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Egypt: Steps Towards a Healthier Environment Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Yara Kassem, Egypt May 25, 2003
Environment , Health   Opinions


Egypt: Steps Towards a Healthier Environment The environment is one of the most vital axes of development, so the deterioration of the environment represents a major danger threatening social and economic development, the sustainability of natural resources, and human health. Recognizing this major importance and necessity of the protection of environment and its vital role in our lives, governments all over the globe began to take larger steps towards a better and healthier environment.

Egypt hosted in May 2003 the 13th International Conference for the Protection of Environment for three days in Alexandria, where Arab & European countries discussed more than fifty specialized researches areas.

The Egyptian government has lately formed a ministerial committee to organize and coordinate efforts made by the ministries and involved authorities aiming to cooperate all together to solve the pollution problem, as Egypt, and Cairo in particular, is known as one of the most polluted cities in the world.

And when we mention pollution in Egypt then we must first highlight the pollution of water resources, which is considered one of our biggest national problems. It affects all the Egyptians on various levels and threatens most development programs in Egypt.

Recognizing the major importance of such an issue, the Egyptian government designed three five-year plans, with a budget of eleven billion pounds, to reduce and try to solve the water pollution problems.

First on the list of priorities is the pollution of the river Nile by industrial drainage and its negative effects, not only on the Nile ecosystem but also on the health of all Egyptians. A general strategy was put forth to eliminate the pollution of the Nile water through observing the sources of industrial pollution, from the Southern to the Northern parts of Egypt.

The second area discussed regards the pollution of the subterranean water in the desert, which deeply affects agriculture in the Egyptian western desert. The Egyptian Ministry for Environmental Affairs, along with the cooperation with the Egyptian-Italian program for Environment Protection, is now working on the implementation of a project for the construction of a research center to observe the status of the subterranean water in the western desert of Egypt.

Another major problem that is affecting the healthy environment in the city of Cairo is the building of slums around Cairo. In the fifties, a little city at the borders of Cairo was built on the agricultural land and it was called ?gMohandessin.?h Then in the year 1956, the Egyptian authorities decided to stop building on the agricultural lands and after that time poor people in Cairo started building groupings of unauthorized housing on the borders of Mohandessin. Now in the year 2003, the random buildings are occupying a million & two hundred thousands acres of the agricultural land in Egypt and 17 million citizens are living in those slums. This urban sprawl greatly affects the environment.

Finally, at the end of the fruitful conference, there was a general condemnation and disapproval concerning all the environmental violations happening in Iraq and Palestine by all the participants in the conference.



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Start with the People (not the Elite)
Youssef Amin, AIA Architect and Planner | May 30th, 2003
Egypt is scoring greatly on the "Awakening" of its Regional and Rural communities to the issues of Conservation and Protection of the Environment. Yara's article is an excellent example of this degree of awareness, which must be encouraged and integrated to the wider system of being. The "Cultural Step" for the entire country must be finetuned to accomodate "ordinary people", and a new philosophy of a well privatized urban industries must be stimulated, while the "Kimotherapy" to old societal illnesses seem to be successful....a need for "assimilation" of the "Elite" into their own country is "urgent", the role of women must be identified to enhance equality, freedom, and ability to cross the "class lines" without the current restrictions. To conclude, may I ask Yara if the "Boys" and "Girls" from "Mohandesseen" have a system of "socialization" with the "Boys and "Girls" who live (and were born) in the slums?, aside from public education, which aparently became a good "divider" between the "haves and "have-nots"? end of Question!! Best Luck Yara, I am very impressed with your daring article, let me know if I can help with anything...YA

follow up
Youssef Amin, AIA Architect and Planner | Aug 4th, 2003
I did not hear from Yara any response to my question, BOYS AND GIRLS of the HAVES AND HAVE NOTS, I would appreciate to continue a dialogue, so results can be reached

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