The Bahraini regime is committing severe environmental violations, and observers warn of severe health consequences for the population.
Over the recent decades, Bahrain has witnessed a tremendous urban boom within a rapid urbanization scheme, but it is not designed to meet the natural flow of the local population.
The Bahraini government, and behind it the leaders of the ruling regime from the Al Khalifa family, aims to profit from real estate and benefit from the open door policy applied to the expatriate workforce.
This situation has led to the doubling of Bahrain’s population three times in a period of two decades.
This urban boom resulted in a resounding increase in human and material activities, which significantly increased pollution levels in the small Gulf kingdom.
In addition, rising temperatures and reduced seasonal rainfall have contributed significantly to wiping out the local marine life.
Bahrain is located in the heart of the Arabian Gulf, an archipelago of 33 natural islands with 51 additional artificial islands.
It consists of a total area of 765 square kilometres.
Also, Manama, the capital, is the largest of Bahrain’s islands, comprising about 85 percent of the country’s total area.
Manama consists mainly of rocky and bare terrain, except for the narrow fertile strip located along the north and northwest coast of the island.
Bahrain has a population of about 1.6 million people, and they are particularly exposed to plastic waste.
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain (ADHRB) raised aspects of the environmental violations committed by the Bahraini government, which still have severe health consequences, where the human rights organization referred to the health effects on the population in the area around the village of Ma’amir.
It indicated that there is a large industrial complex dealing with petrochemicals, aluminium smelting, and the production of concrete and asphalt.
The organization confirmed that these people were affected due to the highly toxic pollution to which they are exposed.
Health consequences and birth defects
The organization pointed out that children in this region are particularly affected by this pollution, with high cancer and congenital disabilities rates. The likelihood of physical malformations is more heightened in Ma’ameer than anywhere else in the country.
The organization pointed out that to address the critical climate challenges facing Bahrain and in an attempt to reduce its consumption of plastic.
The Bahraini government joined the United Nations Global Clean Seas Program in 2018.
In June 2019, the government passed an order to regulate and phase out plastic bags across the country.
It explained that while the government had taken some constructive steps to protect the environment, this was not enough to stop the threat of climate change.
Absence of concrete plans
Bahrain has failed to produce any concrete plans to move away from hydrocarbon fuels with their gaseous emissions to renewable energy sources, despite being an ideal candidate for solar energy due to its sunny climate.
The government also failed to produce any major agricultural projects with green areas.
Furthermore, Bahrain has a very high percentage of cars compared to its population size and has failed to promote electric vehicles.
Prosecution of environmental activists
In its statement, the organizations said that Bahrain, as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, must be at a high level about its human rights obligations, “which is closely related to environmental protection.”
It added that the Bahraini government’s failure to adequately protect the environment through its ongoing economic and development policies, and its persecution of human rights defenders, is of great concern.
The international organization called on the Bahraini government to drop all charges against human rights activists in the environment and release them immediately.
It urged the authorities to develop broad public transport infrastructures in the country, such as the metro and bus system, with incentives to reduce dependence on private cars and encourage electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions.
It also recommended switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, green areas and promoting nature conservation projects.