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Radiation threat to Gulf ruled out

BAHRAIN'S environmental watchdog yesterday played down fears of radiation from Japan reaching the Gulf.

The Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife said it has been co-ordinating with the relevant authorities in the region.

The move comes after reports of nuclear radiation in Fukushima following the earthquake and tsunami.

It said that the wind direction and water current in the area near the site of the accident in Japan were not headed towards the Gulf.

The commission said there wasn't any possibility of nuclear radiation ever directly reaching this region.

It said it was co-operating with the authorities in the radiation monitoring field, including the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia.

"Monitoring results show no sign of any abnormal radiation activity in the region," the commission said in a statement.

"No radioactive pollutants have been detected in the region either."

Japan's government had declared a nuclear state of emergency earlier this month following the earthquake and tsunami at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Travellers to Japan were advised to take precautionary measures and not visit any areas close to the incident.

They should follow local authority directives and keep in touch with the Bahrain Embassy to get necessary guidance and instructions, said the commission.

Bahrain has since been put on high alert following reports of radioactive contamination in Japanese food products.

A team of inspectors are using radiation meters to monitor all foodstuff from the country at the Khalifa Bin Salman Port and King Fahad Causeway, officials said earlier.

Some countries have detected radioactive contamination in Japanese food products, including Taiwan and Singapore.

Radioactive contamination in food was detected above maximum levels in drinking water, dairy products and vegetables. It resulted in the US, China and Oman halting imports of some Japanese food products over radiation fears.

Imports

The GDN reported yesterday that Bahrain's main food imported from Japan is fish.

An official had revealed efforts were being exerted to double check any consignment originating from Japan for the safety of consumers.

Health inspectors intercepted two air cargo consignments on March 22 and March 23 from Japan.

The official earlier said the ministry was constantly following international alerts related to this issue and samples of food items are sent for analysis to Public Health laboratory.

A Bahrain Airport Company earlier said that Bahrain International Airport did not operate any direct flights to or from Japan, which rules out the screening of travellers.

basma@gdn.com.bh



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