Host A: Dubai is going to be the first country ever to feature a refrigerated beach.
Host B: You know what they got in Dubai?
Host A & B: Too much money!
Host B: Yes. They’re also the people who have the indoor ski slope.
Host A: Right. Right, right, right. And let me tell you exactly what a refrigerated beach is. The sand...underneath the sand there will be heat absorbing pipes, ...
Host B: Unh huh.
Host A: ...OK, so the sand won’t be 1)scorching. The visitors and tourists will be comfortable. Obviously the pools are gonna be temperature controlled by computers, and they’re gonna have cool water, and it’s gonna cost a ton of money.
Host B: I have a lot of opinions on this, surprisingly enough. First off, I think it looks really cool, like, if they did it, it’d be kinda “2)bad-ass” to have these almost like modern-day Gardens of Babylon, in a sense, and I’d like to go to them and experience it. Now, having said that, I think it’s a mistake. I think they’re building up this huge 3)edifice and it’s gonna crash one day, especially if you pull out the oil rug from underneath these guys, man, this economy that they’re building and these huge buildings and their refrigerated beaches and the indoor ski slopes. House of cards!
The locals, the Emirati, are less than 20% of the total population. Someone has to do the work. For the most part, Emirati can lead a very privileged life. They benefit from an elaborate welfare system. If they want to, they can have free education right through university, 4)subsidized housing, incentives to marry a fellow national, and the opportunity to get government jobs.
As the sand is moved to create another 5)gargantuan project destined for the record books, there is one record that Dubai can be less proud of. Wherever another of Dubai’s monumental projects pops up, they are there. They are the muscle that pours the concrete, moves the sand, ties the steel rods. They are the manual labourers who are behind the construction boom of Dubai. There are almost a million of them, and they are here for one reason only.
Man: They’re trying to earn more money. They can’t get this much money in their home country.
He wakes up at 4:30 in the morning, cooks his breakfast, and by 5:30 takes a shower and gets ready. By 5:30 they start for their work site, and the whole day he works out there, by six o’clock and we can start(s) back for home and the time they reach home maybe sometimes eight o’clock. After going back, they wash their clothes and again cooks for their dinner and then they go to sleep.
In 2006, Human Rights Watch described the construction workers as “6)deportable forced labour” and condemned the Emirates of cheating workers. Demonstrations and strikes have shaken authorities and they’re beginning to crack down on those companies who don’t follow the rules.
It’s one of the world’s financial hubs with a reputation for mind-boggling engineering projects: the world’s tallest building, the biggest artificial islands, and a ski slope in the middle of the desert. But Dubai also has its share of critics. They claim that the charge towards all-out luxury is hurting natural resources and threatening the environment.
Water consumption in the United Arab Emirates is among the highest in the world at around 550 litres per person per day. Dubai’s expanded population is one contributor to this over-consumption. Hundreds of thousands of 7)expatriates have been drawn here by economic growth and high spending power, and it’s become a city of shopping centres and consumerism. But it’s also now got the world’s largest ecological footprint.
Tanzeed Alam (World Wide Fund for Nature): If everyone in the world lived like an average UAE resident, we’d need four and a half planets to sustain that level of consumption, and clearly, from that, our waste statistics also are 8)derived. Because we consume so much, we also waste a lot.
According to Dubai authorities, the city produces 60,000 tons of refuse a day, but there’s still no large-scale treatment program. That means most of it ends up here with no recycling. Ecologists now say it’s imperative for Dubai authorities to agree to some serious wide-ranging reforms to prevent natural resources here going to waste.