The Yemeni National Salvation Government has condemned Saudi attempts to dump untreated hazardous waste on the ground or off the shores of the conflict-stricken Arab nation, warning that Riyadh is trying to turn Yemen into a toxic waste dump.
The Yemeni Ministry of Fisheries in a statement on Friday pointed to the environmental pollution, injuries, and adverse health risks that could arise as a result of any agreement between the Saudi Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission and the so-called Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council, led by Rashad al-Alimi, concerning nuclear radiation resulting from toxic waste.
It highlighted that the matter “portends a great environmental disaster due to the impact of Saudi waste that has been and will be buried in desert regions and other areas” in Yemen.
The ministry also pointed to “the continued dumping of toxic and chemical waste by foreign ships off the coast of Yemen,” noting that the “radiation recently detected in the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea waters has caused the death of a high number of fish and culminated in the destruction of coral reefs and the marine environment in the provinces of Aden, Abyan, al-Mahra, Hadhramaut.”
“The Saudi regime has turned Yemen, since the beginning of its aggression [in March 2015], into a testing ground for all internationally prohibited weapons, including cluster bombs, incendiary munitions, and nuclear ammunition. Saudi Arabia and its allies have employed such munitions in Yemen with support from the United States, Israel and certain Western governments.”
The statement emphasized that attempts to turn Yemen into a dumping ground for toxic waste amount to a “crime against humanity,” calling on the international community to take immediate action to stop them.
It called for urgent measures to be taken to protect the Yemeni environment and population from such waste.
Saudi Arabia launched a brutal war of aggression against Yemen in March 2015, enlisting the assistance of some of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates.
The war, which has enjoyed generous arms, logistical, and political support from the United States and several other Western governments, has sought to restore power in Yemen to the former Riyadh- and Washington-friendly government.
The former Yemeni government’s president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi resigned from the presidency in late 2014 and later fled to Riyadh amid a political conflict with Ansarullah. The movement has been running Yemen’s affairs in the absence of a functioning administration.
The war has, meanwhile, killed tens of thousands of Yemenis and turned entire Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.