A GOVERNMENT development plan that would see the emergence of a new industrial area south of the country has been given the green light despite objections that it would be too close to homes … but a new landfill site plan for the area may be relocated.
Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Essam Khalaf told the Southern Municipal Council in writing that the general plan for Hafeera, which is close to the new Khalifa Town, has been drawn up with ‘all aspects’ of the development being taking into account.
He promised that organisational, environmental and social issues had been addressed in a way that ‘ensures public comfort’.
The council had unanimously rejected the plan at its meeting on January 29 saying that the industrial area would encroach into the town.
“Khalifa Town and Hafeera are separated by around 200 metres through the King Hamad Highway,” said the minister. “The closest planned industrial plot to the town is 980 metres and there are plans to have a 20m wide greenbelt to act as a buffer between the town and the new industrial town,” he added.
“Before we presented the council with the development plan we had it approved by all of the ministries concerned, government bodies and departments. However, this doesn’t mean we are not looking into plans for an alternative location for the new landfill site in Hafeera to ensure it is far away from homes from the originally proposed site and, whenever ready, we will get approvals from the Supreme Council for the Environment (SCE) and the council.”
Council chairman and area councillor Bader Al Tamimi said the area had already been suffering from pollution from existing industries and factories even before the new plan was pushed forward.
Mr Al Tamimi
“My job as a public representative is to protect people’s health, well-being and the environment. People are suffering from numerous pollutants entering their homes from existing factories and industries,” he said.
“Industries and the current landfill site are already strangling the area from three sides and this new industrial area would compound that misery.
“It’s easy to believe having industrial development and making more money, creating job opportunities and progressing the country is much more important, but it is not the case for people living in the town.”
Khalifa Town was officially opened in December 2017 by His Majesty King Hamad.
The GDN earlier reported that the new landfill site will be bigger than the current one. Operations will move there whenever the current landfill site, also in Hafeera, reaches its capacity.
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