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استبيان رضا المتعاملين عن موقع دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة

Coastal construction shrinks beach

posted on 06/06/2003: 1499 views

People enjoy their time out at Al Ras Al Akhdar. ©Gulf News

Being surrounded by the azure Gulf waters often gives the impression that Abu Dhabi city is a summer resort ringed by palm trees and sandy beaches crowded with swimmers and revellers most of the time. But that is quickly dissipated by the fact that only a tiny strip of beach is all that is left for the swimmers.

Apart from costly and restricted private beaches of the hotels, Abu Dhabi's beach lovers are now crammed on a beach not exceeding 500 metres in length. Most beaches here have given way to construction work.

Al Ras Al Akhdar, just next to the ladies beach, attracts thousands of Abu Dhabi residents during the hot summer days as they have nowhere else to go. It is the only open, free beach left in the UAE's island capital since swimming at hotel beaches is either costly or restricted to members.

The 6.5km Corniche on the western flank of the city is being renovated and expanded to accommodate more cars and set up recreational sites. But this project has deprived swimmers of their favourite palm-dotted beach that once was the Corniche's hallmark as the trees have been razed and the sand replaced with concrete. Stretching westwards into the breakwater, another busy workshop of construction work is taking place and beach revellers who used to dive in that quiet place, are no longer seen. The project includes a beach resort island but is expected to attract only the rich.

For many people, Ras Al Akhdar has started to give them a headache, especially on weekend days, when thousands flock to that beach and struggle to park their cars. Ras Al Akhdar is more than 10km from the city centre and some swimmers have to wait under the sun for a long time to get a taxi back home on the busy weekend days. The strip in that area was much bigger but part of it had been cordoned off and buried to give way to the construction of the Palace Hotel, which is now in its final stage and is set to be one of the biggest hotels in the region.

But Ras Al Akhdar is still an enjoyable place as its water is clean and calm and the beach is shaded by scores of trees that cool down the sand and ease the smothering summer heat and humidity. During the weekend, the beach appears like a cosmopolitan resort island as it attracts several nationalities and different ages.

Watching them on a busy weekend day, one sees joy on their faces although they have been repeatedly squeezed into that small beach strip in the island capital. Amidst such joyous moments, they appear oblivious of such a fact and seemingly do not want to spoil those moments with the thought that their last beach will also disappear. (The Gulf News)


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