Business

Qat, Cigarettes, Soda Consumed in Alarming Amounts

A recent report has been issued by Transparency Center for Studies and Research that the number of people who chew Qat in Yemen amounted to a staggering seven million citizens.
The report noted that the total money spent on Qat and its accoutrements, such as cigarettes, water, and sodas, arrived at 771 billion and 732 million riyals annually, which equals 3 billion, 878 million and 50 thousand dollars.
The amount of plastic bags of Qat is estimated at 7 million bags per day, 300 million bags per month, and 3 billion and 600 million bags per year. Those bags end up either in the barrels of waste, on the streets of cities, rural areas, or agricultural land, which caused serious damages in the environment and soil as well.
The report pointed out that if Qat’s purchase average is 300, it indicates that 2 billion and 100 million riyals is being spent per day, 63 billion per month and 756 billion riyals per year.
Findings mentioned that about half a million Qat chewers smoke cigarette during their chewing sessions each day.  Accordingly, they consume half a million packs of cigarettes, which equals 10 million cigarettes per day, 15 million per month, and 180 million per year.
The annual average of consuming cigarettes is estimated at 3 billion and 600 million cigarettes that costs 27 billion in the year. The report added that about 500 thousand people drink 180 million of sodas per year during chewing Qat, estimated nine billion if the average price of the soda was is 50 riyals, which means Yemen produces three million bottles of water.
According to official data, Yemen has imported 146 thousand and 506 tons of mineral water and sodas in 2006 from 25 countries. Those were estimated 10 billion, 235 million and 263 thousand riyals. Saudi Arabia ranked in the top of the countries, which exports 121 thousands and 310 tons of mineral water and sodas and those cost 7 billion, 531 million, and 272 thousand riyals. Thailand comes next in exporting mineral water and sodas which with an estimated one billion 323 million and 808 thousand riyals.
The report confirmed that Yemenis spend four hours per day in chewing Qatwhich equals 28 million hours per day, 840 hours per month, 10 billion and 80 million hours per year are devoted to the activity.  And all the previous numbers are equalled to 420 million days and those are equivalent of 1,153,846 years each year, or 1153 centuries.
Actually, it indicates the capacity of millions of Yemenis have consumed their age for more than one thousand and 1115 centuries and it will be difficult to be compensated since every one of the seven million lost annually 60 days from his age.
The report clarified some sources estimated that the area of Qat is about 250 thousand hectares, and consumed about 128 million cubic meters of the total water resources available in the country. The groundwater used in planting Qat is estimated at 3.4 billion cubic meters and its annual revenues reached a trillion and 250 million riyals and arrived at 5 million riyals per hectare.
Furthermore, Qat consumption of groundwater reached 800 million cubic meters per year. The report intensified that the cultivation of Qat caused a major threat to the continuation of life in many areas, especially in the capital Sana’a. Moreover, about 4 thousands of randomly wells used in planting Qat decreases the water streams rate of 3-6 meters per year.