x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Public zoo, not private ones

A world-class zoo in Dubai or Abu Dhabi might reduce the practice of private animal collections, a reader suggests. Other letter topics: our carbon footprint, Food Revolution Day, SMS adverts, whales and fish and Syria.

A reader suggests that a proper zoo would help curb the problem of exotic pets. Nicole Hill / The National
A reader suggests that a proper zoo would help curb the problem of exotic pets. Nicole Hill / The National

It is good news, but just barely, that this country no longer holds a certain title (UAE drops down the ecology-footprint league, May 16).

But we haven't dropped down very far, and it is surely no coincidence that those who have surpassed us in per capita "footprint" in the latest World Wildlife Fund rankings, Qatar and Kuwait, are also in our region.

Yes, the need for a lot of air conditioning is one issue, but the low retail price of petrol and the weak development of recycling in the region are also to blame.

As a western expatriate who is fairly well-informed about the successes and problems of sustainability in the West, I give the UAE government high marks for good intentions.

But to get from intentions to reality - to establish the supply chain in recycling, for example, takes persistence, investment, public education and public buy-in.

There is a lot of work to do.

Peggy Montgomery, Dubai

That was a depressing story. I feel terrible every time I drop a cardboard box containing 12 empty water bottles down the rubbish chute in my building. There must be a better way.

Sue Curran, Abu Dhabi

Fast way to make a weighty point

All your proposals about the anti-obesity "Food Revolution Day" (Food fight, May 16) involve eating.

Wouldn't fasting for a day make better sense, for healthy people at least?

Mae Marini, Dubai


Paying ransom not the answer

I'm sure there was, among friends and relatives, quite a bit of Joy as $2.8m pirate ransom raised (May 16.) But there will also have been a lot of joy among the pirates, and quite a crowd of new volunteers at the pirate recruiting station.

The related story (EU gunship in beach strike) is better news, in a way. It's particularly nice to see the EU actually do something.

But until Somalia has a proper government to allow investors to create real jobs, and to suppress piracy from the land side, the problem will not go away.

Samir Tawil, Dubai

A truly world-class zoo is required

Your stories Concern over lion cub for sale on Twitter and Customs seizes chance to help animals (both May 16) got me thinking: perhaps there would be fewer problems with private menageries if the UAE had a really world-class public zoo.

With all respect to the quite pleasant Al Ain Zoo, I'm talking about a truly major attraction in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

I know there are ethical controversies about zoos but let's be pragmatic: a well-run, well-funded zoo would treat animals better than many beasts are apparently treated in private at present.

Malcolm Robertson, Abu Dhabi

Case of piscatorial misappropriation

Whales are mammals, not fish. So your headline Skeleton crew hopes giant will become big fish in education (May 16), while clever, is not quite spot on.

More seriously, it is excellent that Fujairah officials are finding a way to get extended educational value from the beast. The photo of the vast whale on the beach is really awe inspiring.

VJ Mehta, Dubai

Save us all from junk messages

Today, during a business meeting, I received a text message. As a relative is in shaky health, I pulled out my phone and checked the message.

It was somebody trying to sell me a Porsche, a car so far beyond my price range that I can't even afford a scale model as a toy.

Won't someone deliver us from this endless assault?

Michel Daoud, Dubai

Euro meeting all bark without bite


I write regarding your story, Merkel and Hollande in euro debt showdown (May 14). This is going to be interesting considering France is technically broke and their pampered workers are forever on strike for more pay. It's like a toothless dog barking.

Aziza Al Busaidy, Dubai

UN must make a move on Syria

I refer to Monitors see 20 shot dead at funeral in Syria (May 16).

What more do the monitors need to see?

It's time for them to withdraw and tell the truth about what they have seen.

Then the UN Security Council can get on with some more substantive action.

Ali Hassad, UK