Eleven thousand feddans of vegetables and fruits are being irrigated with sewage water in the villages of the Qouseya region of Assiut, Al-Masry Al-Youm can reveal. Sewage water is dumped directly into the canal and agricultural, environmental, and local officials are conspicuously absent.
"Drainage vehicles empty their contents directly into the Meer canal, which is used to irrigate the crops," said Gamal Thabet, a local farmer. Mohamed Ahmed, another farmer, said that despite several complaints to the governorate, as well as to environmental and agricultural officials, nothing has been done.
Responding to the charges, Abdel Aziz Hareedi, the first deputy minister of Agriculture in the governorate, said it is the responsibility of the local council to implement the minister’s decision to eliminate the irrigation of crops with sewage water.
The council previously owned ten sanitary drainage vehicles, which were later taken by the Holding Company for Potable Water and Sanitary Drainage, said Fekri Thabet, head of the Qouseya local council. The vehicles were taken because the town has its own sanitary drainage network, therefore the vehicles dumping sewage into the canal are privately owned.
Meanwhile, villages 34 and 37 in the Belqas region of Sharqiya continue to drink water contaminated with sewage, after the sanitary drainage project serving the two villages was put on hold eight years ago. Similarly, complaints from local residents have gone unanswered.
The village has become a swamp for insects, reptiles and worms because officials say there are insufficient funds to buy 100 meters of pipe and machines worth LE400,000, said Mohamed Abdel Qader, a resident of village 34.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.