Pollution: What fault is
it of the sea?
By Abdullah Yahya Bukhari
The sea has strange traits and many faces only select people can understand and appreciate. Man has to understand the nature of the sea, its fluctuations, changing moods, secrets and its deeply buried treasures in to order to live with it, gain its friendship and reciprocate its love and compassion. If you try trick the sea, wrestle or conquer it, it will swallow you in the blink of an eye. But if you look at it with cordiality and tenderness, it will embrace you, satisfy your eyesight with its beauty and serenity and please your ears with the whispering and palpitations of its waves.
If you try to mount its blue carpet with arrogance and awkwardness, it will swallow you as it has done to many arrogant tyrants. If you tell the sea about your miseries and sadness, it will listen to you with its deep silence and eternal wisdom. It will respond to the beats of your heart and blow your face with its cool and soft breezes to quench your sadness and provide you with serenity and comfort. If you throw debris into it, it will belch it out into your face and return what you have dumped in it. The sea is stronger, more beautiful and has more patience, hospitality and wisdom than all of us.
All these thoughts come to my mind whenever I look at the eternal sea of Jeddah and its extended shores which have been ravaged. I do not know if the sea belongs to Jeddah or Jeddah belongs to it but it seems that they both belong to each other. My generation and those before us remember very well how the shores of Jeddah, its sea, and its pure and virgin fronts were a joy to all visitors regardless of age. These pure and extended shores were a meeting place for poets, men of letters, ambitious youth, struggling fishermen and families.
Every one of them found pleasure, inspiration and food in these splendid shores. Old Jeddah was in constant conversation with the sea.
The majority of houses overlooked the sea and most of the main roads and shops of the city faced the sea. Smaller roads ran from west to east to enable coastal breezes to penetrate inside the city. This breeze was a sort of natural air-conditioning for the city. Many people recognize the districts and streets of Jeddah from the smell of the damp air coming from the sea and also from the odor of the soil. The wheel of development and urban construction never stops. This should, however, not be done at the expense of our heritage and history. I digress – this is a topic we can discuss later.
What really concerns me now is that our sea (the sea of Jeddah and its residents) is angry with us. The beautiful sea which was proud of its colorful coral reefs, the active marine life at its bottom and its attractive colors has lost much of its identity.
We have destroyed a large portion of marine life to pollution and coastal development and once beautiful breezes have turned into nauseating smells. Surprisingly, we have not heard a single official reply or convincing answer to explain what is happening to our sea. We have not heard of any study being conducted to stop pollution. There have been no comments on the numerous studies and research conducted on the rising pollution of the Jeddah’s sea. There was also no comment on the acclaimed article written by Dr. Abdulaziz Hassanain titled "The Polluted Jeddah Cornish.” Our sea is sad and angry. So beware of the anger of the wise and tolerant.
Source: Saudi Gazette