(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) A strong odour stemming from a sewage treatment plant is affecting residents and driving rents down in International City (IC), an affordable housing complex in Dubai.
Located next to Al Aweer sewage treatment plant in Al Warsan area, Emirates Cluster residents at IC, are calling for urgent action to control odour emissions sweeping into their apartments. Meanwhile, Dubai Municipality (DM) has said it is working on introducing new chemical and biological solutions to control the emissions.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Khaleej Times that the community experiences strong smell that leaves them unable to breathe. "Even when our windows are closed, the smell of gas usually sweeps into our apartment in the evening, and stays in the air till the morning," the resident said.
"Every night we sleep breathing smelly gasses, our son waits for his bus in the morning filling his lungs with the same gas."
The smell left the family, who has been in the residential complex for the past four years, unable to invite friends or relatives to the apartment. The smell lingers despite the family's numerous communications with the municipality.
Another resident, who also refused to be named, said having clean air to breathe is a right for the community. The resident bought the apartment few years ago, but was surprised to experience the smell that lingers and spreads to other apartments.
The resident added: "When we bought the apartment, there was no smell, and agents said the plant wasn't working anymore. But a few months later, we were shocked to experience it. The smell stays for hours. It is due to our proximity to the sewage plant, but we, as a community, are looking for a solution."
While residents are stuck, some are left with no option of moving to another place. "My children's school is nearby. We are accustomed to the area that offers good pricing and moving again is difficult at this point," a resident said.
Meanwhile, the complex's developer, Nakheel, said it is looking into the issue. "We have once again raised residents' concerns with the municipality, which owns and manages this sewage treatment plant. We will continue to liaise with the authority on behalf of those affected," a spokesperson said in a Press statement issued to Khaleej Times.
Mohammed Abdulaziz Najm, director of sewage treatment plant department at the Dubai Municipality, told Khaleej Times the issue goes back to poor planning of the project.
The top official confirmed complaints coming from Emirates Cluster, which is the closest complex to the sewage plant.
"International standards entitle projects to be constructed 500 metres away from a buffer zone. However, Emirates Cluster is barely 100 metres away from the plant," said Najm, adding that, "developers must have taken this into consideration".
He added that the team is working on innovative and corrective enhancement to the facility to reduce emissions that create nuisance to the public and residents of International City.
"The public's complaints are taken into consideration. We are keen in improving the system and approach," he said.
Sherouk Zakaria "Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."
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