Official sources in the ministries of transportation, tourism and the environment have warned of potential catastrophe caused by the ever increasing number of floating hotels on the Nile and their poor maintenance and operating procedures.
They went on to criticize the state of fishing boats and water transport and their adverse effect on drinking water.
Mahmoud al-Qisuny, advisor to the minister of tourism, stated on Thursday night that the waters of the Nile in Aswan are suffering due to the dumping of waste from fishing boats and river transport between Egypt and Sudan.
Such boats produce a type of bacteria which is difficult to eradicate because of the stagnancy of the water. The president of the Egyptian Tourism Board stated, "The Board stresses the importance of protecting the environment, and this matter is of particular concern because of its effect on tourism."
The poor operation and maintenance of tourist boats and ferries in Lake Nasser behind the High Dam lake is of particular concern, as well as the lack of safety procedures, said official sources in the ministry of transportation.
The same sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that, "the Ministry of Transportation formed a committee in 2008 led by former president of the Egyptian Authority for Maritime Safety Hussein al-Harmil, and they prepared a comprehensive report on boats and cruise ships, including floating hotels, then presented it back to the ministry. The report warned that the six cruise ships which transport tourists from Lake Nasser to Abu Simbel, have many issues with lack of safety procedures, due to absence of modern communication methods.
In related news, the Egyptian Organization for the Advancement of Children reiterated the conclusions of the Habi Center for Environmental Rights in its report on the pollution of the Nile waters, after a review of the data from the most recent scientific studies conducted by the cabinet at the behest of economic adviser Ahmed Nagem. The studies confirm that every year some 17,000 children die from gastroenteritis caused by polluted water.
The same study indicated that kidney failure, also caused by polluted drinking water, is four times higher in Egypt than in the rest of the world. It notes that there are some three hundred floating hotels between Luxor and Aswan which are responsible for the pollution of the river water, due to their lack of efficient water treatment systems.