Renewable Energy in GCC: Need for a Holistic Approach

The importance of renewable energy sources in the energy portfolio of any country is well known, especially in the context of energy security and impacts on climate change. The growing quest for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been seen by many as both – a compulsion to complement the rising energy demand, and as an economic strength that helps them in carrying forward the clean energy initiatives from technology development to large scale deployment of projects from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh. Current Scenario The promotion of renewable energy (RE) is becoming an … Continue reading

Food Waste, Ramadan and the Middle East

With the holy month of Ramadan only a few days away, huge food wastage in the Middle East is again hogging limelight. It is a widely acccepted fact that almost half of the municipal solid waste stream in the Middle East is comprised of food wastes and associated matter. The increasing amount of food waste in the Middle East urgently demands a strong food waste management strategy to ensure its minimization and eco-friendly disposal.  Food Waste in Ramadan Middle East nations are acknowleded as being the world’s top food wasters, and during Ramadan the situation takes a turn for the worse. In 2012, the Dubai Municipality … Continue reading

Green Building Sector in the UAE: Perspectives

The focus on sustainability is one of the biggest trends in the GCC’s building sector. This is underpinned by Dubai being ranked third in the list of global cities with the highest number of green certified buildings in the ‘Sustainability and Wellness in Dubai’ report by Core Savills with over 550 projects under LEED certification and the implementation of the Estidama framework in Abu Dhabi. Paving the Way In the UAE, the directives by the Federal and Local Government entities to establish a sustainable economy that advocates demand side-energy management, and water & energy use efficiency has encouraged real estate … Continue reading

Air Quality in Abu Dhabi: Perspectives

The air quality topic has taken relevance in the media lately, perhaps because 95% of the world’s population is breathing unhealthy air, or because in a year it can contribute to the deaths of more than 6 million people [1]. We are starting to realize that those beautiful sunsets which we enjoy across the Middle East are the result of pollutants and dust; and most likely each one of us know of someone with asthma or any other respiratory disease whose condition worsens under poor air quality. Poor air quality is more common in the big and developed cities instead … Continue reading

Paper Bag Boy’s Message to the World

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist. Ten-year old Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated remarkable commitment to saving the environment in the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere, and has been a poster-boy for environmental campaigns in the Middle East. Here he shares his views on environment, recycling and public awareness. It is said that you should break your goals down into small steps which you can accomplish each day. Set a goal, and approach it in a simple and basic manner. When I started my environmental campaign couple of years … Continue reading

The Paper Bag Boy of Abu Dhabi

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist, eco-hero and eco-warrior. At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Inspired by the 2010 campaign “UAE Free of Plastic Bags”, Abdul Muqeet, a student of Standard V at Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100% recycled carry bags using paper waste. He then set out to distribute these bags in Abu Dhabi, replacing single-use plastic bags that take hundreds … Continue reading

Construction Wastes Management in the UAE

Out of total solid wastes generated in the UAE, the construction and demolition wastes or (C&D wastes) account for 70% of the total weight of solid wastes. Dubai alone produces nearly 5,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste every day, which is about 70% of the total solid waste generated every day. In Abu Dhabi, C&D wastes account for 71% of total wastes generated. It is expected that construction and development activities and associated C&D waste production will continue to rise in this region. Hence, if not managed appropriately, it is expected that dumping of C&D waste will become uncontrolled. … Continue reading

Hazardous Wastes in UAE

The United Arab Emirates signed the Basel Convention* in November 1992 and established a legislation called ‘Regulation for Handling Hazardous Materials, Hazardous Wastes and Medical Waste (Law 24 of 1999)’. Article 12 of the law states ‘Transportation and disposal of locally produced hazardous waste through land borders, marine environment limit and air space shall be controlled in accordance with the rules, procedure and controls mentioned and specified in Basel Agreement and in coordination with Federal Environmental Agency’. UAE is not yet a signatory to Basel BAN amendments of Sep 1995 thus there is no mention of the Basel BAN amendments in … Continue reading

Freshwater Management Outlook for UAE

Per capita water consumption of freshwater in the United Arab Emirates is the highest in the world. Over the last several decades, the demand on municipal water supply has increased significantly in the UAE. This is mainly due to increase in population growth, economic development and changes in lifestyle of the people. Though water is used by many sectors such as manufacturing industries, agriculture and domestic purposes, residential  and commercial uses of water during the operational phase of the building is one of the biggest contributing factors that puts a strain on freshwater supply in the country. Desalination and Sustainability … Continue reading

Significance of Groundwater Atlas in Water Management

Groundwater atlases are becoming a necessary resource for identifying natural reservoirs of our most precious natural resource – water.  A groundwater atlas for the USA was published was published by regions i.e. several states in the 1990s culminating in the 2000 release of the Groundwater Atlas for the U.S.A. It describes the location, extent as well as the geological and hydrological characteristics of aquifers across the United States. An African Groundwater Atlas, a project undertaken by the British Geological Survey, released the atlas in 2014 making groundwater information and data available across the globe. Abu Dhabi released its groundwater atlas … Continue reading

Sustainability Reporting in the Middle East

The concept of sustainability centers on a balance of society, economy and environment for current and future health. Responsible resource management in all three areas ensures that future generations will have the resources they need to survive and thrive. One way that companies can consider sustainability and social responsibility is by focusing on the triple bottom line, which is an expanded baseline for measuring financial, social and environmental performance. It is also referred to as “People, Planet and Profit.” The advantages enjoyed by an organisation that implements sustainable management include higher efficiency and competitiveness, increased financial returns and reduced risk for shareholders, attraction … Continue reading

Green Building Rating Systems in MENA

Green buildings not only contribute towards a sustainable construction and environment but also bring lots of benefits and advantages to building owners and users. Lower development costs, lower operating costs, increased comforts, healthier indoor environment quality, and enhanced durability and less maintenance costs are hallmarks of a typical green building. A wide range of green building rating and assessment systems are used around the world, including LEED and BREEAM. Sustainability is now a top priority in MENA region and countries like Qatar and UAE have come up with their own green building rating system to incorporate socio-economic, environmental and cultural … Continue reading