About Rehan Ahmad

Rehan Ahmed is currently working as Head of Waste Disposal Unit at Supreme Council for Environment, Kingdom of Bahrain. He has over thirty four years of professional experience on projects related to waste management, recycling, reuse and recovery & environmental impacts assessments. Rehan has been instrumental in construction, development, operation and management of Hafira industrial landfill site and establishment of healthcare waste treatment facility in Bahrain.

The Menace of Plastic Water Bottles

During the holy month of Ramadan, the use of drinking water increases many folds as water bottles are supplied and provided especially at ‘Fatoor’ and dinner at religious places, hotels, Ramadan tents and private homes. The main consumption is however, at the religious places due to longer stay of people in offering special night prayers (taraweeh and Qiyam ul Lail). These water bottles are provided in bulk by philanthropists, sponsors and people at religious places to quench the thirst of people who gather for the long prayers.

In the Middle East, it is common to see people greatly misuse this resource considering it free, taking a bottle, sipping it half and leaving it at the venue. These used and partially consumed water bottles are then collected and thrown away in municipal garbage bins from where  it is collected and transported to Askar municipal landfill site located some 25 km away from the city center. These water bottles thus have a high carbon footprint and represent enormous wastage of precious water source and misuse of our other fragile resources. In many cases, these water bottles are being littered around the commercial and religious places.

Plastic water bottles are a common feature in our urban daily life. Bottled water is widely used by people from all walks of life and is considered to be convenient and safer than tap water. A person on an average drinks around 2.0 liters of water a day and may consume 4-6 plastic bottles per day. UAE is considered as the highest per capita consumer of bottled water worlwide. 

We need to understand that plastic is made from petroleum.  24 million gallons of oil is needed to produce a billion plastic bottles. Plastic takes around 700 years to be degraded. 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself. 80% of plastic bottles produced are not recycled.

Globally, plastic recycling rate is very low and major quantities of plastics are being disposed in the landfills, where they stay for hundreds of years not being naturally degraded. Recycling one ton of plastic saves 5.74 cubic meters of landfill space and save cost of collection and transportation.

Water bottles manufacturing, transportation, distribution and again collection and disposal after its use create enormous pollution in terms of trash generation, global warming and air pollution. The transportation of bottled water from its source to stores alone releases thousands of tons of carbon dioxide. In addition to the millions of gallons of water used in the plastic-making process, two gallons of water are wasted in the purification process for every gallon that goes into the plastic bottles.

The first step is that once you open a water bottle, you need to complete consume it to fully utilize the resource. Do not throw the plastic bottles as litter. The solution to the plastic bottles usage lies in its minimum use and safe disposal. Alternatively, a flask, thermos or reusable water bottle can be used which can be refilled as required. It is suggested that religious places, hotels and malls should have efficient water treatment plants to reduce the use of plastic water bottles.

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التغيرالمناخي و الكوارث الطبيعية

climatechange-healthترتبط العديد من الكوارث الطبيعية مباشرة مع تغير المناخ بما فيها الفيضانات والأعاصير و موجات الحر والجفاف و حرائق الغابات والعواصف . وقد أودت مثل هذه الكوارث بحياة أكثر من 600,000 في العقدين الماضيين . تكرر و حجم هذه الكوارث في تزايد مع مرور الوقت و بدون استقرار حتى مع وجود خطط للحد من انبعاث الغازات المسببة للاحتباس الحراري (غازات الدفيئة ) و التوقيع على اتفاقية التغير المناخي في باريس.

سجل مكتب الأمم المتحدة للحد من مخاطر الكواثر, بمتوسط ​​335 كارثة متعلقة بالطقس بين عامي 2005 و 2014 ، أي بزيادة قدرها 14 ٪ مقارنة بين1995-2004 ، و تقريبا ضعف المستوى سجل خلال-1985 1995,  ووفقا للتقرير ، فقد أصيب 4.1 مليار نسمة  بلا مأوى أو كانوا في حاجة إلى مساعدة طارئة نتيجة للكوارث المرتبطة بالطقس بين عامي 1995-2015. حيث وقعت حوالي 332,000 حالة وفاة و تضرر 3.7 مليار شخص في آسيا وحدها. هذه الأرقام مقلقة و فتحت العين علينا جميعا لنفهم و لنستجيب لهذه المشكلة الملحة استنادا للفيضانات والعواصف وقد شكلت النسبة الاعلى في الوفيات الناجمة عن الكوارث الطبيعية المرتبطة بالطقس .

و وفقا للبيانات، شكلت الفيضانات 47 ٪ من جميع الكوارث المتعلقة بالطقس من1995-2015, مما أدى بالضرر  على 2.3 مليار نسمة وبوفاة 157,000شخص. حيث تعد العواصف إحدى اخطر أنواع الكوارث المرتبطة بالطقس ، وهو ما يمثل 242,000 حالة وفاة أو 40 ٪ من الوفيات الناجمة عن الأحوال الجوية العالمية ، مع 89 ٪ من هذه الوفيات تحدث في الدول ذات الدخل المنخفض.

درجات الحرارة القصوى نتيجة لظاهرة الاحتباس الحراري الناجمة عن مقتل حوالي164,000  نسمة، منهم 148,000 حالة وفاة حوالي 92 ٪ ، وقد تسبب بسبب موجات الحر . حدثت  90٪ من الوفيات الناجمة عن موجات الحر في أوروبا وحدها . في روسيا ، قتل أكثر من 55,000  شخص نتيجة لموجة الحر في عام 2010 ، حيث بلغت الوفيات 70,000 في عام 2003 في أوروبا .

و وفقا للبنك الدولي: "النقاط الساخنة من الكوارث الطبيعية : لتحليل المخاطر العالمية " تقرير صدر في مارس 2015 ، حيث وضح أن أكثر من 160 دولة لديها زيادة في عدد سكانها أكثر من الربع و بذلك احتمالية عدد الوفيات في تزايد بسبب الكوارث الطبيعية. شهد العقد الأول من القرن21،حوالي 3,496 من الكوارث الطبيعية شملت الفيضانات والعواصف, الجفاف و موجات الحر.

وفقا لمنظمة  العالمية للأرصاد الجوية ، فإن العالم معرضاً للخطر و الكوارث بما يقارب 5 أضعاف كما كان في 1970, بسبب المخاطر المتزايدة التي جلبها التغير المناخي. في العقد الماضي ارتفعت تكلفة الكوارث إلىbn 864 $, لذا نحن بحاجة إلى فهم أن التغيرات المناخية المنتشرة ليست موحدة في جميع أنحاء العالم. و من المتوقع ان يرتفع مستوى البحر في البلدان القريبة  خط الاستواء بنسبة 10-15%, و في المناطق المنخفضة و الساحلية و الجزر الصغيرة مثل البحرين. فإن ارتفاع درجات الحرارة يتسبب في مزيد من الجفاف والفيضانات و ارتفاع مستوى سطح البحر ، والإجهاد الحراري ، والمزيد من استهلاك المياه ، والمزيد من متطلبات الطاقة و التبريد و انتشار الأمراض التي تنقلها المياه مثل الكوليرا و الإسهال. وهكذا, فإنه يؤثر علينا جميعا بغض النظر عن موقعنا والمكانة.

البحرين تفهم موقفها ، و اتخذت سباقاً تخطيط وتصميم للجهود المبذولة لمعالجة هذه المشكلة العالمية من خلال الاستثمار في البنى التحتية ، واستصلاح الآمن و إعداد خطط إدارة الكوارث لمواجهة الكوارث و تهديداتها . وقد حان وقت كل فرد ليبني عادات بيئية سليمة, و الحفاظ على الموارد الطبيعية المحدودة.

ترجمة

بدرية الكيومي/ تخصص علوم بيئية, عضو في جمعية البيئة العمانية

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Earth Day 2015 – It’s Our Turn to Lead

Like Earth Days of the past, Earth Day 2015 will focus on the unique environmental challenges of our time. As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever. Earth Day 2015 will seek to do just that through its global theme: It’s Our Turn to Lead. With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

Due to rising population, more migration is taking place from rural to urban areas. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities with urbanisation rates rising and impacts of climate change have prompted the need to create sustainable communities. The Earth day is observed believing that nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

It is a fact that people are crowding cities and with the increase in population density, pollution of all sorts is increasing as well. Many cities are finding it difficult to cope with this fast urbanisation and to provide basic facilities like shelter, infrastructures, water, sanitation, sewerage, garbage, electricity, transportation etc. to its inhabitants.

People who live in high-density air pollution area, have 20 per cent higher risk of dying from lung cancer, than people living in less polluted areas. Children contribute to only 10 per cent of the world’s population but are prone to 40 per cent of global diseases. More than 3 million children under the age of 5 years die every year due to environmental factors like pollution.

Earth Day 2015 will seek to create awareness amongst people to act in an environmental friendly manner, promote and do smart investments in sustainable urban system transforming our polluted cities into a healthier place and forge a sustainable future. It’s exceptionally challenging for our communities and cities to be green.

Time for Action

It’s time for us to invest in efficiency and renewable energy, rebuild our cities and towns, and begin to solve the climate crisis. Most of the Middle East nations have limited land area and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which is affecting the social and environmental determinants of health, clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. We need to audit our actions and see what are we contributing towards your environment and community? Earth Day is a day for action; a chance to show how important the environment is to us. Earth Day is about uniting voices around the globe in support of a healthy planet. The earth is what we all have in common.

Let us be a part of this green revolution, plan and participate in Earth Day activities moving from single-day actions, such as park cleanups and tree-planting parties to long-term actions and commitments and make our city a healthier place to live as the message of the Earth Day is to “Actively participate and adopt environmental friendly habits”.

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A Message on World Water Day

Water is the major driving force of sustainable development. World Water Day aims to increase people’s awareness of the water’s importance in all aspects of life and focus on its judicious use and sustainable management. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day (WWD). Since then the WWD is celebrated to draw wider public attention to the importance of water for mankind. Globally the day is celebrated to focus attention on water conservation, carrying out appropriate concrete measures and implementing the UN recommendations at individual, local and national level. WWD is a global day creating awareness on the subject and urging people to take appropriate actions for its conservation and avoiding its misuse.

The World Water Day 2016 theme is ‘Better water, better jobs’ which aims to highlight how water can create paid and decent work whiile contributing to a greener economy and sustainable development. Water is essential to our survival, it is essential to human health. The human body can last weeks without food, but only days without water. Water is at the core of sustainable development. From food and energy security to human and environmental health, water contributes to improvements in social well-being and growth, affecting the livelihoods of billions.

Globally, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 7.5 liters per capita per day to meet domestic demands. Around 20 liters per capita per day will take care of basic hygiene needs and basic food hygiene. Poor water quality and absence of appropriate sanitation facilities are detrimental to public health and more than 5 million people die each year due to polluted drinking water. The WHO estimates that providing safe water could prevent 1.4 million child deaths from diarrhea each year.

This year, the UN is collectively bringing its focus to the water-sustainability development nexus, particularly addressing non access to safe drinking water, adequate sanitation, sufficient food and energy services. It is ironical that a large number of people in the Middle East are still consuming excess water and are ignorant or careless about the looming water shortages. With the threat of dwindling water and energy resources becoming increasingly real and with each passing day, it is important for every person in the Arab world to contribute to the conservation of water.

Celebrating World Water Day means that we need to conserve and reduce our water use as excessive water use will generate more waste water which is also to be collected, transported, treated and disposed. We need to understand that 60% of total household water supply is used inside the home in three main areas: the kitchen, the bathroom and the laundry room.

Saving water is easy for everyone to do. Let us try to implement the following basic water conservation tips at home:

  • Turn off the water tap while tooth brushing, shaving and face washing.
  • Clean vegetables, fruits, dishes and utensils with minimum water. Don’t let the water run while rinsing.
  • Run washing machine and dishwasher only when they are full.
  • Using water-efficient showerheads and taking shorter showers.
  • Learning to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • Repair and fix any water leaks.

The World Water Day implores us to respect our water resources. Act Now and Do Your Part.

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Green Resolutions for New Year

green-resolutionsThis year, in addition to our personal goals, let us make another New Year resolution: to make this year the year we really ‘go green’. Supporting environmental initiatives should be one of our main priorities and needs to be reflected through our resolutions and commitment to safeguard it against all forms of pollution and to protect our fragile and finite resources. Depending on our age, work, location etc., our priorities may be different but our actions should be in unison towards environmental protection.

We need to understand that we have very recklessly plundered the global resources in a short span of time that is causing many adversities and catastrophes, but we are the only species that have to take preventive measures to avoid any such occurrences in future. Let us make sincere pledges and serious commitments towards our planet and protecting our environment.

Let us, at the least, try to support the following activities and tasks starting from this year and onward, if we have not practiced earlier:

  • Protect and enhance the green spaces, parks and playgrounds.
  • Utilizing our roof for gardening and creating green areas.
  • Enviauditing of our household and office related activities. Improving tasks that require electricity and water usage.
  • Use minimum water for our daily activities.
  • Wash clothes in normal water and washing only when full loads are in the dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Turn off the faucet while we brush our teeth or shave.
  • Watering our lawn in the morning/ evening to reduce evaporation losses.
  • Changing incandescent bulbs for C.F.L.s.
  • Conserve energy in all forms. Switch lights when not in use.
  • Unplug mobile charger and computer after use as it wastes a lot of energy.
  • Avoid fast fashion. Reduce our insatiable appetite for design apparel and related clothing that we wear for only one season and throw it in next. Only buy what you need.
  • Do green shopping and donate items/ clothes we do not use.
  • Detox your home. Only use safe chemicals and detergents as household cleaning products for furniture, bathrooms and clothes including air fresheners.
  • Reuse and recycle material
  • Plan vehicle trips to avoid peak hours and traffic congestion.
  • Avoiding wasting any food items.
  • Avoid plastic bags and taking our own bag for shopping.
  • Avoid using Styrofoam cups, disposable cutlery and other related items.
  • Avoid un-necessary print outs and photocopy.
  • Minimize using bottled drinking water. This is expensive and generates plastic bottles waste. Instead use filtering equipment at home or use large refillable and reusable bottles.
  • Avoid using paper towels and napkins. Instead use cotton clothes and old used fabrics.
  • Enhancing our awareness by reading and knowing more on environment.

Let us make sincere pledges and serious commitments towards our planet and protecting our environment (Image Courtesy: www.inhabitat.com)

Let us make sincere pledges and serious commitments towards our planet and protecting our environment (Image Courtesy: www.inhabitat.com)

Enjoy the festivities of the season and be a more responsible citizen of the world. Happy New Year!

New Fines for Littering in Bahrain

Littering is a common phenomenon both in urban and rural areas of Bahrain. Streets, sidewalks, parking lots, roads and highways are mostly covered with food wrappers, soft drink and water bottles, plastic bags, handbills, cigarette butts, tissues, papers etc. Litter has the potential to cause harm to human health, safety, welfare as well as the environment. Littering can be a fire hazard and it attracts pests and rodents. Litter also cause accidents on roads as drivers avoid litter on road. Litter also harm plants, vegetation and natural areas. The temptation to ‘litter’ is usually motivated by disrespect to the law and its enforcement as well as ignorance and arrogance in our attitude, thinking that municipalities will clean our mess.

There are several factors that may impact on littering behaviour including inconvenience and laziness, absence of ownership or pride for the area, feeling that someone else will pick it up, number, placement and appearance of litter bins at or near the site, absence of realistic penalties, enforcement of legislation, lack of social pressure and lack of knowledge of the environmental impacts of littering.

New Littering Fines in Bahrain

The local authorities in Bahrain have now taken cognizance of the situation. Now littering on Bahrain's roads could carry fines of up to BD300 if a new draft law is passed by parliament. The National Cleanliness Law was approved by the Capital Trustees Board last week and includes tougher punishments for dumping waste, leaving animal faeces on the streets, and disposing of medical or hazardous substances in public. The new law will give more judicial power to the municipal officials to penalize the offenders.

Under the existing law which is almost three decades old, offenders are fined only BD10 for littering. However, if the new rules are implemented, then fines for minor offences will range between BD100 and BD300 and for serious offences will be between BD500 and BD1,000.

Capital Trustees Board chairman has very rightly mentioned that ‘Dumping and littering have become a habit for a number of people and it needs immediate action, especially with fines not matching the offences. The fines once imposed will be monitored by the Capital Trustees Authority, and Bahrain's three other municipalities.

Thus, dumping and littering whether on main roads or neighborhoods, on pavements or alleys, at beaches or wasteland are prohibited. Also, dumping anything that may obstruct traffic or prevent people from movement is illegal whether it is garden waste, construction waste, furniture, vehicles or any other materials.

Conquering Litter

Litter can be conquered. People can make a difference. It is our responsibility to clean up the litter in an ‘earth-friendly manner.’ Clean communities have a better chance of attracting new business, residents and tourists. There is no reason for any of us to litter because we can always find a litter bin to throw the trash away.

Let us set an example for others, especially children, by not littering and by carrying a litterbag in our vehicle, securely covering trash containers to prevent wind or animals from spreading litter, when visiting parks and recreation areas make sure to leave the area clean for the next person to enjoy and restricting the distribution and disposal of handbills.

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Energy Conservation in Bahrain

bahrain-energyBahrain has one of the highest energy consumption rates in the world. The country uses almost three times more energy per person than the world average. Based on 2014 statistics, the country consumes 11,500 kWh of energy per capita compared with the global average of 3,030 kWh. The country is witnessing high population growth rate, rapid urbanization, industrialization and commercialization with more visitors coming in, causing fast growing domestic energy demand and is posing a major challenge for energy security.

The Government is aware of this challenging task and is continuously planning and implementing projects to enhance the energy production to meet with the growing demand. The issue of efficient use of energy, its conservation and sustainability, use of renewable and non-renewable resources is becoming more important to us. The increasing temperatures and warming on the other hand are also causing more need of air-conditioning and use of electrical appliances along with water usage for domestic and industrial purposes. This phenomenon is continuing in Bahrain and other GCC countries since past two decades with high annual electricity and water consumption rates compared with the rest of the world.

Bahrain’s energy requirement is forecast to more than double from the current energy use. The peak system demand will rise from 3,441 MW to around 8,000 MW. While the concerned authorities are planning for induction of more sustainable renewable energy initiatives, we need to understand the energy consumption scenario in terms of costs. With the prices of electricity and water going up again from March 2017 again, it is imperative that we as consumers need to think and adopt small actions and utilize practices that can conserve energy and ultimately cost.

The country has already embarked on the Energy Efficiency Implementation Program to address the challenge of curbing energy demand in the country over the next years. The National Energy Efficiency Action Plan and the National Renewable Energy Action Plan (NREAP) have already been endorsed. The NREAP aims to achieve long-term sustainability for the energy sector by proposing to increase the share of renewable energy to 5 percent by 2020 and 10 percent by 2030.

Per capita energy consumption in Bahrain is among the highest worldwide

Per capita energy conservation in Bahrain is among the highest worldwide

As individuals, we need to audit how much energy we are using and how we can minimize our usage and conserve it. Whenever we save energy, we not only save money, but also reduce the demand for such fossil fuels as coal, oil, and natural gas. Less burning of fossil fuels also means lower emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary contributor to global warming, and other pollutants. Energy needs to be conserved not only to cut costs but also to preserve the resources for longer use.

Here are few energy conservation tips we need to follow and adopt:

  • Turning off the lights, electrical and electronic gadgets when not in use.
  • Utilizing energy efficient appliances like LED lights, air conditioners, freezers and washing machines.
  • Service, clean or replace AC filters as recommended.
  • Utilizing normal water for washing machine. Use washing machine and dish washer only when the load is full. Avoid using the dryer with long cycles.
  • Select the most energy-efficient models when replacing your old appliances.
  • Buy the product that is sized to your actual needs and not the largest one available.
  • Turn off AC in unoccupied rooms and try to keep the room cool by keeping the curtains.
  • Make maximum use of sunlight during the day.
  • Water heaters/ Geysers consume a lot of energy. Use them to heat only the amount of water that is required.
  • Unplug electronic devices and chargers when they are not in use. Most new electronics use electricity even when switched off.
  • Allow hot food to cool off before putting it in the refrigerator

Guide to Green Shopping

With the advent of December, many festivities, celebrations and seasonal parties are planned globally. These events require feverish shopping leading to usage and wastage of more resources. In addition, December is also famous for the shopping mania that grips people from all walks of life. ‘Shopping’ is certainly one of the most famous ‘indoor sport’ being practiced equally by people of developed and developing countries depending on their life style and budget and is mainy being done by the female gender.

‘Going green’ is a way forward for all of us as it is a life style change including improving our shopping and purchasing habits so that the additional environmental burden can be reduced. The market forces, industries, manufacturers are supported by extensive media and marketing campaigns which lure us to buy more and unnecessary commodities.

The responsibility of environmental stewardship lies on us to control and behave and move to ‘green shopping’ altering our pampered purchasing habits. Start by auditing your lifestyles and shopping list and see where improvement can be achieved to reduce pollution.

Being a green consumer we need to conserve resources, save  energy, and prevent waste by buying  products that are energy efficient, are used or reusable, made with  recycled content or are  recyclable and have no  or less packaging.

Green shopping involves learning how to buy smartly and keeping environmental considerations in mind. Here are some useful eco-friendly shopping tips:

  • Check if the item is ‘really’ or ‘urgently’ required. May be you do not have an immediate use or can postpone it to any later date.
  • Check what quantity and content of the item is required and for what duration?
  • What are the alternatives to the item in terms of cost, size, number etc?
  • Buy durable products instead of disposable items. Buy things which last longer and can be reused like rechargeable batteries and avoiding plastic cutlery and plates.
  • Avoid excess packaging. Look for products that have less packaging or buy in bulk meaning less garbage generation, disposal and transportation.  
  • Share items with friends. Another way to save resources and energy is to swap and exchange with friends and family instead of buying brand-new products. This includes sharing video games, CDs, DVDs etc. instead of individuals owning them.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances and electronic items and promote energy-efficient products.
  • Buying useful presents and gifts aiming at its use and not cost.
  • Select items made with recycled-content materials.
  • When selecting between two similar products, go for the one you can re-use or re-fill later, or the one that hasn't wasted resources on a wrapper you'll throw away as soon as you get home.
  • Buy sustainable products which have the ability to be produced (over and over again) without doing much harm to the environment.
  • Buy locally made or grown food. Local foods are fresher and keep local farmers in business, while avoiding the pollution caused by transporting products around the country or region.

Let us inspire ourselves to live a greener more environmentally friendly, healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Become a Green Shopper. Explore, Enjoy and Make A Difference! 

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إعادة استخدام الملابس القديمة وتطويعها لأغراض أخرى

عشرات الملايين من أطنان الملابس القديمة يتم التخلص منها في جميع أنحاء العالم كل عام.  في البلدان الغنية، حوالي% 5-6 من النفايات البلدية الصلبة  تتألف من الملابس المستعملة. في عام  2010تخلص الأميركيين من 13,1 مليون  طن من المنسوجات ، منها  %15 فقط تم إعادة استخدام ، في حين أكثر من 11 مليون طن من المنسوجات كانت ملقاة في  مرادم النفايات في جميع أنحاء البلاد. الوضع لا يختلف في الشرق الأوسط حيث أن  كمية كبيرة من الملابس وغيرها من الأقمشة تتراكم في المنازل سنويا.

عندما يتم ألقاء الملابس و الأقمشة في حاويات النفايات الموجودة في كل منطقة, يتم نقل النفايات إلى موقع المكب ، حيث يتم ألقائها و دفنها مع الأخذ بعين الاعتبار أن هذه العملية تستحوذ على منطقة كبيرة من مساحة المكب و تكلفة مالية  لنقل وحمل هذه النفايات.اضافتا الى ذلك, أن تحلل المنسوجات يبعث غاز الميثان الضار بالبيئة, وهو من الغازات الدفيئة, حيث  يساهم بشكل كبير في ظاهرة الاحتباس الحراري.  ليس ذلك فقط حيث أن المنسوجات تتكون من الأصباغ و المواد الكيميائية والتي تتسرب إلى التربة، وتلوث كل من المياه السطحية والجوفية.

السبب الرئيسي في تراكم الملابس في منازلنا هو الشراء المتهور في وقت التنزيلات و الخصم, و التي تستحوذ على جزء كبير من مساحة خزانة الملابس. و السبب الآخر هو الشعور بذنب إضاعة المال عند التفكير في التخلص منها. و لا سيما النساء خاصة تخزن ملابس معينه ذات الموضة على امل عودتها من جديد.

المهمة الأولى هي تقييم ما لدينا من ملابس ملبوسه و ماذا سنستخدم منها و أيا منها سيتم التخلص منه. والمهمة الثانية هي استطاعتنا في تغيير قطعت الملابس الى شكل آخر أو أعادة ارتدائها من قبل احد افراد العائلة. المهمة  التالية هي معرفة ما إذا كان يمكن لهذه الملابس إعادة استخدامها أو جعلها لأغراض أخرى  مثل استخدامها كأقمشة ستائر لنوافذ، و الأغطية، والمراوح الخ. و آخر خيار هو التبرع بالملابس للمحتاجين من الناس و توزيعها على  المنظمات التي تعود بالفائدة على المجتمع مثل الجمعيات الخيرية.

علينا أن نفهم أن أكثر من  70٪ من سكان العالم يستخدم الملابس المستعملة.  فلتكن هذه الملابس سببا لجلب الابتسامة على وجوه  المجتمعات الأقل حظا. هذا العمل اللطيف  ليس فقط لإرضاء أخلاقنا و دينيا ولكن أيضا  توصف مدى اهتمامنا بالنفايات، المجتمع والبيئة.  العديد من الجمعيات الخيرية المحلية في الشرق الأوسط  تفهمت هذا الوضع لذلك  وضعت الحاويات و صناديق لجمع الملابس المستعملة من المجتمع.

اذا كانت الملابس غير صالحه للارتداء، يمكن تحويلها إلى مناديل  تستخدم لاحقا في اغراض التنظيف المنزلي مثل؛ تنظيف البقع، الغبار، وتنظيف السيارات الخ. في حين يمكن جمع و استعمال المنسوجات المهترئة كمواد حشو في مقاعد السيارة، والمفروشات، والعزل، منديل الملابس,  و الباقي منها يتم التخلص منه في المكب.  كما أن أقمشة الملابس يمكن تطويعها لأغراض أخرى مثل أكياس القماش، القبعات، وما إلى ذلك استنادا الى إبداعك و استخدامك. وأخيرا, يجب أن يكون لديك نظام لتخلص من الملابس و تأكد من محتويات خزانة الملابس  قبل الذهاب لشراء مشتريات جديدة.

ترجمة

بدرية الكيومي/ تخصص علوم بيئية, عضو في جمعية البيئة العمانية

الترجمة ليس بالضرورة أن تمثل رأي أو توجه المترجمة

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Earth Day 2014 – Focus on Green Cities

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, marks the birth of modern environmental movement. Earth Day has now grown into a global tradition making it the largest civic observance in the world and is one of the widely celebrated events in which over one billion people from over 190 countries participate by taking suitable actions for saving our mother Earth. The Earth Day was first organised in 1970 to promote respect for life on the planet and to encourage awareness on air, water and soil pollution. Each year a different theme or topic is selected.

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day 2014 will focus on ‘Green Cities’ as a unique environmental challenge to make our livelihood environmental friendly. Due to rising population, more migration is taking place from rural to urban areas. Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities with urbanisation rates rising and impacts of climate change have prompted the need to create sustainable communities. The Earth day is observed believing that nothing is more powerful than the collective action of a billion people.

It is a fact that people are crowding cities and with the increase in population density, pollution of all sorts is increasing as well. Many cities are finding it difficult to cope with this fast urbanisation and to provide basic facilities like shelter, infrastructures, water, sanitation, sewerage, garbage, electricity, transportation etc. to its inhabitants.

People who live in high-density air pollution area, have 20 per cent higher risk of dying from lung cancer, than people living in less polluted areas. Children contribute to only 10 per cent of the world’s population but are prone to 40 per cent of global diseases. More than 3 million children under the age of 5 years die every year due to environmental factors like pollution.

Earth Day 2014 will seek to create awareness amongst people to act in an environmental friendly manner, promote and do smart investments in sustainable urban system transforming our polluted cities into a healthier place and forge a sustainable future. It’s exceptionally challenging for our communities and cities to be green.

Action Plan

It’s time for us to invest in efficiency and renewable energy, rebuild our cities and towns, and begin to solve the climate crisis. Over the next two years, with a focus on Earth Day 2014, the Green Cities campaign will mobilise a global movement to accelerate this transition. Most of the Middle East nations have limited land area and are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change which is affecting the social and environmental determinants of health, clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter.

We need to audit our actions and see what are we contributing towards your environment and community? Earth Day is a day for action; a chance to show how important the environment is to us. Earth Day is about uniting voices around the globe in support of a healthy planet. The earth is what we all have in common.

Let us be a part of this green revolution, plan and participate in Earth Day activities moving from single-day actions, such as park cleanups and tree-planting parties to long-term actions and commitments and make our city a healthier place to live as the message of the Earth Day is to “Actively participate and adopt environmental friendly habits”.

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Guide to Green Camping in Bahrain

camp-sakhirThe winter camping season in Bahrain will start from 22nd October and campers will be flocking to Sakhir and adjacent areas especially during weekends. The five month camping season will be starting soon and will conclude in March 2017 with many governmental authorities managing and monitoring the camping activities to avoid occurring of any accident due to sensitivity of the area and to protect the natural environment. The camping areas have been marked and displayed for the people’s attention to book the location/ site and register their camps.

Camping is not only an outing and enjoyment but it also serve as a learning method of how to live close to the nature. Once we are enjoying the camping, we often forget and disregard the environment and mistreat it with our careless behavior.

The authorities like previous years have devised plans and programs and are creating awareness among the campers on safety and environmental concerns through media, notices, bill boards and banners. As per the rules, the campers are required to camp at least 150 meters away from any oil and gas fields and more than 50 meters away from the electricity voltage pylons and main roads to ensure their safety. This year, officials have ambitious plans to organize awareness campaigns to combat littering menace and imposing fines on violators.

The Supreme Camping Season Committee has asked the campers to camp in the allocated areas, register their camps and obtain camping label stressing that camps that are not registered or against the rules will be removed. The campers are asked to place the label in a clear and prominent place. Placing of fencing or installing signs, poles as well as afforestation work before the start of camping season are not allowed. The committee has also urged campers to maintain their safety by providing safety equipment in tents like a fire extinguisher and a first-aid kit, not to use open fires or stoves inside tents and provide an independent venue for the kitchen.

Campers are advised not to store any flammable materials in the camp in any form. Camps should be established away from slopes, to avoid damages due to rain and floods, mountain heights, restricted areas or pipes. Campers have been asked to maintain cleanliness of the camps by collecting garbage in bags and putting them in the allocated spots for garbage collection. Burning waste during or after the end of the camping season has also been prohibited. The committee also prohibited establishing buildings of brick or cement, putting barriers or tires in the camping sites. Barns are not allowed for any purpose. Keeping animals and hunting is also prohibited. The engagement in any action that would harm the environment and the wildlife is prohibited. It includes the destruction of trees, wild plants, leveling the ground etc.

Protection of the environment should be embedded in camping activities

Protection of the environment should be embedded in camping activities

The principle of green camping is “If you brought it in…. you need to take it out and leave the area just as you found it.” Let us follow some basic rules for our safety, health and environmental conservation at the camping sites.

  • Use minimum illumination and electronic gadgets.
  • Switch off all electricity appliances and instruments when not in use.
  • Use minimum water and turn off the taps after use.
  • Do not store any waste at site. Keep all recyclable and disposable waste in separate bags.
  • Avoid using disposable plates, cups, cutlery, dishes etc. Use reusable dishes and utensils and wash them after each use.
  • Don’t throw any food in open. It will attract vermin, birds, insects and rodents.

Let us be more environmental conscious and respect our resources while enjoying the camping season this year.

World Habitat Day – Shelter for All

world-habitat-dayWorld Habitat Day is observed every year on the first Monday of October throughout the world. It was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/202 and was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. The purpose of the day is to reflect on the state of our urban areas and the basic human right regarding provision of adequate shelter to all human beings. World Habitat Day (or WHD) also aims to remind the planners and government officials of the collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations and a day to encourage grassroots action from civil society organizations to advocate for universal decent housing.

Shelter for All

Each year, World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the Habitat Agenda. The themes of WHD are selected to bring attention to UN-Habitat’s mandate to promote sustainable development policies that ensure adequate shelter for all. These themes often promote important subjects such as housing and social services, a safe and healthy living environment, affordable and sustainable transport and energy, promotion, protection and restoration of green urban spaces, safe and clean drinking water and sanitation, healthy air quality, employment generation, improved urban planning, slum upgrading and better waste management.

WHD 2016 – Housing at the Center

World Habitat Day 2016 will be celebrated on 3 October 2016 under the theme ‘Housing at the Centre’ encouraging that every individual has a right to a decent housing/ shelter with basic amenities to survive. It will also mark the official beginning of Urban October month of celebrations, events and activities. The day is a reminder to everyone to join together as one global network in communicating the message that every one of us deserves the opportunity for a better living and future.

The purpose of World Habitat Day is to pay serious attention towards the need for better shelter all over the world, to share the priority of affordable, adequate and sustainable housing, to bring the positive changes in the systems including policies and attitudes, to reflect on the states and towns and pay attention on the basic human rights for adequate shelter and to increase the awareness worldwide of joint responsibility for the future generation’s shelter.

Global Housing Crisis

We need to understand that with a population of over seven billion, there is an acute global housing crisis, as approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide are living in the substandard housing/ slums and almost 100 million people are homeless. The WHD aims to draw the people attention towards the urgent need of adequate housing especially for the poor people.

Providing and improving housing is a gigantic task and cannot be dealt only by the governmental authorities. It require involvement of all stakeholders including communities, NGOs and experienced developers to optimize urban densities and provide land zoning with efficient services and utilities that are environmental friendly and have minimum carbon footprint. With the shortage of urban space, we need to develop in a sustainable manner to keep room for future growth and accommodate population in coming decades.

More than a billion people worldwide are living in substandard living conditions.

More than a billion people worldwide are living in substandard living conditions.

In the GCC countries including Bahrain, the concerned authorities are giving due attention to the subject of planning and providing decent housing to citizens and to avoid any social, health and environmental problems. 

Let us whole-heartedly support and celebrate the World Habitat Day and organize any activity or event in our own community including an awareness campaign, a fun activity, area cleanliness and get together in parks and public spaces.