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.

Guide to Green Hajj

The Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and is an annual pilgrimage to Makkah. It is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims which must be carried out at least once in lifetime by every adult Muslim who is physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey. The Hajj gathering is considered to be the largest gathering of people in the world whereby Muslims from many countries converge to do the religious rites.  Nearly three million Muslims perform Hajj each year. Making necessary arrangements each year for the growing number of pilgrims poses a gigantic logistic challenge for the Saudi Government and respective Authorities, as housing, transportation, sanitation, food and health care needs are to be provided to the pilgrims.

Environmental Footprint

The Hajj has an enormous environmental footprint. During Hajj, huge quantities of wastes are generated which needs to be appropriately collected, handled and managed. Other impacts are of water use and wastewater generation and treatment, transporting vehicles causing terrible air pollution damaging the health of the pilgrims, littering causing choking of public infrastructures, plastic bottles, used diapers, food packaging etc. are an eyesore. The problem is compounded due to ignorance, over enthusiasm, illiteracy of pilgrims and lack of commitment to handle the environmental resources.

Unfortunately, majority of the pilgrims are not aware of the innate nature of environmentalism within Islam and obligations of protecting the environment. According to the Quran, humans are entrusted to be the maintainers of the earth, its ecology and environment.The Hajj can be sustainable if the pilgrims behave in an environmental friendly manner and avoid different types of pollution.

A vast majority of Hajj pilgrims are not aware of the innate nature of environmentalism within Islam.

A vast majority of Hajj pilgrims are not aware of the innate nature of environmentalism within Islam.

Towards a Green Hajj

We need to understand that the respective authorities plan, spend and provide facilities to match with the number of pilgrims, but the irresponsible attitude of many people jeopardize the environmental resources. Following aspects will help the pilgrims in making their Hajj greener and help in conservation of resources:

  • Green purchasing, buy what is required and only environmentally–friendly products
  • Using minimum quantity of water for ablution, bath and personal use. Opening water gadgets and tap to allow limited flow. Washing clothes with minimum water.
  • Reporting any water leakages to the Authority.
  • Re-filling and reusing water bottles.
  • Buying food only what you can eat, surplus food should be avoided.
  • Avoiding food packaging.
  • Avoid disposable cutlery, plates, glasses etc.
  • Avoid littering, collecting all waste and disposing it at designated locations. 
  • Avoid using plastic shopping bags.
  • Moving and using group transport facilities.
  • Minimize electricity usage.
  • Avoid leaving lights on in empty rooms.
  • Switching off the chargers, once used.
  • Purchase energy efficient appliances, if required.
  • Avoid using electrical appliances on standby.

The recent Islamic declaration on climate change exhorts us to work steadfastly to minimize our ecological footrpint and make individual pledges to help our planet. Environment is Allah’s creation and has to be respected. Let us make our contribution to the Green Hajj and make a profound impact on the ecosystem, making it more sustainable and manageable and show that Islam is the ideal platform for ecological and environmental preservation.

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Leakage Control: Effective Tool for Water Conservation

water-leakageWater is a basic need of our life and is amply provided by the Governmental agencies. However, we as consumers do not prioritize on water wastage and leakages issue due to the subsidized water cost. The leakages from taps, valves and appurtenant are often noticed but the invisible leakages under the sink often goes un-noticed and drips occurring are not taken seriously and addressed till the leakage get larger and leak get worse.

The Menace of Water Leaks

Water leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures, faucets, valves and fittings are a common sight in buildings and structures and is a significant source of water wastage.  Only a small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste around 75 liters of water per day. Thus, we need to check all the water pipes and fittings regularly to assess their operational status and any leak occurring should be urgently repaired or replaced.

Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are a significant source of water wastage for many households.  Research has shown that the typical home can lose 7.6 m3 to 76 m3 of water per year due to leaks. Some leaks are obvious, such as dripping faucets and leaking water heaters. Unfortunately, many leaks go undetected for years because the source of the leak is not visible. Faucet leaks are a common occurrence and usually simple to repair.  A faucet dripping slowly at only one drop every two seconds will waste more than 1,000 gallons or 3.7 m3 per year.   

Toilets are another common source of leaks in the home, and usually go unnoticed because the leaks are often silent and out of view.  Several research studies have found 20% to 35% of all residential toilets leak to some degree. Large toilet leaks can be detected when the valve constantly emits a hissing or gurgling sound when the toilet is not in use.

Detection of Water Leakages

We frequently see dripping and leaking water gadgets, pipes and toilets but do not take any action for its correction, mainly because of our attitude and lack of awareness. It is now important to inspect our water gadgets, pipes and fittings in our home, dwelling and place of work or study and take corrective actions. For checking the water leakages, first note water meter reading. Re-check again after two hours with all water gadgets are shut. If the meter does not read exactly the same, you probably have a leak in the system whereby water is being wasted for which you have to pay the cost which will be increasing with time. 

If your toilet is leaking, the cause is often an old, faulty rubber packing/ washer which decay with number of uses or minerals build up on it. Replacing the damaged rubber packing is inexpensive and can be done easily. Another way to find out if you have a toilet leak is to place a drop of color dye in the toilet tank. If the color shows up in the bowl within 15 minutes without flushing, you have a leak. Make sure to flush water immediately after this experiment to avoid staining the tank and toilet.

Conclusion

Potable water is supplied to our homes, offices and institutions after abstraction, treatment and through long distribution and pumping network and entails huge cost which is heavily subsidized by the Government. It is high time that we consider water conservation as a priority step and avoid any water wastage and leakages at home, offices and institutions.  

The time is now to deal with our water leaks promptly and giving it a priority. Remember- fixing leaks will save money, is good for the environment and will save our limited water resources.  

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Say ‘No’ to Disposables

The waste quantities in all parts of the world are increasing many folds. In the past three decades, the waste quantities have almost been doubled. The per capita waste generation is alarmingly high especially in GCC countries. The municipal and governmental authorities have to spend huge resources in collection, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of these wastes. With limited recycling facilities and absence of reusing culture, more quantities of the waste is now to be managed.

Major part of our municipal waste is still heading towards our landfill sites where it is being dumped, compacted and covered. The landfills are in quarries areas which are becoming soon filled up with the waste. In Bahrain almost 1.7 cum of space is required to accommodate 1 tons of waste.

Use of disposable cutlery has been increasing exponentially in developing countries

Despite a growing push to recycle and reuse, we must try to correct not the symptoms but the disease, and to do that, we should all avoid and reduce. The use of ‘disposables’ in the Middle East has increased exponentially in recent years and the items and quantities are increasing with each passing day. Here are few suggestions to avoid the use of disposables in our daily lives:

  • Avoid Paper Cups and Plates as paper manufacturing consume trees and are bleached white with chlorine, a process that releases dioxin, one of the most toxic chemicals on the planet, and emit methane, a greenhouse gas when trashed and thrown in a landfill.
  • Avoid Polystyrene & Styrofoam which are hazardous, carcinogens, cause air pollution and can cause nervous system impairments among workers. Styrene can leach from containers into our food. Polystyrene cannot be recycled and never biodegrades; it only breaks down into smaller pieces, polluting the environment and harming the animals that mistake it for food.
  • Avoid Bottled Water and use reusable containers for water storage and drinking.
  • Avoid Plastic and Paper Shopping Bags. Keep your own cloth bag ready for all occasions.
  • Avoid Plastic Utensils, paper napkins, plastic cutlery, forks, spoons and knives. Use chinaware or glassware instead.
  • Avoid Use rechargeable batteries instead of single use batteries. •Avoid using disposable diapers and use cloth diapers.
  • Using ink pen rather than ball points and getting a refillables. •Using handkerchief rather than tissue and paper towels.
  • Avoid using disposable stirrers and individually packaged sugar, milk and creamer. Use a spoon for stirring and place the sugar and milk in reusable containers or jugs.
  • Avoid using individual sachets of chilly, mayonnaise or ketchup sauce. Store the sauce in reusable bottles and dispensers instead.
  • Avoid Gift Wrapping and put the gift in a reusable bag instead..

Each time you throw something in the trash, please consider that you have paid its cost and are contributing towards more waste at the landfill.

Please avoid disposables. Be wise and environmental friendly.

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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