Mitigating the Effects of Sand and Dust Storms

Sand and dust storms cause significant negative impacts on society, economy and environment at local, regional and global scale.  There are three key factors responsible for the generation of sand and dust storms – strong wind, lack of vegetation and absence of rainfall. The environmental and health hazards of such storms cannot be reduced permanently, however its impact can be reduced by taking appropriate measures. As the dust cloud rises, it reduces the horizontal visibility which can impact human life in many ways. The fine suspended particles also contain contaminants, bacteria, pollens, which cause negative health impacts such as allergies and respiratory diseases. Dust also … Continue reading

Deleterious Impact of Tire-Burning Kilns

Decorative arts such as woodworking, weaving as well as ceramics and other pottery have a long and honored tradition.  In fact, some of the earliest examples of pottery originate from the Middle East from the time of 6500 BC. In order to meet the ceramic industry’s high energy demand, much of the developing world, MENA in particular, is resorting to cheaper alternatives such as fueling kilns by burning tires and other harmful materials. Though modern technology has led to clean and efficient kiln usage in the developed world, these options come with a high price tag when referring to industrial … Continue reading

Health Impacts of Contaminated Water and Potential Control Strategies

Drinking dirty or contaminated water causes numerous health problems, all of which one should be aware of. The contamination of water sources can start from the main water sources such as city water supplies, rivers, streams, and lakes, or well water supplies. Moreover, the main water source such as groundwater might get contaminated from toxic chemicals found underground, such as fluoride or arsenic, if the water is not filtered properly. Furthermore, contamination can occur from something as dangerous as a badly designed hazardous waste site or industrial site, exposing the water to numerous dangerous chemicals. As previously mentioned, contaminated water … Continue reading

8 Factors How Home Building Impacts Our Environment

More homeowners are electing to build their own homes instead of buying established properties. There are several reasons for this. Some people want to be in charge of the design and construction. They want the final say on what their house. New homes also tend to be less expensive in terms on maintenance costs. There’s no need to worry about renovation for a while. Many new homes are being built in newer neighborhoods that are relatively safe and free from crime. If you are considering building or renovating a home but don’t know where to start, there are plenty of … Continue reading

Fracking – A Risk Analysis

Recent events in the Europe and the United States have propelled fracking up the public and political agenda. Is the case for drilling full of holes? Despite apparent economic benefits, fracking has got entangled in a good deal of controversies with some countries outrightly banning or suspending it. Public health concerns, environmental issues, geomechanical risks, groundwater contamination, air pollution and waste management are some of the issues are coming under increasing public scrutiny.   No Sense of Well-being The oil and gas industry does not inspire huge public confidence, as attention focuses on major incidents like the Deepwater Horizon blowout, which have cost lives, caused … Continue reading

Green Roofs in MENA – Prospects and Challenges

Green roofs are emerging technologies that can provide a wide range of benefits to communities interested in enhancement and protection of their environment. The major benefits of green roofs are reducing energy use as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing stormwater management and water quality, decreasing heat island effect by regulating temperature for the roof and the surrounding areas and providing aesthetic value and habitats for many species.   According to a 2013 MENA renewable energy status report, the Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) in Middle East and North Africa has reached about 800 million tons of oil.  This … Continue reading

Understanding Sand and Dust Storms

Sand and dust storms are regular occurrences around the world and more common in arid and semi-arid regions, such as the Middle East. Dust storms play an important role in global dust cycle, and can alter the radiative balance. It can damage agricultural crops and retard plant growth and alter the life cycle of the marine benthic organisms due to less sun light penetration into the sea floor. Dust storms can cause social disruption, economic loss and adverse impact on human health. When the visibility is below 1000 meters on a dusty day, it is considered that dust storm is occurring. … Continue reading

Air Conditioning Maintenance: Why It Matters

The lack of maintenance and cleaning in the air conditioner can cause a lot of problems. These can affect since the operation of the equipment and imply in a greater consumption of energy, and even favor the occurrence of health problems like migraines and irritation in the mucous membranes. Preventive maintenance and proper cleaning of the air conditioning equipment helps reduce the emission of pollutants in the environment, decreases the energy consumption of the appliance, increasing its life. Why Preventive AC Maintenance is Important? In order to have a good functioning of the air conditioning system, it is important to … Continue reading

Sickness of Buildings – Causes, Risks and Solutions

Environment is not only important for its own sake, but also as a resource for healthier living conditions and well-being. Poor environmental quality and its current and future impact on human health is a significant concern worldwide. Air pollution causes significant health problems. In fact, knowledge about the links between health and air quality has considerably improved in the last few decades. According to a WHO report, more than 30% of new and renovated buildings worldwide may generate severe complaints related to indoor air quality. What is Sick Building Syndrome Sick Building Syndrome (SBS) is used to describe situations in which … 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

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

All About Carbon Monoxide and How it can be Reused

Carbon Monoxide is a chemical compound made up of 2 elements which are carbon and oxygen. The proportion of each element is equal which means for every 1 part of carbon, it has an equal part of oxygen. Carbon Monoxide is formed through a lot of processes. One of the most common processes is through the burning of wood or coal or other substances that occur naturally. Vehicles and exhausts also contribute to the creation of this chemical through combustion engines, which means every day, there are a lot of people contributing to the creation of carbon monoxide. However, there … Continue reading

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