Houthis accuse Saudi Arabia of 'dumping toxic waste' in Yemeni waters

Houthis accuse Saudi Arabia of 'dumping toxic waste' in Yemeni waters
The Houthi Ministry of Fisheries alleged that Saudi Arabia was discarding nuclear and toxic waste from "foreign companies" in Yemeni territory.
2 min read
11 June, 2023
Houthi officials have warned the Saudi-led coalition of "harming the Yemeni environment" following allegations of nuclear waste dumping [Getty]

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have accused Saudi Arabia of dumping nuclear waste in waters in the south and east of the country, Houthi-affiliated media said on Friday.

The Houthi Minister of Fisheries, Muhammad al-Zubairi accused Riyadh and the internationally-recognised Yemen government of "burying nuclear and toxic waste in Yemen's territory", in comments reported by affiliated Al Masirah TV.

The minister did not specify when and where exactly the alleged waste dumping took place.

The official warned the Saudi-led coalition against harming the marine environment in Yemen by discarding nuclear waste, stressing that the country’s marine safety was "a red line".

Al-Zubairi said that a joint committee consisting of members of the navy, security, coast guard, and the foreign affairs and fishery ministries wa formed to follow up on the issue.

Another official, Muhammad al-Faqih, claimed that the waste dumped by Saudi Arabia belonged to "major foreign companies", Al Masirah said.

The internationally-recognised Yemeni government did not comment or respond to the Houthi’s claims, according to Arabi21.

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On Friday, the Iran-backed Houthis warned against the signing of any agreements that authorise the dumping of toxic waste, stating that such practices "jeopardise Yemen’s environment".

The rebels, who have de-facto control of north Yemen, also claimed that high radiation levels were detected on the coasts of Aden, Abyan, Al-Mahra and Hadramout governorates as a result of alleged toxic waste "dumped by foreign companies".

The radiation has allegedly killed thousands of tons of fish and damaged coral reefs in the Red and Arabian Sea.

The ministry of fisheries further said that efforts to turn Yemen into a dump of toxic waste "represent a crime against humanity", and the international community must "take immediate action" to stop it, stressing the need to take urgent measures to protect the environment and the Yemen people from such pollution.

The Iran-backed Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition, which supports the Yemeni government, have been engaged in conflict since 2015 as a result of the rebels seizing the capital Sanaa the year before.

The years-long fighting has resulted in the death of thousands of civilians and one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, with both sides being accused of grave abuses by rights groups.