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A new report revealed that fishing of the coast of Damietta governorate is at risk due to pollution.
The report, which was prepared by Ahmed al-Ghobashy, a member in the Scientific Committee investigating petrochemical plants in Damietta, said that "Damietta is characterized by its aquatic environment which is different than that found in any other part of the country.”
“This helped in the creation of the largest fishing fleet in Egypt, staffed by more than 50,000 citizens,” said the report.
The report added that this year witnessed a decline in fish production following the establishment of a number of petrochemical plants. It went on to say that expansion of the plants’ activities was ongoing, and that large amounts of smoke are emitted. The report said that waste from the plants and the port is released into Mediterranean waters and the navigation channel, and that the pollution is estimated at over 3000 cubic meters per hour, or 1.728 million cubic meters daily.
The report explained that the pollutants change the chemical and physical properties of the water and sediments in the region near the port and the navigation channel. They also lead to a gradual rise in the percentage of ammonia and the rapid decline in the number of fish larvae, thereby having a significant negative effect on fish farms.
"If the government does not rush to stop the petrochemical plants and the Damietta Port from releasing their wastes into the sea water and navigation channel,” the report said, “these contaminants will completely destroy fishing activity in the region.”
On 13 November, Egyptian authorities shut down MOPCO Petrochemicals Company in Damietta Port after residents protested against the plant. The company estimates its losses at approximately LE650 million due to the decision.
Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm