Asbestos Waste Management in MENA

Each year countries from the Middle East and North Africa import large amount of asbestos for use in the construction industry. As per the last known statistics, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 20% of world demand for the material. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest consumers of the material. Infact, the entire Middle East has been steadily increasing their asbestos imports, except for Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are the only two countries that have placed bans on asbestos but with questionable effectiveness. Iran alone has been reported to order 30,000 tons of asbestos each year. More than 17,000 … Continue reading

Mobile Agriculture in Egypt: Food for Thought

The phenomenal spread of smartphones and the fact that they are practically hand-sized computers, have opened way to the creation of countless ‘mobile applications’ or simply ‘apps’. The first apps that came to light were as expected, for social media and different entertainment channels. They were followed by ‘modern life’ apps in the areas of health, education, agriculture and many more. Almost every area imaginable in our life now has a mobile app that caters to it. Mobile Agriculture in Africa During the course of my work at Orange Egypt, I’ve seen a great amount of interest in mobile agriculture … Continue reading

Green Buildings and the Middle East

The Middle East region faces a unique set of challenges in terms of sustainable buildings and cities. For example, water shortage is mitigated by costly desalination and we are faced with high water consumption which leads to a higher carbon footprint and ultimately impacts climate change. Middle Eastern countries are at the top of the list of largest per capita ecological footprints. Qatar has the highest per capita level of carbon dioxide emissions, at 44 metric tons per person annually. Kuwait is second with 30.3 tons, followed by the UAE with 22.6. Therefore, integrating energy efficiency is a critical need. Benefits of Green … Continue reading

E-Waste Management: Perspectives from Egypt

As the person in charge of reducing my company’s environmental impact and maintaining our ISO 14K certification, I had to find a solution for the ever growing number of discarded mobile phones from our employees, partners and 30+ million customers! I explored almost every initiative related to e-waste management in Egypt. I participated in forums addressing the problem, attended meetings full of great ideas and intentions, met local and expat experts, participated in student competitions offering solutions and contacted overseas entities with great track record like Close The Gap, Umicore and Greencyc. Despite all of these resources, I couldn’t find … Continue reading

Zero-Waste Kitchens and Low-Energy Cooking

Food is the single largest source of waste. Worldwide, we throw away about a third of our food. More food ends up in landfills than plastic or paper. The enormous amount of wasted food depends on our cooking and eating habits.  Generally, it is easy to be sitting at home, in front of your television, consuming whatever you want then throwing every‑thing in the trash. But have we ever thought, where does the garbage go? Zero-Waste Kitchens Given that most of the domestic waste originates in the kitchen, a green home should definitely include a zero-waste kitchen. Zero waste kitchens is … 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

An Adaptive Refugee Camp Model for the Middle East

Natural disasters and wars are two main reasons that force populations to leave their homes, which consequently push for an urgent need to provide temporary shelters or settlements as a disaster management plan. For many years, governments and aid agencies have worked on offering emergency relief camps. Solutions have ranged from short term to long-term shelters. Tents are the most common shelter structure used. However, studies show that the majority of current tent shelters do not satisfy comfort conditions for occupants and hardly satisfy privacy, hygiene and other social needs. They are also expensive to fabricate and deteriorate quickly. Several … Continue reading

CSP-Powered Desalination: Prospects in MENA

Conventional large-scale desalination is cost-prohibitive and energy-intensive, and not viable for poor countries in the MENA region due to increasing costs of fossil fuels. In addition, the environmental impacts of desalination are considered critical on account of GHG emissions from energy consumption and discharge of brine into the sea. The negative effects of desalination can be minimized, to some extent, by using renewable energy to power the plants. What is Concentrated Solar Power The core element of Concentrated Solar Power Plant is a field of large mirrors reflecting captured rays of sun to a small receiver element, thus concentrating the … Continue reading

Sustainability in MENA Cement Industry

The population in the MENA countries has doubled during the last 30 years (from ca. 110m in 1980 to almost 220m in 2010). As per conservative estimates, the rate of urbanisation in the MENA countries will exceed 70% five years from today (average for all developing countries: 54%). The proceeding urbanisation and the population increase involve several problems and challenges for the national governments and also for the cement industry. The cement production of countries in the MENA region has almost tripled during the last 15 years up to approximately 500m tons  Since the start of national revolts and demonstrations in … Continue reading

The Menace of Single-Use Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are one of the most objectionable types of litter in urban areas. The sheer volume of plastic waste generated coupled with energy and material resources required for production, as well as emissions resulting from these processes paint a grim picture of the environmental havoc created by plastic bags. Single-use plastic bags are a huge threat to the environment as an estimated 1 trillion such bags are consumed worldwide every year. In the United Arab Emirates alone, nearly 12 billion plastic bags are used annually. Major Hazards Single-use plastic bags are notorious for their interference in natural ecosystems … Continue reading

Medical Waste Management in MENA

Healthcare sector in MENA region is growing at a very rapid pace, which in turn has led to tremendous increase in the quantity of medical waste generation by hospitals, clinics and other establishments. According to a recent Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs report, Egypt generated 28,300 tons of hazardous medical wastes in 2010. In the GCC region, more than 150 tons of medical waste is generated in GCC countries every day. Saudi Arabia leads the pack with daily healthcare waste generation of more than 80 tons. These figures are indicative of the magnitude of the problem faced by municipal authorities in … Continue reading

Rationale for Solar Energy in MENA

The world is rife with news snippets concerning the development of solar power. The sun provides an infinite source of energy that takes off the burden on the renewable sources for power generation. In doing so, there are increased chances of conserving the limited energy reserves. Already about 50% of the earth’s natural resources are in use. If this usage rate continues, we will run out of finite sources in no time. For instance, there is only enough oil left for the coming 46.2 years. Luckily, the development of solar energy serves as the light at the end of the … Continue reading

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