The Kingdom of Bahrain has been responding to the massive industrial and commercial development taking place in the country and understood that economic development and sound environmental management are complimentary aspects of the same agenda and without adequate environmental protection, development will be undermined. With this aim, the Legislative Decree-law No.21 of 1996 was enacted to establish the Environmental Affairs Agency under the Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment in 1996.
The process of making and enforcing environmental legislation in Bahrain started when the Government formed the Environmental Protection Committee (EPC) in 1983 which was later upgraded to a full-fledged Environmental Affairs (EA) office. Based on the Legislative Decree No. 21 of 1996, two main directorates were formed namely The Directorate of Environmental Assessment and Planning & The Directorate of Environmental Control. The EA was later upgraded and at present is the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) which is managing and monitoring of the environmental resources of the country headed by H.E. Dr. Mohamed Mubarek bin Daina, as Chief Executive.
Bahrain is committed to the cause of environmental protection and has thus decided to incorporate necessary environmental legislations to solve the problems of pollution and environmental degradation. In addition, Bahrain is a signatory of all major regional and international environmental Conventions, Treaties and Protocols. Since past decades, many environmental legislation have been made and enforced related to air, water, waste, chemicals, fisheries and occupational health.
As per the legislation, anybody seeking to establish a facility or industry in the country has to obtain a ‘No Objection’ permit from the SCE, satisfying the requirements of raw materials, products, by-products, generation of solid, liquid and hazardous waste, chemicals, resource usage (electricity, gas, fuel, water etc.). They are required to submit a statement showing that their project/ activity is not going to harm the occupational and public health and impact the fragile national environmental resources.
The industrial establishments are regularly being visited by the environmental professionals and inspectors to check their compliance with the various environmental attributes. The non-compliance often leads to warnings and repeated offence leads to cancellation of the Commercial Registration License.
The SCE formulates rules, regulation, policies, standards and legislation for the control of any form of pollution, safety at industries, waste management and conservation of environmental resources.
The copy of all environmental legislations enforced in the Kingdom can be obtained from the SCE office. A hotline is also operative whereby, people can call regarding any environmental offence or violations or report any incident or accident that affects the environment. It is to be noted that legislations alone cannot preserve the environmental resources. Each individual has to participate and be aware of their environmental responsibility and to plan and act in a manner to avoid any pollution that may harm us and our future generations.