Red Sea & the Gulf of Aden (ROPME)

Global Programme of Action Fact Sheet
Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment
Sea Area (ROPME) including the Arabian (Persian) Gulf
Sewage treatment plants exist in all member states but rapid population growth is
undermining capacity.
An estimated 750 to 950 million tones of treated and untreated sewage is discharged
annually in the region.
Iran discharges an estimated 150 million cubic metres a day of sewage to the Karun
and Dez rivers.
Kuwait treats, to a high level, 70 per cent of its discharged sewage.
A separate related issue is salt from the area’s desalinization plants making drinking
water from seawater.
One unit of drinking water requires four units of seawater. Discharges from such
plants are evident in many countries. In Kuwait for example, the salinity gradient runs
up to 1.6km from desalination facilities.
Studies indicate low levels in the open sea and slightly increased levels near the coast.
Persistent Organic Pollutants
These are not currently seen as a major issue in this sea area.
Coastal and Marine Litter
This is an increasing problem linked with shipping, rising tourism facilities, oil
platforms and fishing.
Clean up initiatives, for example in Kuwait, have removed more than 3,000 square
metres of fishing nets from reefs. It is estimated that ships generate up to 2.6 kg per
day per person of plastic waste much of which is thrown over board.
Physical Alteration and Destruction of Habitats
This is a major issue for the region driven by “massive development projects in the
coastal areas of most Gulf Cooperation Countries notably Dubai and Bahrain”.
The result is reclamation of tens of square kilometers of land at a time, with the
replacement of entire habitats by large housing developments, hotels, harbours and
industrial plants. In some areas up to 40 per cent of the coast has now been developed.