Reclamation

Bahrain is growing and it is continuing its growth. No, I don’t mean its financial growth or its popularity or even its population. I mean its acreage. Bahrain today has more reclaimed land which makes its total area much more than what it was about 10-15 years back. The Tubli area, Bahrain financial Harbour, Seef all having been built on reclaimed land.

But at what cost? Shopping Malls seem to have erupted everywhere. There has been a spurt of construction- shopping malls, office blocks, freehold property etc. But in recent times most of the office blocks show the sign-To Let. Don’t know if it is because of recession or is it because there are tooo many available places.

This is a picture of Bahrain Financial harbour which was made on reclaimed Land off Manama Corniche. The sea has been pushed back thousands of kilometers for this construction. And the Corniche barely exists now.

Originally planned as a Financial haven having banks, Insurance etc. was supposed to have six high rises.Till date only 3 have been completed out of which one is ‘Villamar‘ a freehold apartment building. The other two hold big signs of Offices for Rent. The other traditional office areas like Manama, Exhibition Road have the same story. There are too many offices or maybe the rent is too high. So then what was the idea behind reclamation of Corniche?
The Tubli area again is reclaimed area which today boasts big villas with even bigger boundary walls with no sight of any humans. The Seef which is on reclaimed land today has a huge shopping complex . The list seems to be endless.

I am not against reclamation. For an island country with a growing population reclamation is inevitable. But then why is no survey done before construction on its need. In expat areas like Gudaibiya and Manama why only 2-3 storeyed buildings are allowed. Why not graze 2- 3 buildings and build a high raiser with parking. So that there will be more apartments
In a country with no source of potable water and dependency is entirely on desalinated water, will such reclamation have no effect.

And the environmental implications?? Dust Storms like these are fairly common. While earlier it used to be a one day phenomena not it lasts for days together. Visibility will be sometimes down to zero. And if you venture out you can taste the sand. We have had two dry winters, usually there will be 2 or 3 heavy downpours before the beginning of a winter. Now anytime there is rain that too dirty rain. Sometimes its like petrol is pouring down from the clouds. While environmentalists may state global warming or depletion in the ozone layer, its my belief that reclamation of land too plays a part in it. Aren’t we changing the ecological balance.

Aren’t we playing havoc with nature? Do we have that right?
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