Council raises concerns over warehouse plan
Manama, June 1, 2014
Concerns have been raised over Health Ministry plans to build a warehouse in Salmabad to store "unwanted" substances, which councillors fear could be hazardous or radioactive materials.
The Central Municipal Council shelved a vote on the scheme during its weekly meeting and demanded an explanation from the ministry, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
Councillors warned that the effects of building such a warehouse in a residential area could be catastrophic.
Services and public utilities committee chairman Ahmed Al Ansari said the ministry provided them with a "vague" description of the substances that would be stored in the facility.
"We are speaking about a semi-residential area and we don't want to cause panic, but we need to know more about what would be stored in this warehouse," he said.
"Unwanted could be old furniture or equipment, but it could also be damaged medicines or chemicals or even radioactive materials.
"The worse thing is that they could be unwanted body parts removed or amputated from individuals or those donated but have been found unsuitable and needed to be stored."
Al Ansari urged his fellow councillors to postpone a vote on passing the plans until the ministry provides proper explanations.
"Let's imagine that someone breaks in and steals something potentially harmful," he said.
"It could happen as we have seen these things happen in instances where tight security is available.
"Salmabad is full of warehouses and industries that involve chemicals, we are not that much worried because none are involved in biological substances or materials.
"If we meet with health officials and know the logic behind the warehouse then we would feel much better about allowing the project to go ahead."
Councillors demanded the ministry draw up a list to identify all substances that could be stored in the facility in future.
Al Ansari also called on environmentalists to conduct safety studies into the establishment of the warehouse.
"The ministry could now say that the warehouse is safe and give us assurances, but that's not enough because years from now it may be not," he explained.
"The public has to be made aware about what is being built in their neighbourhood.
"We also need assurances and studies from others concerned, not just the ministry, but bodies like the Supreme Council for Environment and the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry." - TradeArabia News Service