*** ----> Bahrain grapples with odour crisis and environmental concerns | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Bahrain grapples with odour crisis and environmental concerns

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

An intense and passionate debate unfolded at the Council of Representatives yesterday over the pervasive, unpleasant odour that permeated some regions of Bahrain following the alleged leakage at one of the tanks owned by Bapco Energies.

The council session, which took place amid mounting public concern and rising calls for transparency and accountability on the part of Bapco, demanded steps to restore clean air and regain the trust of affected communities.

Recognising the urgency of the matter, an immediate proposal was presented for discussion and unanimously passed by the Council, urging the implementation of prompt measures to alleviate the concerns of citizens and residents.

Addressing the council, MP Khalid Buanaq drew attention to reports of individuals experiencing symptoms such as nausea, itching, and suffocation in the vicinity of the affected tanks.

Consequently, he demanded that government employees working in that area be exempted from their duties, similar to the decisions made by banks and the Ministry of Education, which temporarily transitioned to remote learning for schools located near the leaking tanks until the matter was resolved.

Reproaching the situation, MP Buanaq stated, “Merging the responsibilities of environmental preservation and oil production within a single ministry is a glaring and reprehensible conflict of interest.”

MP Lulwa Al Romaihi voiced the concern that “similar issues may arise in areas such as Jaww and Asker, where residents grapple with emissions from large-scale factories such as Bapco, in addition to the gases emitted from waste incineration.”

Al-Romaihi advocated for the adoption of modern and innovative waste management methods to address these challenges effectively.

Temporary solutions

MP Jalila Alawi Sayed criticised what she characterised as temporary solutions to an imminent threat posed by the numerous tanks surrounding Sitra, Eker, and Maameer.

Emphasising the gravity of the situation, Alawi stated, “This incident conjures up images from the second Gulf War, where citizens resorted to taping windows and doors to prevent hazardous gases from entering their homes.”

She warned that “the absence of information from relevant authorities on the matter fuels the spread of rumours and panic stories, creating further distress among the affected communities.”

Torrential downpours

Addressing the council, the CEO of Bapco Energies attributed the leak to the torrential downpours that occurred in Bahrain on April 15th and 16th.

Highlighting the government’s unwavering commitment to transparency, H.E. Ghanim Al Buainain, Minister for Shura Council and House of Representatives Affairs, reported that during a recent meeting with representatives from both the Council of Representatives and the Shura Council and Bapco Energies, the safety of air quality was confirmed.

Additionally, he announced the appointment of a reputable British firm to investigate the safety measures undertaken by Bapco.