Potential worries in preserving the environment

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The headline of this article was the title of a lecture delivered last week by Dr. Ghazi Jamjoom at the Dr. Abdul Mohsen Farraj Al-Qahtani Literary Salon in Jeddah, known as “Al-Qahtani Weekly” gathering. This event hosts an eminent academic or literary or cultural personality to give a lecture on a specific subject. Then, the audience has an opportunity to make comments, observations and raise queries based on the topic of the lecture.

Dr. Muhammad Bassiouni, professor of King Abdulaziz University, the moderator of the event, introduced the lecturer to the audience. He noted that Dr. Jamjoom obtained his bachelor and masters degrees as well as his doctorate in the specialization of microorganisms from the United States. Then, he returned to the Kingdom where he served as a faculty member at King Saud University in Riyadh, then at King Khalid University in Abha and finally at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah. Dr. Jamjoom has to his credit a large number of research papers and articles. He founded and managed the Center of Excellence for Scientific Research in the field of environment. He was appointed a member of the Shoura Council. After retirement, Dr. Jamjoom continued his services in the laboratory quality control realm in the private sector.

After the presentation about the lecturer, it was the turn of the session’s host who made a brief speech in which he commended the lecturer, saying that his relationship with the guest dated back to his tenure of service at the university while Dr. Jamjoom was working there as the dean of student affairs. The host lauded him for his popularity as a literary figure with outstanding contributions. He welcomed the moderator and the participants, who included many prominent figures from the community. The host specially thanked those attending for the first time.

Then, Dr. Jamjoom began his lecture by talking about the earth, describing it as the most important human possession, which is being destroyed by people corrupting the environment. This has resulted in many natural and manmade disasters, such as the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters resulting in atomic pollution, the Bhopal disaster in India involving chemical pollution, as well as wildfires and the ozone hole disaster caused by gas pollution. He noted that medical research has proved that 24 percent of diseases are caused by environmental pollution.

After this, Dr. Jamjoom spoke about the environment in the Kingdom in general and Jeddah in particular. He drew attention to the encroachments and obstructions of water passages in the valleys, which led to the flood disaster in Jeddah. He also pointed to the pollution of Arbaeen Lagoon, which was an outlet for the people of Jeddah in the past.

The biggest problem in Jeddah is that the coasts of the Red Sea are surrounded by high-rise buildings and fences, which are the negative phenomena that prompted him to write a book titled “Window to the Sea.”

Dr. Jamjoom concluded his lecture, saying that he was optimistic after seeing the realization of some hopes, such as the national parks, the most beautiful of which are the Asir Park, the seafront and walkways in Jeddah, the establishment of wildlife sanctuaries for endangered animals and the establishment of the Ministry of the Environment. He emphasized that preservation of the environment is not a luxury, but is everyone’s national duty.

At the conclusion of the lecture, a large number of attendees thanked the lecturer for his valuable address. They commended the moderator of the session and his excellent presentation. They also made some remarks and raised some queries pertaining to the topic of the lecture.

Some of the most important queries were about the phenomenon of the disappearance of crows that were supposed to eradicate rats. Dr. Jamjoom responded to this observation by stating that it was wrong to treat one mistake with another mistake. The crows were brought to eliminate rats but they became a problem by themselves and that resulted in dispensing with them. He also noted that the attempt to produce an impact on the environment in an improper manner is counterproductive.

There were a number of queries about the extent of the danger of plastic on the environment and how to overcome that threat. Dr. Jamjoom’s answer was that the solution lies in the hands of people themselves.

At the end of the queries and the replies by the lecturer, he was presented with a certificate of thanks and appreciation by the host of the weekly event. The moderator of the event was also given a similar certificate.

Dr. Ali Al-Ghamdi is a former Saudi diplomat who specializes in Southeast Asian affairs. He can be reached at algham@hotmail.com


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