Ras Al Khaimah: Families in Ras Al Khaimiah say they are being driven to distraction with constant noise, dust and explosions coming from the nearby quarry works.
Residents in the Khor Khwair area of Ras Al Khaimah have been complaining for years about the work being done in the quarry beside their homes.
Mohammad Rashid, a resident in the area, said the work has been going on for several years and is edging closer to his home. “The noise, dust, and explosions are affecting the whole area,” he said. With several complaints about the quarry, Rashid told Gulf News that with the constant noise pollution and dust coming into his house, his family is living in great discomfort.
“The explosions by the quarry are also scaring the children,” added Rashid, who criticised the close proximity.
Another problem, said Rashid, is the destruction of water paths that used to stream rain water to the farms. The continuous quarry work being done is also stopping the water from reaching the farms after heavy rain.
The UAE’s Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) said it was aware of the situation, and that the quarries and cement plants in the area were regularly audited by the ministry to make sure the work complies with regulations to minimise negative environmental impacts.
The ministry also said the works in Khor Khwair have been in operation for more than 30 years as the economy of RAK is mostly dependent on its natural resources. And the operations will continue as long as they are not violating any environment, health, and safety regulations, they added.
If there are violations, the ministry said action would be taken through the local authority.
While other quarry sites in Ras Al Khaimah have been shut down in recent times, the ministry pointed out that the decision was made due to current economic conditions.
Gulf News spoke to Stevin Rock, the quarry operation company which is carrying out the works in Khor Khwair. The general manager of the company Nasser Bustami, explained that while the quarries were part of a ‘conglomerate’ of industries in the area, the operations were fully licensed and approved by the MOEW and are continually monitored.
Bustami said the company followed limits set by the MOEW for blasting noise which are explicit and quantifiable, and are in line with international standards. “We monitor every blast for noise using equipment designed specifically for this purpose and we are in compliance with the MOEW guidelines,” he added.
In addition to following the environmental performance guidelines, the quarry operation company said that it is in regular communication with the ministry.
“Our operations in Khor Khuwair are categorised as ‘Green’ by the MOEW which is the highest level of performance possible in their three level benchmarking hierarchy of quarrying companies in the UAE,” added Bustami.