Mangroves located in Dubai may be killed or badly damaged by the oil leaking from a sunken ship 7 miles off of the emirate's coast, according to Gulf News daily.
The Al Jazya ship sunk Jan. 24. Officials are hoping to safely pump the remaining 500 tons of fuel but have been unable because of bad weather conditions. This is increasing the chances that the remaining oil will escape and cause damage to the environment.
''[I]f the oil is fresh when it reaches the mangroves, it will kill the trees or stress them,'' said Professor Peter Saenger, head of the School of Resource Science and Management at Southern Cross University in Australia, who spent two weeks in Abu Dhabi working with the Commission for Environmental Research at the beginning of December. ''Either outcome will lead to defoliation within a few days, with regrowth of new leaves in those trees that managed to survive.''
He said if the oil takes more than a day to reach the trees, most of the harmful chemicals would have evaporated and thus the effects will be less severe. The greatest risk, he added, is if the oil gets into the newly planted mangroves, such as those on Al Sammaliah and Saadiyat islands.
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