- June 30, 2010
Gaza Municipality warns of health disaster
GAZA, The Municipality of Gaza warned of the possibility of a breakdown of the Gaza Strip sewage system if electricity failures in pumps used for the disposal of wastewater in all regions of the Gaza Strip continue.
Municipality Director General of Water and Sanitation, Ragheb Atallah, noted that the sewage system in the Gaza Strip is in danger of collapsing as a result of power outages and lack of generators designed for the given circumstances.
Atallah explained during a press conference for the Municipality of Gaza on Monday following inactivity of central water pump (B7) in the Zaytoon region south of the city, that treatment plant generators could not operate 12 hours non-stop.
He stressed that the stopage of Gaza’s main plant is an example of what may result from the halt of the sewage pumping stations and the collapse of the sewage system in the event of the continued electricity crisis, adding that the plant receives more than 50% of the city’s waste water, equivalent to 35 thousand square kilometers. He emphasized that the ongoing power outage could cause an environmental catastrophe affecting the entire Gaza Strip.
Atallah underlined that the continued blackouts have caused a strident crisis in Gaza’s drinking water, noting that 54 water wells provide the city with its drinking water, a third of which do not have generators, and the wells with generators are unable to work more than 5 hours. This imbalance has also led to a malfunction in the city’s water distribution networks, Atallah noted.
The spread of disease
For his part, Municipality Director General of Health and Environment, Abdul Rahim Abu al-Qomboz, stated that a breakdown in the sewage plants will lead to the spread of many infectious diseases constituting a major threat to the lives of people in the vicinity, pointing out that the effects of the power outages will not be limited to the area surrounding the sanitation, but will extend to the entire Gaza Strip.
According to the health director, without a quick solution to the problem the Gaza shores would be at risk, as the phenomenon would cause an increase in the concentration of waste water casted out to coastal areas, which poses the greater threat to the lives of vacationers, noting that there are 12 sewage pumping stations in the city, a number of them located near the coast.
He appealed for the need to develop quick solutions through the intervention of those responsible for the continued power outages by providing industrial diesel power plants in the city.
He added that the continuing Gaza Strip energy crisis is larger than any contingency plan the municipality can develop, calling on the European Union to help in solving the problem.