Antarctic Icebergs For The Emirates?

2 Jul 2018 by OOSKAnews Correspondent
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates

An ambitious project to tow massive icebergs from Antarctica to the United Arab Emirates UAE is set to proceed, according to the company behind the plan to alleviate water stress in the country and region.

The National Advisor Bureau Limited (NABL), an Abu Dhabi-based private company, announced June 30 plans to tow the 'bergs to Fujairah on the eastern coast of UAE at an estimated cost of $50 Million USD. 

The company argues that the project will generate billions of liters of fresh water that would otherwise melt and disperse into the ocean. NABL also suggests an iceberg off the coast of Dubai would create a microclimate to cause more rain, and that icebergs will ease the U.A.E.'s reliance on water desalination plants. It has also been suggested that the project could place the UAE on the "glacial tourism map" as the first desert country to offer glacial tourism on its coasts, saving iceberg enthusiasts the trouble of travelling to the North and South Poles.

"The UAE Iceberg Project is an economically, technically and commercially feasible idea now. Once completed in 2020, this will mean an end to water scarcity in the region and UAE will become one of the biggest exporters of fresh water in the world," said Abdulla Mohammed Sulaiman Al Shehi, managing director of the company told UAE media this week.

Earlier this month a Canadian scientist criticized towing-plans, which have also been suggested as a solution for Cape Town, South Africa's water woes, as an "unwise" stopgap measure that fails to address the root of the problem.

University of Toronto professor Miriam Diamond said that should be focusing its efforts on reducing their water use, not on "absurd" ventures like importing ice from Antarctica.

"I think it's an unwise idea," Diamond told CTV. The professor said that the plan is postponing and diverting money and effort from solving the problem in a sustainable way, by opting instead for a quick-fix measure that will only speed up global warming. She also points out that the icebergs are likely to melt and break apart while they're being dragged through the Indian Ocean to Dubai.

"This is a stopgap measure with dubious success," she said.