Thursday, December 3, 2009


You know, I don't usually go down the possibly political road here on method lust. And I'm not actually sure this is "political" anyway, but just in case, you've been warned. Ha ha!

I've just discovered this amazing, albeit extremely eye-opening article on Dubai. Dubai, you know, one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Yes, you know, that crazy city who's built it's own man made islands. The one with the Burj Dubai, the tallest man-made skyscraper in the world. - Glitz, glamour, money. That Dubai. (Oh and yeah, the Dubai that has just admitted it can't pay back much of it's debt right now. Just wait and see the irony of that one, when you read the article.)

Well, people, all that glitters ain't gold. Now what's this got to do with a cleaning products website? Well, I like to think of method lust as not only a hub for all things method, but as you've seen in the past, for all things environmental (ok, maybe not ALL things, but lots of things!) But it sorta goes a step further. Because if we're out there trying to make a difference on this planet, to keep the environment safe and happy; we also need to be trying to keep mankind safe and happy as well. It all sorta goes hand in hand, don't you think? Clean environment, happy Mother Earth, caring mankind (towards one another) = peaceful coexistence. People friendly means LOTS of things, right? Right.

As far as I'm concerned, Dubai is failing. - In both respects. Honestly, that place just scares me. Creeps me out. I can't even explain why. But just in case you're thinking I've really stepped over the line, gone off the rails, and this has nothing to do with environmentalism; oh contraire my friend, read this excerpt:

"...I wanted to understand how the government of Dubai will react, so I decided to look at how it has dealt with an environmental problem that already exists – the pollution of its beaches. One woman – an American, working at one of the big hotels – had written in a lot of online forums arguing that it was bad and getting worse, so I called her to arrange a meeting. "I can't talk to you," she said sternly. Not even if it's off the record? "I can't talk to you." But I don't have to disclose your name... "You're not listening. This phone is bugged. I can't talk to you," she snapped, and hung up.

The next day I turned up at her office. "If you reveal my identity, I'll be sent on the first plane out of this city," she said, before beginning to nervously pace the shore with me. "It started like this. We began to get complaints from people using the beach. The water looked and smelled odd, and they were starting to get sick after going into it. So I wrote to the ministers of health and tourism and expected to hear back immediately – but there was nothing. Silence. I hand-delivered the letters. Still nothing."

The water quality got worse and worse. The guests started to spot raw sewage, condoms, and used sanitary towels floating in the sea. So the hotel ordered its own water analyses from a professional company. "They told us it was full of fecal matter and bacteria 'too numerous to count'. I had to start telling guests not to go in the water, and since they'd come on a beach holiday, as you can imagine, they were pretty pissed off." She began to make angry posts on the expat discussion forums – and people began to figure out what was happening. Dubai had expanded so fast its sewage treatment facilities couldn't keep up. The sewage disposal trucks had to queue for three or four days at the treatment plants – so instead, they were simply drilling open the manholes and dumping the untreated sewage down them, so it flowed straight to the sea.

Suddenly, it was an open secret – and the municipal authorities finally acknowledged the problem. They said they would fine the truckers. But the water quality didn't improve: it became black and stank. "It's got chemicals in it. I don't know what they are. But this stuff is toxic."

She continued to complain – and started to receive anonymous phone calls. "Stop embarrassing Dubai, or your visa will be cancelled and you're out," they said. She says: "The expats are terrified to talk about anything. One critical comment in the newspapers and they deport you. So what am I supposed to do? Now the water is worse than ever. People are getting really sick. Eye infections, ear infections, stomach infections, rashes. Look at it!" There is feces floating on the beach, in the shadow of one of Dubai's most famous hotels.

"What I learnt about Dubai is that the authorities don't give a toss about the environment," she says, standing in the stench. "They're pumping toxins into the sea, their main tourist attraction, for God's sake. If there are environmental problems in the future, I can tell you now how they will deal with them – deny it's happening, cover it up, and carry on until it's a total disaster." As she speaks, a dust-storm blows around us, as the desert tries, slowly, insistently, to take back its land..."


Uhm, yeah. And did I also mention residences of Dubai have the biggest average carbon footprint of any human being – more than double that of an American. Oh, and don't even get me started on what it takes to build a man made island. Can you even comprehend that? Wanna read the entire article? I'm telling you it's long. It's depressing. Perhaps even shocking. But it's HIGHLY worth the read. So take off those ADHD blinders, and settle in. And I'd LUST knowing your thoughts after you've digested this.

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