Destruction of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea is the lowest point on the planet and one of the most unique environments around the world. It lies on the borders of Jordan, the West Bank and Israel. Known for its high-density waters and mineral rich soils, the Dead Sea is visited by a large number of tourists from all over the world. Its soils contain minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and salt.These minerals are used in cosmetics, chemical products such as industrial salts and are even used in table salts for home use. State of the Affairs The once mineral-rich Dead Sea has shrunk to the … Continue reading

Save Dead Sea from Extinction

The news headlines read that the Dead Sea is dying so fast that it could totally disappear by the middle of this century. With the waters dying up, the exposed land is cracked and salt encrusted. Sinkholes are appearing as well and adding to the level of natural destruction. The rate of this process is being monitored by measuring the rate at which the water line is retreating. It is presently receding at the rate of one meter each year. The Dead Sea region is of great importance to three main religious groups: Jews, Muslims and Christians. The Dead Sea … Continue reading

Water Resource Management in GCC – Issues and Challenges

GCC countries are suffering from a huge deficit in their water resources reaching more than 20 billion cubic meter, being met mainly by an intensive over-drafting of renewable and non-renewable groundwater resources for the agricultural sector, and by the extensive installation of highly expensive desalination plants for the municipal sector, and by reusing a small percentage of treated wastewater in the agricultural and municipal sector. Furthermore, conflict between the agricultural and domestic sectors on the limited water resources in the region are rising, and as a result, groundwater over-exploitation and mining is expected to continue in order to meet growing … Continue reading

Water-Energy-Food Nexus in Arab Countries

Addressing water scarcity, both natural and human-induced, in the Arab region is considered one of the major and most critical challenges facing the Arab countries. This challenge is expected to grow with time due to many pressing driving forces, including population growth, food demand, unsettled and politicized shared water resources, climate change, and many others, forcing more countries into more expensive water sources, such as desalination, to augment their limited freshwater supplies. The heavy financial, economic, environmental, as well as social costs and burden to be borne cannot be overemphasized. Furthermore, the water scarcity challenge in the Arab world is being … Continue reading

Egypt’s Water Crisis and Degeneration of Nile

Egypt is struggling to cope with water shortages and food production. It is expected that Egypt’s per capita annual water supply will drop from 600 cubic meters today to 500 cubic meters by 2025, which is the UN threshold for absolute water scarcity. Egypt has only 20 cubic meters per person of internal renewable freshwater resources, and as a result the country relies heavily on the Nile for its main source of water. Water scarcity has become so severe that it has been recorded that certain areas in the country could go days without water, with pressure sometimes returning only … Continue reading

Environmental Impact of Olive Oil Processing Wastes

More commonly known for its popular culinary and medicinal benefits, olive cultivation and olive oil production are a part of the local heritage and rural economy throughout the North African and Mediterranean regions. In 2012, an estimated 2,903,676 tons of olive oil was produced worldwide, the largest olive oil producers being Spain, Italy, and Greece followed by Turkey and Tunisia and to a lesser extent Portugal, Morocco and Algeria. Within the European Union’s olive sector alone, there are roughly 2.5 million producers, who make up roughly one-third of all EU farmers. The olive oil industry offers valuable opportunities to farmers in … Continue reading

Role of Agricultural Sector in Harnessing Renewable Energy

The continuous rise in fossil energy prices, combined with climate change concerns and progress in renewable energy sector, has catalyzed interest in clean energy systems across the MENA region, especially in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region has abundant renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and biomass, which makes it a fertile zone for renewable energy developments. The agricultural sector has played a key role in the progress of renewable energy sector around the world as it provides large areas where renewable energy projects are built and is also the predominant feedstock source for biomass energy projects. For example, agricultural sector … Continue reading

The Fight Against Desertification

As the global population crosses 7 billion, the pressure on land has increased exponentially in recent decades. Food security, habitat and livelihood are the buzz words these days. The paradox is that despite ever-increasing demand for land, more than 10 million hectares of arable land turns into desert every year. The major factors responsible for desertification are deforestation, over-grazing, unsustainable cultivation methods and poor irrigation practices, apart from climate change. According to Mr. Luc Gnacadja, executive secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, “Land degradation is a global phenomenon, with 78 percent of the degrading land taking place in … Continue reading

Hydroponic Farming in Bahrain

Locally grown vegetables and salad greens are becoming increasingly common in the market places of Bahrain, thanks to alternative agricultural practices such as hydroponic farming. Bahrain is now taking definite steps towards being self-sustaining with certain food items that frequent our dinner table. By adopting the alternative –ponic practices, Bahrain is actively tackling the issue of food security. Commercial hydroponic farming facilities are well established in Bahrain with a highly promising and very green future. Hydroponic farms are successfully operating in Bahrain even in the summer months when the daytime temperatures are 40-50oC and nighttime temperatures are 30-35oC outside of the greenhouses. One … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in GCC

The GCC countries face multitude of climate change challenges including desertification, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and sea level rise. The region is characterized by high temperature, high humidity and arid lands resulting in seriously degraded soil and land damage in addition to salt intrusion in the aquifers affecting the small scale agricultural lands thus enhancing the food security threat in the region. All of the above geographical threats have therefore increased and activated the participation of GCC states in global negotiations recently as evidence are uncovered and impacts being felt across the region. If a couple of days of rain … Continue reading

Agricultural Scenario in MENA

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt.  Large scale irrigation is expanding, enabling intensive production of high value cash and export crops, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, and sugar. Egypt Egypt is the 14th biggest rice producer in the world and the 8th biggest cotton producer in the world. Egypt produced about 5.67 million tons of rice and 635,000 tons … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is known for being one of the hottest places on Earth, and highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In an IPCC special report on regional climate change, models projected that average temperatures in the region will increase by 1-2˚C by 2030-2050. Decision makers and citizens in all 21 countries realize that they are faced with an immediate need to reshape energy, agriculture, water and environmental policy to adapt to changing climate conditions. Steep Rise in Temperature Satellite data provided by Climate Engine from 1979 to present shows the mean max (average maximum) temperatures … Continue reading

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