Manama coastline 'could vanish in 18 years'
Manama, March 18, 2012
People in Bahrain's capital Manama could lose virtually all view of the sea within 18 years as part of major reclamation work to link it with Muharraq.
More than 90 per cent of the coastline is privately owned and is likely to be turned into investment projects worth billions of dinars, councillors have warned.
The sea linking the Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa Bridge from Mina Salman to Hidd, Shaikh Isa Bridge from the Diplomatic Area to Muharraq and Shaikh Hamad Bridge from Hoora to Muharraq are affected, said a report in the Gulf Daily News, our sister newspaper.
Plans are also in the pipeline to join the Seef district with Busaiteen and Juffair with Hidd.
The Manama Municipal Council revealed most of the country has already been zoned off by the Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Ministry under its detailed Master Plan 2030.
Only the capital has so far been left out, which councillors believe is due to the fact that the ownership of some parts of the sea is still disputed with VIPs.
'It is sad that Manama, which was known for its beautiful ports throughout the years will be now joined with Muharraq from all sides,' said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
'We are waving goodbye to our seas as they turn into cement jungles with water swaps. It is just a matter of 18 years when the three bridges linking Muharraq on water will be linked by land for multi-million dinar projects.
'Seef and Juffair will be left with no coast as they will be linked with Busaiteen and Hidd respectively - yes, a 4km stretch of water will stay as part of Al Fateh Corniche, but that is shrinking too.'
Mansoor, who is also the council's financial, administrative and legislative committee chairman, warned the beauty of sea could be gone forever.
'Governments and people across the world fight to protect the sea and here in Bahrain they tend to destroy it in the name of development and urbanisation,' he said.
'Everyone knows that those sea lands have been either acquired or bought through connections by VIPs for minimal prices, but that was in the past and we can't have them taken away for free now.
'It is the government's duty to get that land back either through replacements with their owners or by buying them because what makes Manama beautiful is its coasts.'
Ministry officials could not be reached for comment, the report said. - TradeArabia News Service