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The Environment - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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On April 22, the world will celebrate Earth Day. Each country will celebrate in different ways depending on the degree of courage and transparency that will enable these countries to confront their environmental problems in an open manner rather than in a way that would lack clarity and honesty.

While some countries planted trees, opened public gardens or held forums and conferences, other countries raised serious issues, enacted legislations and policies to deter those who inflict damage upon the environment and earnestly sought to apply these legislations.

However, there is one time bomb that has not been dealt with; the destructive warships and gigantic submarines – all of which are powered by nuclear energy – that are passing through the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and even the Arabian Gulf and this is terrifying.

It is not understood how to control the volume of radioactive waste that is emitted into Arabian seas by these ships and submarines and how to deal with any emergencies or spills that occur as a result of the absence of the appropriate human and technical preparation for dealing with such a disaster.

The Arab countries and their emergency planning would fail to deal with large or mediocre fires let alone nuclear spills. At present, the Arab region is, without doubt, exposed to a real imminent nuclear threat whether as a result of mad nuclear programs in Israel (the rogue state that violates international laws, including nuclear and UN resolutions), or Iran’s military program, or of course the presence of a reckless and unwise administration in the White House today. All these reasons increase the chances of a nuclear “incident” taking place. If Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to the region, as is propagated, with the same level of affirmation and zeal, it should be recognised that any military attack on this program as a result is just as dangerous and destructive to the region as a whole.

The lies that were told regarding the [existence of] weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and that were used as a pretext to launch an unjust war against Iraq must be confronted by an international Arab campaign that would prevent any nuclear vehicle from passing through the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Arabian Gulf, making these parts safe, and governments, organizations, environmental bodies and international entities such as Greenpeace, Doctors Without Borders and Reporters Without Borders should take steps to demonstrate the magnitude of danger that dominates the region, as a convoy of gigantic nuclear ships and vehicles advance like a time bomb whilst their radiation and spills herald diseases, pollution and slow devastation.

The Gulf region specifically has suffered from the wars over the years and part of the region had been affected by non-conventional and chemical weapons and thus manifested in cases of disfigurement and sickness and problems that cannot be addressed and are yet to be solved. The region is promised a disaster on a larger scale than Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl and Bhopal that faced environmental catastrophes as a result of deadly radiation.

The nuclear issue and its consequences cannot be downplayed with regards to the Arab countries, the seas and shores of which are exposed to the consequences while they remain captive to superficial preparations that cannot deal with such complicated issues. However, silence is also disgraceful and unacceptable.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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