Fishermen in the Nile Delta

Collection with 4 media items created by Editor's Picks

29 Jun 2012 23:00

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

Nile Delta Cairo Egypt Pollution Ecology Environment Economy Sweage Fishermen Fishing River Health Raw Footage Feature Story Editor's Picks

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Pollution in Nile delta threatens fis...
Rashid, Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
29 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

00:01-02:15
The Nile extends 120 km in Monofeya governate including more than 150,000 fishermen. This job is inherited through families. There are fishermen who have diplomas & bachelor degrees but they can't be but a fisherman. The reason of our suffering is the 'Sewerage' from Rahawi branch and the other drainage system of Shibeen Coum that has been there for 10 years. Rahawi branch passes an untreated amount of 12-14 million meters daily into Rosetta branch. At this time of year, the water level is high so the sewage is not obvious but it gets worse in October. In October, the water level is less and the sewage is all over and it kills every living organism in the water. We have tried to reach every official and they have given us plenty of false promises. It's only getting worse every year. Last year, our condition was slightly better. Fishermen used to catch 2 or 3 kilos of fish. The last statement by the prime minister included incorrect data. The production of free fishing in Egypt in his statement is far from reality. Fish farms, however, is in good business; only for few businessmen while the rest of the people have nothing to do.
02:16-03:54
This whole issue can be solved by a single action. We just want them to move away the sewage to the desert maybe. Studies have been made and it says it would be treated in the Western desert and grows trees. I have met with the Major General Sayed Salem and told him that people are very angry and will cut off the roads that link between the east and west although we are very peaceful people. Fisheries are what we earn our living from and they are the base of our lives. There many health problems since we got the highest rate of kidney failure worldwide in Monofeya and this is all documented. We have 10-15 victims yearly of young fishermen who die of health problems caused by bilharzias, kidney failure and liver failure. Moreover, the farms are irrigated by this contaminated water which leads to contaminated plants.
03:55-06:13
My name is Fadl El Nabi Shiha, Sheikh Sayadeen (head of fishermen) of Noor center, one of the people affected by the Sewage project. Fishermen used to enjoy a good life. Now, we're like germs and people are trying to avoid us. They talk about the condition of people with a low-income; while we have no income at all. The Nile is filled with more than 30 types of fish. They all got extinct except for one kind of fish but when the officials lower the water level, all living organisms die. Sometimes, the officials even throw grease in the Nile and the next day all kinds of fish die too. We can say that starting 1981, the situation have become much worse. At first, when the fishermen saw the dead fish in the sea, they thought that it was because of some planes that spread pesticides not knowing what kind of disaster we were about to face. The Sewage system is passing underneath Nassery Lake and Khaltabeya Lake and we were thinking of bombing the sewage pipes so it would contaminate everything and cause a disaster for the whole country. We used to earn 300 pounds a day as fishermen while now we don't have anything to eat. I swear to God if they don't discontinue the sewage project or direct it to the Western desert; we will explode the pipes and contaminate both lakes.
06:14-07:10
My name is Saber Helmy Awad a fisherman from Jizah village, Rosetta branch. I just want to ask the officials what to do since my only income is through the fish in the river. I inherited this job from my ancestors and I didn't get any education and neither will my children since we can't even afford buying food. If a person can't afford buying food, would he choose education over food? Since last August till this June, none of the fishermen have gained any money from their jobs. How can we live like this? The cost of one kilo of fish from fish farms reaches 20 or 25 pounds while fish from the Rosetta branch costs from 1-6 pounds and people don't even want to buy it.
07:11-08:10
I guarantee you if the sewage project is discontinued, we will lower the price of the kilo of fish to half a pound and fish farms will be out of business. We are half a million fishermen. If we fish at least 20 kilos a day from clean waters, we will provide 5-6 million tons of fish from Rosetta branch alone like before. Trucks used to be loaded with fish from our town to Greater Cairo, Alexandria and Kafr El Sheikh.
08:11-08:50
I want to ask the officials if they only respond to demands when people make chaos. We could cut off the streets to get their attention but we care about this country for real and we care about the jobs of the employers in our town who only want to earn a living to feed their children. But if we, fishermen, do cause chaos, would you listen to our demands?
08:50-10:39
In Egypt, there is the ministry of Environmental affairs which make reports about the conditions in Egypt to the World Health Organization confirming that the environment in Egypt is good; however it is inoperative. People there only take their salaries and they don't care about World Health or Egypt Health conditions. 90% of kidney and liver failures are for people who live near the Rosetta branch waters. In addition to the sewage pollution, there is also the untreated factory waste which is full of chemicals like what Israel is threatening the world with. It contains ammonia and other chemical substances which, if directed to the desert, could benefit Egypt in a lot of ways since the desert would be cultivated and we would have so many woods that we can export it instead of importing. Our ancients fathers (pharaohs) used to vow that they wouldn't steal, commit adultery or contaminate the waters of the Nile. Now the officials in Egypt are proud of contaminating it which is mentioned in the holy Quran for being a river from heaven.
10:40-11:39
The Nile grass used to grow 25-30 cm tall a year when the water was clean; however, now it grows 30 cm a day because of the polluted water. The excavators remove it and 10-15 days later, the water gets blocked again because of the insects, pollution and grass. Beneath the grass, there are like 30 cm long remainings caused by pollution. Without the sewage project, there won't be contamination and thus the grass won't grow that fast.
11:40-12:35
Although there are 12 million meter daily of pollution that are being disposed into the Nile waters by the factory wastes and sewage, fishermen are the ones who are legally blamed for the polluted waters. Fishermen face a case in trial once every month. This man is charged in one of the cases and he has 1600 fine to pay that he cannot afford. I have a case that I know nothing about and I have objected the case like 50 times. I am to be sentenced for three months in jail and 1600 pound as a fine.
12:36-13:57
It is an issue of public opinion. I'm sending a call for the whole world and the World Health Organization to care about our cause. My name is Salah Ibrahim and I work as a fisherman. I've got kidney failure because of the pollution in the Nile waters and it causing all the miseries we're living through. I got sick and kept throwing up so I went to the doctor and they informed me that I had kidney failure. I perform renal dialysis three times a week. The government gives me some money as an aid. It is not enough but we're trying to live with it anyway.

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video shoot by fishermen : Pollution ...
Monofiya , Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
21 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.
00:00-02:15
I want to speak to some official about what's happening and know why the fish is dying. Children are getting sick from the sewage and bilharzias.
02:16-04:05
We are all sick with bilharzias. We can even see the bilharzias worms in the water while washing the dishes. We can't find any fish to catch. Have sympathy with us. We are all infected with bilharzias and many other diseases as well as our children. Please listen to our cause. We have filed many complains to officials and we didn't get any answer. The sewage of Giza governate is filling the Nile waters and it has killed all the fisheries in the Rosetta branch.
04:06-06:08
My children and I have become homeless. I can't afford buying them food since the fisheries has been destroyed by the sewage passing through our waters. It has ruined our lives. We need some official to look into it and come see the ruins for himself. All the fish in the water has died and now we can't do anything. We should try to earn a living somewhere else. Take a look at all the dead fish; they're all dying like this. This water is not only harming the fish but humans as well; even the cows do not want to drink from it. Here, as you can see, there's a bilharzias on my hand and all over our bodies. We want some official to investigate this. It harming us humans and that’s all because of the sewage in our waters.
06:09-09:24
I'm 73 years old. I'm very upset about this situation because most of the fish is dead or dying and people don't want to buy it and it's all because of the sewage in the waters. I have sent my son to Cairo so he can work to take care of his elderly mother. I'm 73 years old and I've never seen something like that. All the boats are abandoned; no one is fishing anymore because if they catch any fish it's either dead or smells very bad and the people don't buy it. People don't want to eat any fish from Rosetta branch because it's not clean anymore; even if you catch that fish far from Rosetta branch. The sewage has destroyed our lives; we can't earn our livings and there's no other job that we can do. We've always been fishermen, and now we can't buy food or even wash our clothes because there is no access to clean water. The clay in the ground is now more clean that the Nile water. We can't do any other job. Sons of fishermen now find themselves owning boats that they can't use.
09:25-13:05
There is no fish at all; they are all dead. An engineer has filed a case against me and my brother accusing us of pollution the water and I have a fine of 1500 pounds to pay. We are all hungry and our children as well. You can see what we're dressed like. We just need some official to stop the sewage spreading our water. What can people do? Beg? Here are our nets that have been lying there for two days and still no fish at all. Fisherman can't work as farmers. What can they do? Some people have 11 children. How can they feed them? And still they file case against us accusing 'us' of polluting the water. I'm 51 years old and I didn't get married yet. I can't afford and I'm helping my brother who has 11 children and most of them are girls. We just want the officials to stop sewage spreading otherwise they can get us some other job to earn our livings from and we will be giving up our licenses as fishermen. Moreover, cultivation is also affected since farmers use Nile water and it's killing their plants.
13:06- 16:45
Sewage is also affecting the boats. Erosion is affecting the boats and steel so it definitely would affect us, human beings. The water if filled with dead fish floating and worms. We can't buy medicines to cure ourselves from the different diseases attacking our bodies. We ask for the sympathy of officials. Sewage has killed the fisheries. My job is to be in the water to catch fish and all I find is worms; my body is suffering from the worms and the fish is dead. I can't even cure my eyes; they're red and I go to doctors seeking for help. Houses are filled with families of 20-30 members and none of them can eat because of the existence of sewage in our water. Women are washing the dishes in the polluted water so it's reaching every house.
16:46-20:40
We're about to start begging. 20 families can't afford their living now. 3-4 million fishermen in Rosetta branch are affected.
20:40-22:55
We want officials to look into this matter and have sympathy with us. Look at the dead fish that suffocated from the sewage; the sewage that is coming from Giza so as not to pass through Cairo. The fisheries are dead and 3-4 million people depend mainly on the fish as a trade to earn their living and they don't own any properties or lands to earn a living. We're getting old and we have families to support and we are sick of borrowing money and we don't own any properties to buy for the sake of money. We all know that the government is responsible for this, yet they file cases against us accusing us of polluting the Nile and they charge us fines of the value of 1000 & 1500 pounds. The poor are the ones who pay the price; on one hand, they can't support their families and on the other hand, they are charged with these accusations and pay the fines. We're living in the era of Mubarak in which the poor gets equal rights like the rich. We're sending our girls to work while they should be staying at home.
22:56-32:25
My name is Abdel Nabi Shiha and I'm the head of fishermen of Rosetta branch. Fishermen have sick bodies because of the pollution and the fisheries are destroyed. We don't send our children to school anymore because we cannot afford it. We're living a miserable life. I ask the officials to pay attention to the situation of fishermen. Everyone is enjoying their freedom and is happy except for fishermen. Our children cry when they see the children of rich people living like that and enjoy their meals and they ask us why we can't eat. Everyone is enjoying their lives but fishermen. We're human too. Our waters are only filled with worms because of the sewage and factory waste. We ask the members of parliament whom we elected to do their jobs and help us. More than 10-15 thousand fishermen are living in misery. We call for help from all officials especially Health & environmental organizations. Should we steal to support our families? We have nothing to do.
32:26-35:30
In Rosetta branch, it's been 10-12 years that sewage has destroyed our lives and killed the fisheries. People are sending their children to work. Bilharzias have affected everybody. People go to the doctor and he tells them that they need to remove some organ of their body and we can't afford medical treatment. Help us. Families of fishermen consist of 10-12 persons. We just want to know who to complain to, which minister is responsible for this chaos. I've has this amount of fish for two days and we're suffering from bilharzias. My brothers and I will work as laborers to pay for the license. Can this amount of fish feed a whole family? Officials should see our houses not just the water, we can't live in them. The river Nile should be something sacred; it's a gift from God, now it's just filled with sewage and worms.
35:31-37:35
My two sons are fishermen and they can't afford their living. The sewage water spreading in the Nile is unacceptable. People do not like to be near me after I've been in the water because I smell like sewage and we can't eat any of the fish from that water. I get 80 pounds from the government and if

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video shoot by fishermen : Pollution ...
monofiya, Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
21 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

00:00-00:48
Have mercy on the children and their fathers who are trying to support them. Sewage has ruined our lives. We are getting old and we cannot afford the costs of living. Our children have become homeless and are living on the banks of the river. We ask officials to look into the misery we're living in.
00:48-01:55
Who is responsible for this situation? Which ministry could cut off the flood of sewage into our waters? The sewage is continuously flooding to our water but it only has an effect when the water level is low and then it kills all grass and the fish. Officials talk all the time on the television and give false promises but they never act upon it but they don't talk about Rosetta branch or the fishermen, they only talk about other issues like divorce, etc.
01:56-04:02
They were talking on television about the problem of air pollution in Cairo; however, they didn't mention anything about the sewage water, water pollution, the dead fish or us being hungry. Isn't that all more important than air pollution? Some air pollution that was in Cairo had all the media attention and that's because there are rich people there; while we live surrounded by polluted water, air pollution, sewage and we can't eat. It's ironic how Egyptians feel proud to have such a blessing like the Nile; however, Rosetta branch is full of worms and the fish is dying because of factory waste and sewage. They keep talking about bilharzias and its effect and how to avoid infections while we're all day working in the Nile which is filled with these worms. I address officials to help us. The water is not clean at all.

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Pollution in Nile delta threatens fis...
Rashid, Egypt
By Transterra Egypt
29 Jun 2012

The delta in Egypt used to be a perfect location for fishing before it became the main destination for the country's sewage. The polluted waters threaten both the fisherman's wallet and his health.

0:00-01:10
Sheikh Sayadeen(head of fishermen), may his sould rest in peace, has previously gone to the parliament & they gave him false promises. The water was filled with a lot of fish and in only twenty four hours, it goes extinct. We can buy food. It's been five months that fishermen don't earn any money but what can they do; he's sad and his wife is crushed, he can do nothing. We had to send our children away to work either in farms or as doormen. In Tanta, there is plenty of fish but here in Monofeya we don't have any fish farms. We were the 'kings' of fish. In out water there was fish, snakes and different kinds of sea creatures but now everything is extinct.
01:11-02:40
Now you will see how we work in reality so you can see everything for yourself. Believe it or not, when someone used to come to buy fish from me, I used to get a box full of fish in only ten minutes. Look at the condition of our water now that used to be worshiped by our ancient father, the Pharaohs. When we were young, people used to swear saying "I swear on the pure king's soul" referring to the Nile. Now they can't say that anymore because it's no longer pure. Why would they even call it 'king'?
When an employer gets a deduction of one day from his salary as a punishment, they complain; while fishermen have been suffering for eleven years. The officials remove the Hyacinth and other Nile planets which costs 30 million pounds every year. Well, instead of spending money on that, why don't they clean the sewerage water? We don't care about being fishermen anymore; we just need a job to earn our living.
02:41-04:26
Now I'll show you exactly how we do our job. I'm a fisherman from Rosetta branch(of the Nile), from the village of 'Jezaii', Rashid governate. My name is Souba Abdel Nabi El Shimy.
Our problem started when the 'Sewerage project' or what is referred to 'The Death Project' started. It started on 1984 and at first it didn't have such a bad effect on us because the water used to have more shifts than now so it wasn't as fatal as it's been since 1986 till now. This project is mainly about the sewerage of Greater Cairo passing through Rahawi project to the Nile directly without any Sewage treatment which led to the discontinuity of the fishery. The only people who are benefiting from this are the people who own fish farms so their business would flourish and keep us working for them. We are not less human than they are, we should be equal.

04:27-04:59
Many fishermen are quitting on this job and trying to find something else like being doormen or else. Fishermen's children don't go to school. Fishermen are making their children find a job either in some fish farm or else; some of them even begs for money.
They never wonder why a new born is infected with the 'C' virus and Hepatic failure. They provide plasma treatment which costs millions and they are leaving this contaminated water like this. We don't want the medical treatment; we just want them to cleanse the water so we don't get diseases in the first place.
05:00-06:25
Check it yourself, there's no fish at all. We don't want a charity from no body, we just want the 'Sewerage project' to end; we're not asking for the impossible. A man is responsible for his wife and three children and is supposed to feed them. I only got two tiny fish today. Even if they were in gold & silver, it wouldn't be enough to feed us. We can do nothing but pray otherwise we would better not live on this earth. How can we afford this? Ought we fix the boat or buy food? This is job is no longer sufficient. If you ask other fishermen, they would tell worse than this; they just chose us to speak because we wouldn't offend anyone.
06:27-07:24
Here is one of the fishermen. He works as a day laborer for people so I he can feed my children. He doesn't even have an undershirt to wear as you can see. This network is the cleanest it could be like this; usually it is filled with worms.
07:25-08:50
My three children suffer from bilharzias because of this infected water. Most children here are infected with this disease. My two nephews have it. They also have 'C' virus. A month ago, you couldn't support standing anywhere near the water because of intensity of the sewerage; it was also filled with worms. Now it's much cleaner, there are no worms like before. We even can't invite you to eat because we don't have bread. Thank God for everything though.
08:50-
As you can see, all boats are empty.
My name is Hussein Eissa El Shakhs, a fisherman from Rosetta branch and Sheikh Sayadeen (the head of fishermen). We've had this problem for 40 years. In 70's & 80's, though, it was not as bad as it has been starting the 90's. It reached its peak since 1990. It's been 22 years that we've been living like 'homeless', literally. The Nile extends 120 km in Monofeya governate including more than 150,000 fishermen. This job is inherited through families.