I wonder if I was the only person struck by the sheer incongruity of the Emirates Today Saturday Splash this week. 'Save the Wadi fish' certainly falls into line with the paper's hard-hitting campaigning style, but you would be forgiven for wondering if it's really front page headline news - particularly as the story, by two senior reporters, lacks much detail on the problem that requires a call for the salvation of our fishy friends.
The wadi tracks, including now the famous and much-beloved Hatta track, are being turned into black-top. Few of the 'great' tracks remain. This has resulted in a new level of access to wadis by the public and, as can be seen in Wadi Warrayah, this has meant the devastating pollution of the few wadis that haven't been pumped dry by farmers. That pumping has also resulted in the widespread proliferation of filthy, oily pumps leaching hydrocarbons into the wadi beds. Most of the wadi pools that I know of are now dried out.
The entire nature of the magical ecosystem that has built up around the unique wadi watersystems of the UAE has been changed fundamentally by unplanned and unregulated human activity and that devastating change continues unchecked. Unstudied, uncelebrated and unloved, the wadis are dying by the day.
And they're worrying about the fishies...