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

Solid Waste Management in Jordan

Jordan is an emerging and stable economy in the Middle East. The growing industrialization and high population growth rate has led to rapid increase in solid waste generation in the country which has, in turn, put increasing pressure in waste management infrastructure. Around 2 million tons of municipal waste is generated in Jordan each year with most of it diverted to unsanitary landfills and dumpsites. Improper solid waste disposal is leading to public health risks, adverse environmental impacts as well as socio-economic problems.  Solid Waste Generation The predominant fraction in Jordanian MSW is organic matter which makes up as much as … Continue reading

Countering Water Scarcity in Jordan

Water scarcity is a reality in Jordan, as the country is counted among the world’s most arid countries. The current per capita water supply in Jordan is 200m3 per year which is almost one-third of the global average. To make matters worse, it is projected that per capita water availability will decline to measly 90m3 by the year 2025. Thus, it is of paramount importance to augment water supply in addition to sustainable use of available water resources. Augmenting Water Supply There are couple of options to increase alternative water supply sources in Jordan – desalination of seawater and recycling of … Continue reading

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

#InspireMENA Story 1: Humanizing Architecture – Through the Eyes of Abeer Seikaly

Through the jasmine-scented roads of L’weibdeh (Jordan) I navigated my way to Abeer Seikaly’s studio, an old house that resembles Jordan’s genuine and inspiring identity. Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect who has been featured on several global and local media platforms because of her innovation “Weaving a Home” that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award. Influence of Education and Local Knowledge Top architecture schools in the Arab world are heavily influenced by international trends in built environment and sustainability, and unfortunately Arabic reference material is largely ignored in teaching. The emerging thinking around built environment and its relationship … Continue reading

Sustainability Perspectives for Amman

Is Amman a sustainable city? No, it is not. That isn’t a very surprising statement if you’ve ever lived in or visited Amman. By all means, it’s a beautiful city, with plenty to offer visitors and residents alike. It is a diverse city with a wide range of experiences to offer between East and West Amman or Downtown to Abdoun. The fact remains however that it is not a very sustainable city. We as residents are not being kind to the city we call home. When I look at Amman I happen to see all the things I like, but also all … 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

Paris Agreement: Role of Effective Climate Governance Framework

It has been a while since 195 countries agreed to the Paris Agreement resulting from the UNFCCC COP21. In a few weeks, countries are expected to adopt the Agreement which will be open for signature until April 2017. While many consider that history was made as industrialized and developing countries jointly agreed on the same climate policy framework for the first time ever; others alert that the Paris Agreement is only as good as its implementation plans and review mechanisms. Nevertheless, the Paris Agreement and the process around it demonstrate an exemplary model for global governance and policy advocacy. The … Continue reading

SEA as Sustainability Mainstreaming and Planning Tool in Jordan

Seeking to find its own recipe for sustainability planning, Jordan is piloting Strategic Environmental Assessment as a tool for planning and managing development zones or special economic areas. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental consequences of proposed policy, strategy or master plan in order to ensure they are fully included and appropriately addressed at the earliest appropriate stage of decision-making on par with economic and social consideration. Using a unique model, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has prepared Strategic Environmental Assessment and Strategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) for the Dead Sea Development Zone which was … Continue reading

Clean Energy Resources in Jordan

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is heavily dependent on oil imports from neighbouring countries to meet its energy requirements. The huge cost associated with energy imports creates a financial burden on the national economy and Jordan had to spend almost 20% of its GDP on the purchase of energy in 2008. Electricity demand is growing rapidly, and the Jordanian government has been seeking ways to attract foreign investment to fund additional capacity. In 2008, the demand for electricity in Jordan was 2,260 MW, which is expected to rise to 5,770 MW by 2020. Therefore, provision of reliable and clean energy … Continue reading

A Primer on Landfill Gas Recovery

Landfill gas (or LFG) is generated during the natural process of bacterial decomposition of organic material contained in municipal solid waste landfills or garbage dumps. The waste is covered and compressed mechanically as well as by the weight of the material that is deposited above. This material prevents oxygen from accessing the waste thus producing ideal conditions for anaerobic microorganism to flourish. This gas builds up and is slowly released into the atmosphere if the landfill site has not been engineered to capture the gas. The rate of production is affected by waste composition and landfill geometry, which in turn influence the … Continue reading

#InspireMENA Story 3: Carta: Creating Art-from-Trash in Jordan

Carta, a novel paper recycling initiative in Jordan, was launched when Najwan Al Masri noticed the increasing amount of paper wastes being generated at her home (especially when her son started to write and draw) and she thought “Why not to upcycle waste papers into beautiful Art and Crafts”. The thought developed to an idea which then grew into a project with careful research and study about how to make something unique and useful. Carta is trying to give paper recycling a new dimension of creativity, innovation and passion. EcoMENA talks to Najwan Al Masri, the Founder of Carta, to know … Continue reading

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