|Monastery of Our Lady the Virgin near Dibbin. |
|Centenary Pine Tree in Dibbin. The first Jordanian King, Abdallah I, took shade under this tree, and named it Al Hada'ah.|
|A Google Map showing the Dibbin National Park, also surrounding arid area is shown. Why not to build the project in this area? |
As a Jerash blogger, I just wanted to have my say on Dibbin project. Personally, I have good memories of that park; school trips, picnics, passing the time under its trees with friends and family and other memories that are hard to forget. However in this post I will try to be rational as much as possible.
I'm happy that Jordanian blogosphere has different visions of Dibbin's project. The majority of bloggers invited to sign a petition against the project. However, I've read the Nasim's post two days ago, and he presented a different view of the situation and he demanded explicitly not to sign the petition.
I invite you to read his post.
Ok, let me present myself, I'm a Jerash citizen, or more accurately, I'm a "COOL" Jerash citizen, I've signed the petition and I still invite everybody to sign it. I know the petition is until now unclear; but personally, I will sign any petition that is in opposition to the current project and demands protection for our trees, even if I won't get knowledge of its secondary details. Another point is that the project itself is unclear, I'm sure you've noticed that different blogs, websites and newspapers have contradictory information on what will be built in Dibbin and how it will be built.
Anyway some intentions are evident; first of all, Jordan Dubai Capital is not a charity, so it's exaggerated to represent this project as a humanitarian action to solve all Jerash economic problems. The company tries to persuade poor people here that the project will have a key role in extremely decreasing poverty and unemployment rates. Unfortunately some of them believed in that, and found the Dibbin project as the unique way to exit from the current situation. In reality no one can bet on this, especially on the long term.
The company will also have a selective policy regarding entrances, for sure price of tickets to enter Dibbin will be high, very high. This discriminatory procedure will allow only privileged and elite class to visit the park.
Jordan Dubai Capital clearly expressed that one hotel and 200 chalets will be built, initially they aimed to construct three hotels and 600 chalets but this plan was downsized after several consultations with RSCN, which affirmed that 8% of the area covering the complex will be directly affected, and minimum 160 trees will be cut down. Imagine that… building such a complex is not so simple; electricity, water, roads and other several infrastructures will have a devastating effect on the surrounding zone.
The most important matter is that the project is illegal, in fact the proposed project does not agree with the Environment Protection Law No.52 of 2006 (Articles 13,14,18) and Agriculture Law No.44 of 2002 (Read Articles 28,32,34,35). These laws prohibit the use of forests by private sector and determine the forests property as national and public, they also give Ministry of Environment more privileges in approving or refusing activities that could have any impact on environment.
There's a solution for this problem and it's quite easy, I think that a good alternative is to make a tourist complex that:
- Is outside the boundaries of Dibbin park, and outside forests. There are so many empty spaces here in Jerash, it will cost a little more to plant new trees, but results are the same, in addition, we will gain a new green zone, even if it is privately owned.
- Protects environment. No trees should be cut down for the project, and if it will be set up in an arid or semi-arid zone, it will be good to help stop desertification. It should also encourage protection of wild fauna and flora.
- Meets local community needs. Since the project is in Jerash it must be addressed to Jerashis (or Jerashians, as you like). It should really help to produce new jobs, workplaces and it should be an important investment for city's development and economic growth.
- Does not monopolize forests in any way. Dibbin National Park is for all Jordanians; today we pay 1 JD as entrance fees, which 20% is directed to local people. Things should not change after the project.
- Has an environment friendly architecture, promotes tourism and does not make wasteful use of rare resources.
I think this is a good alternative to all the parts; investors, environmentalists and local community. Sorry to say, many persons who pretended park's protection were accused to be averse to any form of investment, we are not against any 'Dibbin project' we're only preoccupied of the proposed project, so a project that takes the above points in consideration will gain my support. And believe me, most of the people of Jerash have the same opinion.
U P D A T E :
The Ministry of Environment had reservations on the original location, so it suggested a new location, the 'resthouse'=estiraha, that's owned by Social Security Corporation and already has infrastructures, so no trees will be cut down :) However, this zone is inside the forest itself :(
Can we say that Jordan Dubai Capital 'surrendered'?... they finally have decided to change location, on the other side, up to this time we don't know the result of the environmental impact assessment (EIA)...
Labels: Jerash, Jordan