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

Reflecting Upon Signs of God: Call to Climate Action

As over a billion Muslims celebrate Ramadan, the month of the Qur’an, it behooves us to reflect upon all the āyāt – verses or signs – of God. God enjoins us over and again to contemplate every āyah (verse) of the Holy Writ, as in Surah Muhammad: ‘Do they not contemplate the Qur’an? Or do hearts have their locks upon them?’ (47:24). In Surat al-Mu’minūn, He says: ‘Have they not contemplated the Word, or has there come unto them that which came not unto their forefathers?’ (23:68). In Surat al-Baqarah we are told: ‘Thus does God make clear unto you the signs (āyāt), that … Continue reading

Waste Management Perspectives for Saudi Arabia

Solid waste management is a big challenge for the government and local authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The country generates more than 15 million tons of municipal waste each year with vast majority diverted to landfills and dumpsites. Recycling, reuse and energy recovery is still at an early stage, although they are getting increased attention. Recycling rate ranges from 10-15%, mainly due to the existence of the informal sector which extracts recyclables from municipal waste stream. Waste management issues in the Kingdom can be resolved by creating a healthy general environment specifically targeting the waste sector which may … Continue reading

Red-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project – Implications and Remedies

The legendary Dead Sea has been shrinking for the last 40 years by as much as 1m a year mostly due to water diversion of the Jordan River, mainly by Israel and to a lesser extent Jordan. This decline in the Dead Sea levels causes a variety of environmental, social, and economic harm to the surrounding countries by affecting the tourism industry, and destroying one of the world’s most distinct habitats. The surrounding countries have come to realize the severity of its destruction and have acted accordingly to mitigate its depletion. Recently, Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority have signed … Continue reading

Towards a Green Hajj

Despite the spiritual perfection of the rites of the Hajj pilgrimage, there are some deep issues with its practical implementation. In a journey where one is meant to recalibrate one’s consciousness of the one true Creator, it seems paradoxical that such an excursion should lead to environmental harm (or destruction). Why is it then that I walk the street of the Haram (sacred land) and find them littered with boxes of chicken and rice, strewn on the curb in front of beggars who offer to pray for you in exchange of spare change? A Deluge of Waste In 7:31, the … Continue reading

Waste Management Perspectives for Bahrain

Fast industrialisation, urbanisation, enhanced consumerism and rise in standards of living is causing generation of large quantities of waste which needs to be stored, transported, treated and disposed. Globally, municipal and urban governments are spending huge financial and human resources on waste management but the service coverage is barely coinciding with the generated waste quantities as overflowing communal containers and waste heaps are amply witnessed in all major urban centres. The worldwide quantities of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) are rapidly increasing. It is estimated that around 2.5 billion MT of MSW was generated worldwide in 2000, which is expected to … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of around 33 islands, the largest being the Bahrain Island. The population of Bahrain is around 1.2 million marked by population density of 900 persons per km2, which is the highest in the entire GCC region. The country has the distinction of being one of the highest per capita waste generators worldwide which is estimated at 1.67 – 1.80 kg per person per day. Infact, Bahrain produces largest amount of waste per person among GCC countries despite being the smallest nation in the region. Rising population, high waste generation growth rate, limited land … Continue reading

World Environment Day 2016: Focus on Illegal Wildlife Trade

World Environment Day, also known as WED, is commemorated annually on 5th June and is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness on the environment and promotes suitable actions. WED’s agenda is to empower people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development, promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues, advocate partnership which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy a safer and more prosperous future. The theme of World Environment Day 2016 is “Fight against the Illegal Trade in Wildlife” or Zero Tolerance for Illegal Wildlife Trade, … Continue reading

Food Waste Woes in Qatar

Food waste is a huge issue in Qatar. In 2012, a massive 1.4 million metric tonnes of food was consumed and wasted in Qatar. This figure, divided by the then population of 2.05 million, equates to an average of 636 kilograms (kg) of food per person for the year, or 1.74 kg per day. Given the benchmark of two kg per person per day (preferably nutritious fare that does not contain too many kilojoules), that does not sound too excessive. But if you remove the young, elderly, short-term visitors/workers and people who consume less than two kg per day from the … Continue reading

Trends in Sustainable Housing

There has been large-scale proliferation in construction of buildings worldwide due to population growth, economic development, urbanization and migration. According to UN Habitat, there has been a migration of the world’s population from rural areas to cities or smaller urban areas. In fact, this trend is expected to continue and cities within the developed as well as developing nations are expected to grow in terms of population. As a result all forms of construction activities are expected to become more intense than ever in the years to come. Usually the development of urban areas suffers from weak process of planning … Continue reading

Energy and the Climate: Perspectives for Middle East

Since energy is an absolute necessity for life on Earth, we have utilized many sources of energy to maintain and improve the lives of people around the globe. The ultimate source of energy is the Sun of course, since all living things on Earth such as plants, trees, animals and humans need the Sun’s energy. In addition to the Sun, we have utilized other sources of energy such as oil, coal and nuclear fission.  However, energy has many different forms and we use different forms of energy for different applications. For example, nuclear energy is mostly used to generate electricity, … Continue reading

Merits of Anaerobic Digestion of Wastes

Anaerobic digestion is the natural biological process which stabilizes organic waste in the absence of air and transforms it into biofertilizer and biogas. It is a reliable technology for the treatment of wet, organic waste.  Organic waste from various sources is biochemically degraded in highly controlled, oxygen-free conditions circumstances resulting in the production of biogas which can be used to produce both electricity and heat. Almost any organic material can be processed with anaerobic digestion. Anaerobic digestion is particularly suited to wet organic material and is commonly used for effluent and sewage treatment.  This includes biodegradable waste materials such as … Continue reading