DUBAI // Authorities are urging boat owners to stop emptying dirty water and diesel into the Dubai Creek, after more than 3,000 tonnes of waste, mostly black mud, was dragged from the creek bed.
The municipality said the water was slowly becoming clearer in the Al Jedaf area, near Dubai Festival City, during the huge clean-up of the nine-kilometre waterway.
"We have held more than 35 meetings with dhow owners and factories in the Jedaf area," said Khalid Selaiteen, the head of the environmental emergency office at the municipality.
"We are educating them not to throw anything."
Mr Selaiteen said it was the responsibility of everyone to keep the creek free of rubbish and dirt.
More than 75 volunteer divers and workers from Dubai Ship Building and Engineering are helping to remove waste from the bottom of the creek.
"When we remove the garbage and finish this project we will see a different colour of water," Mr Selaiteen said.
The 14-month clean-up, at a cost of Dh15 million, began last month.
Most of the work in Jedaf is being done with the help of a specially built barge, a tug boat and a pump.
"We are removing the dirty sand layer and bringing it up to the shore," said Bader bin Mubarak, the deputy managing director of Dubai Shipbuilding and Engineering.
Mr bin Mubarak said more than 24 centimetres of sand had been deposited on the creek bed.
"We initially thought it was 10cm," he said.
Mr bin Mubarak blamed discharge from sewerage plants, diesel and dirty water from cargo vessels for the black, smelly mud, which he said was killing marine life.
"The creek is the main passage for cargo vessels, Iranian dhows," he said.
"They are throwing everything into the water. In Jedaf, there is a very tight and narrow opening and it starts to stink."
Apart from the mud, divers have retrieved parts of yachts, fishing nets, thousands of soft drink cans and an old suitcase.
The creek is divided into five separate areas. Removing the rubbish and sand from each section will take about three months, as each has 10 phases of cleaning.
Workers have removed 470 tonnes of waste in each phase so far. The operation is in the seventh phase in the Jedaf area.