Unending Benefits of Wetlands

Wetlands are wonderful for numerous reasons but these wonders weren’t always known to man and it was often common to overlook the importance of this distinct ecosystem. The mention of a wetland used to bring to mind images of murky, mosquito-riddled swamps or unused lands that needed to be developed into a space which would be more useful to humankind. Wetlands were grossly undervalued which led to loss of many and provoked the Convention on Wetlands to be signed in Ramsar, Iran in 1971. The Ramsar Convention still serves as an international wetland conservation movement and currently holds over 160 nation … Continue reading

Gas Flaring in Iraq: A “Burning” Issue

Ever since crude oil production started in the 19th century, gas flaring and venting were born with it. Companies and even some governments found associated gas a nuisance that had to be flared and vented if continued and increasing crude oil production was to be achieved. But the value of gas as a source of energy and its environmental benefits were gradually realised and some governments introduced regulations to limit gas flaring to the minimum. However, the problem is still with us and the World Bank estimates that in 2017 gas flaring was at a level of around 140 billion … Continue reading

Sustainability Principles in Traditional Islamic Architecture

Islam came with many sustainability and environmental conservation principles, which appeared in all aspects of the Islamic society. This green vision of Islam is also reflected in the city planning and traditional architecture. Infact, Islamic cities were shaped by Islamic beliefs on environmental conservation and sustainability. The traditional house adopted in Islamic architecture respects the environment in more ways than one: first by minimizing the impact of harsh natural environment conditions such as hot climate, relative humidity and solar radiation intensity, second by maximizing the potential possibilities of these conditions to achieve the thermal comfort of inhabitants and utilizing the … Continue reading

Food Security in the Middle East

Despite the fact that the Middle East is blessed with a rich geological inheritance of hydrocarbons and mineral resources, it is a water-scarce and arid region that has its share of demographic and socio-economic problems. It is difficult to grow food crops in the Middle East due to scarcity of water supply and limited availability of arable land. The region is highly vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because of heavy dependence on imported grains and food items. According to a report issued in 2009 by the World Bank, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the … Continue reading

Water Crisis in Refugee Camps

The refugee crisis has hit record heights in recent years. According to the UNHCR, as of the end of 2014 there were approximately 60 million refugees worldwide. This is a significant increase from a decade ago, when there were 37.5 million refugees worldwide. Syria’s ongoing civil war, with 7.6 million people displaced internally, and 3.88 million people displaced into the surrounding region and beyond as refugees, has alone made the Middle East the world’s largest producer and host of forced displacement. Adding to the high totals from Syria are displacements of at least 2.6 million people in Iraq and 309,000 … Continue reading

Biomass Potential of Date Palm Wastes

Date palm is one of the principal agricultural products in the arid and semi-arid region of the world, especially Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. There are more than 120 million date palm trees worldwide yielding several million tons of dates per year, apart from secondary products including palm midribs, leaves, stems, fronds and coir. The Arab world has more than 84 million date palm trees with the majority in Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and United Arab Emirates. Egypt is the world’s largest date producer with annual production of 1.47 million tons of dates in … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in Iraq

Iraq is one of the most populous Arab countries with population exceeding 32 million. Rapid economic growth, high population growth, increasing individual income and sectarian conflicts have led to worsening solid waste management problem in the country. Iraq is estimated to produce 31,000 tons of solid waste every day with per capita waste generation exceeding 1.4 kg per day. Baghdad alone produces more than 1.5 million tons of solid wastes each year. Rapid increase in waste generation production is putting tremendous strain on Iraqi waste handling infrastructure which have heavily damaged after decades of conflict and mismanagement. In the absence … Continue reading

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