With his characteristic frankness, Mustafa al-Fiqi, MP and chairman of the Peoples Assembly’s Arab and Foreign Affairs Committees, says that protecting the environment has become a life necessity. “Issues related to climate change, global warming, water, and energy are now essentially linked to environmental issues. The entire future of humanity is now at stake. Ecological concepts cover a plethora of aspects including the dumping of waste, air pollution and the protection of rivers,” he says. “And in this context,” he remarked, “I believe that protecting the River Nile is a top priority as far as preserving the environment is concerned.”
Better quality of life
Dr Fiqi was talking at the 19th Conference on the Environment held in Alexandria under the slogan ‘Protecting the environment is a life necessity’. The conference was organised by the Arab-European Cooperation Centre headed by Sami Guindi, in cooperation with Alexandria University. A host of experts, Egyptians and foreigners alike, along with representatives of government and environment societies formed the core of participants.
Sami Guindi, the conference secretary-general, gave a detailed presentation on environmental problems. He said that living in a clean and healthy environment was now a basic human need. “An all-inclusive system in which the individual is an integral component’,” he added.
Georgette al-Qellini, secretary-general of the Arab-European Cooperation Centre and also an MP, said: “Sustainable environment development is at the heart of the interests of developed countries. Such concepts have improved with the passage of time. In the 1970s, sustainable environment development focused on preserving natural resources. In the following decade, attention was drawn to satisfying basic needs and improving the quality of life. The concept was developed to cover combating poverty and deprivation,”
“Environmental balance is a precondition for protecting the environment,” Alexandria University professor of marine sciences Ahmed al-Guindy said. “Non-renewable resourses,” he stressed, “had to be preserved, while manufactured objects with a potentially harmful impact on the environment should go out of production.”
Alexandria governor Adel Labib said that the environment was a broad concept that covered many areas such as the countryside, urban centres, industry, the health and culture sector, and so on. As for efforts to preserve the environment in Alexandria, Mr Labib indicated that sea barriers were installed and the wave and tidal motions were now back to normal. Beaches are building up again and the risk of beach erosion is not as threatening as a few years ago. It was no longer permitted to carry out any project on the coast unless preliminary scientific studies were made to make sure that they did not have potential harmful effects on beaches.
Most buses run by the Alexandria Transport Authority now use natural gas and smoking is banned on all public transport in Alexandria, the governor said. The governorate has also started a giant project to upgrade sewage networks.