Kuwait MP requests to grill premier over pollution

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwaiti opposition lawmaker Khaled al-Tahus on Sunday filed a petition to question the prime minister over alleged inaction on pollution in a residential area.

By (AFP)

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Published: Sun 30 May 2010, 3:19 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:00 AM

“This is a humanitarian grilling in the first place. I filed the request after all my attempts to resolve the pollution problem have failed,” Tahus said after filing the request to question Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammad al-Ahmad al-Sabah in parliament.

Tahus, a member of the opposition Popular Action Bloc, had repeatedly warned he would question the premier if the government did not shut several polluting industrial facilities.

Residents of the Ali Sabah Al-Salem area, 55 kilometers (35 miles) south of Kuwait City, have repeatedly complained that excessive pollution from oil and chemical facilities posed a serious health hazard.

Earlier this month about 15,000 students from the area, which has a population of 45,000 and is surrounded by many oil facilities and Kuwait’s three oil refineries, went on a two-day school strike to draw attention to their plight.

The government had ignored a commission’s warning when it decided to develop a residential zone in the area in the mid-1990s.

Residents have also claimed a sharp rise in pollution-related diseases, which the government ignored for almost a decade.

The government has repeatedly cautioned factories with high toxic emissions and sometimes shut them temporarily, but the pollution has persisted.

Sheikh Nasser, a nephew of the emir, became the first Kuwaiti premier to be grilled in parliament last November, which led to a failed attempt to have him unseated over alleged corruption.

Since his appointment to the post in February 2006, Kuwait has witnessed a series of political crises that led to the resignation of five cabinets and dissolution of three parliaments.

After a petition is filed the premier must appear before parliament. The questioning is expected after two weeks and could lead to a motion to unseat him.

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