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Sahab mayor urges gov’t to move quarries, stone factories from town

By Hana Namrouqa - Jun 30,2016 - Last updated at Jun 30,2016

AMMAN — The mayor of Sahab has asked the government to relocate an industrial zone which he says is damaging the town’s environment and affecting residents’ health.

Abbas Maharmeh says he urged Prime Minister Hani Mulki earlier this week to move the industrial zone in Sahab to address “part of the municipality’s grave environment and health problems”. 

“This zone stretches over 150-200 dunums and houses 400 stone quarries, and brick factories. It was set up 25 years ago when the area was vacant, but now the city surrounds the vocational zone, which is a major source of air pollution,” the mayor told The Jordan Times.

The stone quarries, and the brick and marble factories operate at night during the fasting month of Ramadan, and Sahab’s residents wake up to white dust clouds obscuring the skyline, he added. 

“Following people’s complaints, the municipality banned the zone from operating during the night and started spraying the streets with water to keep the dust emissions from filling the air during the day, but those are all temporary measures,” Maharmeh highlighted.

The mayor said that a previous plan indicated that JD3 million was needed to rehabilitate the zone, which the municipality does not have. 

“Therefore, we believe that the root solution is for the government to relocate the zone to reduce dust emissions and protect the health of Sahab residents, the majority of whom suffer from asthma,” he said.

Situated southeast of Amman, Sahab has a population of around 180,000. It stretches over 12 square kilometres, some 40 to 50 per cent of which are occupied by industries. 

There are more than 400 factories, in addition to 40 workshops that grind and shred scrap plastic located in residential areas, according to Maharmeh.

It is also home to the King Abdullah II Industrial Estate, which is one of the largest industrial estates in the Kingdom.  

The municipality said in May that it is planting trees in the heavily populated and polluted area to reduce dust and gases produced by the factories and stone quarries.

A total of 4,000 trees have been planted across the town, with plans to increase Sahab’s green cover by planting 100,000 trees that can withstand dry weather on sidewalks and traffic circles and islands.

 

Planting trees is one of  several projects the municipality has planned to make the town more eco-friendly, according to the mayor, who underscored plans to shift to solar energy to generate  the municipality’s electricity needs.

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