Pearl Roundabout 'a health hazard'
Manama, March 2, 2011
A top official has branded the Pearl Roundabout in Bahrain a public health hazard.
Unhygienic conditions at the protest camp mean there is an increased chance of food poisoning and spread of infection, Health Ministry director of health promotion Dr Amal Al Jowder told our sister newspaper Gulf Daily News (GDN).
'There are lot of people present there, which could lead to the spread of infection and different types of food poisoning, gastroenteritis and other viruses,' she said.
She described the roundabout as a breeding ground for bacteria and warned demonstrators with existing health conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, to take extra care.
'They are exposed without proper safety and hygiene measures,' said Dr Al Jowder.
'This is not a normal place as it's out in the open with traffic movement.
'Cleanliness is what the people should focus to minimise the spread of infection, especially in a crowded area.'
Food poisoning cases have already been treated in the makeshift medical tent set up at the Pearl Roundabout by a group of healthcare staff.
And although rubbish bins have been positioned around the busy intersection and there are black bags near most tents, litter is a common sight.
Protesters use gas cylinders to cook meals throughout the day, but Dr Al Jowder advised people to eat food from their own homes.
'I advise them not to cook in the open, but either bring food from their homes or place an order with a restaurant,' she said.
'They have the full right to express their opinion, but should also take care of their health and the health of others.'
Portable toilets have been set up for men and women around the Pearl Roundabout, but the GDN's own reporter was advised to walk to a nearby restaurant to use the lavatory when he spent the night there last week.
The Gulf City Cleaning Company (GCCC) is responsible for keeping the area clean and has been sending waste collection trucks and street sweepers several times a day to make sure there is no build up of rubbish.
'We send our sweepers and trucks to collect refuse based on instructions from the Manama Municipality,' said GCCC general manager Adrian Cockrem.
He revealed rubbish was being collected two to three times each morning and throughout the day.
'I cannot quantify and give details of how much waste is collected from these trucks from Pearl Roundabout,' he added. 'The waste is dumped at the landfill.'-TradeArabia News Service