By Mudassir Raja
Qatar Natural History Group (QNHG), a group that’s working to raise awareness about the natural beauty of Qatar, held an informative and enlightening talk on the topic ‘Al Karaana Lagoons: Reclamation, Rehabilitation & Wildlife Enhancement’ at Doha English Speaking School on Wednesday. The discussion was attended by members of QNHG and other participants.
Thomas Clouet, Technical Interface Manager – Project Manager for SUEZ, one of the world’s leading environmental services companies, explained in a presentation the process and benefits of the big on-going environment project.
Thomas has an engineering background in the field of water treatment with 15 years of experience within SUEZ Group working on engineering, procurement, construction sewage treatment plants, potable water production plant, and sludge drying systems in Egypt, France, India and Qatar.
He arrived in Qatar in November 2017 for the project. Al Karaana Lagoons have been used for years as an industrial sewage dumping area. Ashghal decided to clean the area to preserve environment. The wildlife developed naturally thanks to the presence of water, in the middle of the desert.
In addition to the main objective to clean up the area and bring it back to its previous undisturbed state, the parties eventually committed to go beyond contract obligation in order to enhance the wildlife zone.
Elucidating on the objectives of the project in his presentation, Thomas said that the project aimed at re-instatement of the site with no future development, preservation and enhancement of existing wildlife, and permission for temporary discharge of industrial effluent.
Explaining the scope of the work, he said: “We will create two evaporation ponds to allow the reception of industrial sewage until new treatment plant is available.
“We are also to extract, treat and store on site polluted sediments contained in the existing lagoons – prior to the treatment. Water in the lagoons will be evaporated. The project will also create one landfill to encapsulate significantly the contaminated sediments. We will also create three wild life lagoons to evaporate TSE [Treated Sewage Effluent] water currently coming from nearby treatment plant and will recreate wildlife habitat for birds and the fish.”
Last month, Ashghal told media that more than 71% of the reclamation and rehabilitation works of Al Karaana Lagoon has been completed and the project is scheduled to be commissioned to be completed in the third quarter of 2020.
Al Karaana Lagoon, located 60km southwest of Doha, has been used since 2006 to receive liquid industrial waste discharged by tankers. In 2016, the lagoon also started receiving treated sewage water from Al Karaana treatment station.
Talking to Community, Thierry Lesales, a senior member of QNHG, said: “The presentation and subsequent discussion was very enlightening. We learnt that how much interest the Qatar authorities are taking in reclaiming the site and improving environment of Qatar. The project is very costly but the government decided to go ahead with it focusing on its environmental importance. We all are very excited to learn that the project will also go for improving some lagoons and preserving wildlife. They will have a beautiful landscape there in the end.”
Sheri Kenly is a US citizen and has been associated with QNHG for eight years. She said: “Such kinds of discussions absolutely help us understand environment of Qatar better. The group has helped me in learning many things about this Qatar. Different professionals come to the platform and discuss environment and nature in technical ways. I can apply the knowledge I get from here while I am in the desert. I have learnt that I should not drive on any greenery in the desert because there can be some kind of birds with their nests inside the area.
“There are many people who do not leave Doha city. There is a natural habitat in the desert in this country. You can go anywhere in this country safe and sound. That is your opportunity to learn about Qatar so I will say get out of the city and do not just stay here.”
Kyounghee Cha Malawi is a US national with Korean origin. She said: “I have been associated with the group for four years. It is a kind of best way to learn about the natural beauty of Qatar. I think many people come to Qatar and see only West Bay or other parts of the city. One of our members has seen a sand fox in the desert and these are the beautiful things to see in Qatar.”
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