Chlorine gas in Aqaba unlikely to cause environmental damage

coral reefs
(Photo: Pixabay)
AMMAN — Some experts contacted by Jordan News contended that the chlorine gas that leaked in the port of Aqaba would not affect the environment and is unlikely to spread through the air to neighboring governorates.اضافة اعلان

They said that the weight of the gas impedes it from reaching high levels, yet called on the concerned authorities to come up with emergency plans and follow safety guidelines to prevent similar leakages in the future.

Chairman of EDAMA’s Board of Directors Dureid Mahasneh told Jordan News that “the gas has vanished into the air, which means that it will not affect any more citizens in the province”.

According to chemical engineering Professor Mohammad Ma’touk, “chlorine gas is heavier than air, which means that it is unable to reach the upper layers of the atmosphere, and therefore it remained near the surface of the earth, which is the reason those who were close to the leakage suffocated”.

President of the Red Sea Ecological Agency Nihaya Al-Qassem was skeptical about the possible damage to the environment.

“Any foreign substance in the environmental causes pollution, so what happens when this substance is toxic,” she asked, adding that “a small percentage of the gas will remain suspended in the atmosphere, but will not spread to other areas except in the event of strong winds and rain, and this is unlikely to happen in the summer”.

A former minister who spoke on condition of anonymity, was less optimistic about the effects of the gas on the marine life.

“The greatest damage is to the coral in the Red Sea; it is expected that the gas leaking into the water will invade it in high concentration, which means some coral will be killed, especially since chlorine gas is poisonous,” he said.

At the same time, “the interaction of chlorine with some substances, such as algae residues, is likely to cause the occurrence of carcinogenic substances that accumulate inside fish and are transferred to humans if they eat this fish”, he said.

Marine expert Ehab Eid said the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) should examine the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba on a radius of about 500m, to ensure that there is no damage to the rich marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba, which has some “509 types of fish and about 50 percent of the coral along the Red Sea”.

He stressed that ASEZA imposes a zero-discharge policy, preventing any tourist or economic facility from pumping sewage in the sea, “which means that the authority works periodically to contribute to preserving marine life in Aqaba”.

Read more Features
Jordan News