The relationships between places and past events shape human identity and provide memories that are a reservoir of pain and joy; they connect the chain of time between past and future. In addition to other characteristics, my place of birth, beliefs and ethnic roots all constitute a part of my identity.
Streets in parts of the Lebanese capital turned into rivers of garbage as heavy rains washed through mountains of rubbish that have piled up during a months-long waste collection crisis.
I am OK with a restaurant selling larger bottles of water for Dh2 or Dh3, but when they charge Dh5 for a bottle that originally costs Dh1.5, then that is completely wrong and unacceptable and actually illegal.
This article originally appeared on Reveal
A decade ago, reports began emerging of a strange occurrence in the Saudi Arabian desert. Ancient desert springs were drying up.
The springs fed the lush oases depicted in the Bible and Quran, and as the water disappeared, these verdant gardens of life were returning to sand.
In May 2009, a truck rolled through the Sheikh Yasin camp in Mardan, Pakistan’s “city of hospitality,” where thousands of people had fled following one of the country’s military offensives against the Taliban.
If water was a scarce commodity to this refugee community, ice was a luxury. And it was worth fighting for: A single block could refrigerate whatever perishables the displaced had secured for their families.
Home to around 1,300 Palestinians, the village of Wadi Fukin sits in a fertile valley close to Bethlehem, right along the border with Israel. Driving along the only road that leads into town, I’m taken by the sheer size of the nearby Israeli settlement, Beitar Illit, built just to the East. White stone residential towers housing over 45,000 Israelis rise above on the hills as my car descends into the valley. The buildings slide down towards the village, ending in a towering wall built into the hillside that looms above groves of olive trees.
The two countries also have specific disputes, notably over water, illicit narcotics trade, and refugees. Water flows to Iran are likely to be reduced when major hydropower dams are completed in Afghanistan, and water sharing is becoming a more acute source of friction between the two states.
Due to climatic conditions and high per capita income the United Arab Emirates is already one of the largest water consuming countries in the world. Shopping centers and luxury hotels are built with vast and lavish water features. Sprinklers pump desalinated water on golf courses that evaporates before touching the ground while underground aquifers in the region are pumped dry.
I took off from Al Bateen, Abu Dhabi’s small military airport, to photograph aerobatic airplanes race in front of the newly constructed Sheikh Zayed Mosque. After a few circles around the world’s fifth largest mosque we headed towards the neighboring emirates to see even more ambitious constructions.
The Swiss pilot asked me to take a few photos of the Jebel Ali Palm from above. With further developments in mind, one of his clients back home bought a couple of ‘leafs’.
Looking down from a helicopter parts of Dubai look just as green as pastures in Scotland. Golf courses connect the various housing projects wrapped with artificial lakes and landscaped gardens, the Greens, the Meadows, The Lakes, The Jumeirah Islands.
With an estimated 350 liters, or a little over 92 gallons, per person per day the United Arab Emirates’ water consumption is among the highest in the world. The water used to irrigate the agricultural fields and keep the meticulously maintained golf courses and public gardens green would at least double this amount.
“Take wisdom from the wise
It takes a man of vision to write on water
Not everyone who rides a horse is a jockey
Great men rise to greater challenges”
The Burj Khalifa has 163 habitable floors. It’s designed to hold 35,000 people at any given time. Now, humans produce 100 to 250 grams (3 to 8 ounces) of feces per day. Let’s say 200 in this case, since these people are well fed. That’s 7,000,000 grams per day. Seven tonnes of poop per day.