay has been protected because of its environmental and ecological value ‘“ but this protection was just ‘on paper’.

‘It is shameful that the government has changed the boundaries on maps determining the bay’s size just to ensure that influential landowners, who have reclaimed land, are within the allowed zones,’ he said.

‘This will go on and on ‘“ we have taken a stand against it several times, but those behind the reclamation are extremely powerful and continue to breach the law untouched.

‘Hopefully, the new Capital Trustees committee will enforce the rule of the law to ensure the bay continues as an environmental and ecological landmark in Bahrain.’

Manama Municipal Council is set to be replaced by a 10-member body of Capital Trustees when they are appointed by His Majesty King Hamad at the beginning of next month.

The GDN reported in December 2012 that work was set to start fencing off parts of Tubli Bay in a bid to stop illegal reclamation, but this was put on hold due to a lack of funds.

Land just outside protected waters was also due to be sectioned off with buoys after numerous cases of trespassing.

Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka’abi earlier issued a map detailing the exact extent of the 13.5km bay, but councillors claim authorities failed to clearly mark what areas were off limits.

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