Biogas Feedstock in the Middle East

Anaerobic digestion (or biogas technology) 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.  A wide range of organic wastes are available in the Middle East for anaerobic digestion. In addition to MSW, large quantity of waste, in … Continue reading

Agricultural Scenario in MENA

Agriculture plays an important role in the economies of most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The contribution of the agricultural sector to the overall economy varies significantly among countries in the region, ranging from about 3.2 percent in Saudi Arabia to 13.4 percent in Egypt.  Large scale irrigation is expanding, enabling intensive production of high value cash and export crops, including fruits, vegetables, cereals, and sugar. Egypt Egypt is the 14th biggest rice producer in the world and the 8th biggest cotton producer in the world. Egypt produced about 5.67 million tons of rice and 635,000 tons … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in MENA

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is known for being one of the hottest places on Earth, and highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. In an IPCC special report on regional climate change, models projected that average temperatures in the region will increase by 1-2˚C by 2030-2050. Decision makers and citizens in all 21 countries realize that they are faced with an immediate need to reshape energy, agriculture, water and environmental policy to adapt to changing climate conditions. Steep Rise in Temperature Satellite data provided by Climate Engine from 1979 to present shows the mean max (average maximum) temperatures … Continue reading

How MENA is Rediscovering its Vegan Heritage

Keen followers of green-related news will have noticed an increased trend in veganism when it comes to the GCC and MENA. Gulf News highlighted the 250% increase in vegan supermarket options across the region in one November analysis, and more and more families are looking at options for their families to enjoy a more environmentally friendly and health conscious diet. This is, of course, not news to the region. Veganism has been around longer in the MENA than perhaps in any other part of the world, and eco-friendly eaters and businesses across the Gulf are taking note and helping natives to rediscover that … Continue reading

Storm Alexa – Positive Aspects for MENA

The year 2013 saw history being made when Storm Alexa swept across the Middle East and North Africa bringing blizzards, torrential rain and icy winds to a region that hasn’t experienced such a storm in over 100 years. Storm Alexa caused devastating floods in Arab cities, such as Gaza, and power cuts in certain areas of Jordan. Heavy snowfall in Jordan covered the streets, hindering mobility and forcing people into their homes for several days. The storm has also brought hardship and misery upon the Syrian refugees enduring the bitter cold in fragile tents and makeshift shelters. Positive Aspects However, … Continue reading

Water Scarcity in MENA

The MENA region is the most water scarce region of the world. The region is home to 6.3 percent of world’s population but has access to measly 1.4 percent of the world’s renewable fresh water. The average water availability per person in other geographical regions is about 7,000 m3/year, whereas water availability is merely 1,200 m3/person/year in the MENA region. The region has the highest per capita rates of freshwater extraction in the world (804 m3/year) and currently exploits over 75 percent of its renewable water resources. Due to burgeoning population and rapid economic growth, the per capita water availability … Continue reading

All You Need to Know About Ocean Acidification and its Impacts

The relentless rise in the percentage of atmospheric carbon dioxide since the Industrial Revolution is a well-known fact. Carbon dioxide is considered as one of the key players among the greenhouse gases that has contributed the most towards global warming, the current hot topic among environmentalists, scientists and even politicians. Another key issue is increasing being discussed nowadays is Ocean Acidification. Ocean acidification is an ongoing change in the chemistry of the ocean caused primarily by the ocean’s absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. What is Ocean Acidification Around 1/4th of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere via … Continue reading

EcoMENA – Vision and Mission

The MENA region is plagued by a host of issues including water scarcity, waste disposal, food security, industrial pollution and desertification. Providing free access to quality information and knowledge-based resources motivates youngsters in a big way. EcoMENA provides encouragement to masses in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world. Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to the Florentine Association of International Relations (FAIR) about the vision, aims, objectives and rationale behind the creation of EcoMENA.  FAIR: What is EcoMENA and what is its primary … Continue reading

How Agricultural Sector Can Help the Renewable Energy Sector?

The continuous rise in fossil energy prices, combined with climate change concerns and progress in renewable energy sector, has catalyzed interest in clean energy systems across the MENA region, especially in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean region has abundant renewable resources, such as wind, solar, and biomass, which makes it a fertile zone for renewable energy developments. The agricultural sector has played a key role in the progress of renewable energy sector around the world as it provides large areas where renewable energy projects are built and is also the predominant feedstock source for biomass energy projects. For example, agricultural sector … Continue reading

Environmental Initiatives in Middle East – Challenges and Remedies

Environmental protection has become an increasingly important item on the social and economic policy agenda of Middle East nations. As I read last week’s piece titled “Environmental Impacts of Plastic Bags” I was struck by the succinct summary of the main problems with the ongoing use of plastic bags and how their effects can be felt in many ways, some widely publicized and others not. The article prompted a series of reflections upon other environmental initiatives emerging in the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In this article, I wish to share my … Continue reading

Why Cities in the Middle East Need More Trees?

In 2016, The Nature Conservancy, one of the largest environmental NGOs in the United States, released a report entitled “Planting Healthy Air” that examines the role planting trees in urban areas plays in reducing pollution and extreme heat. As the report indicates, the population of city dwellers globally is increasing, as is the number of deaths associated with exposure to pollution and intense heat waves. The authors of the report argue that urban forestation projects are one of the most cost effective means to reduce particulate matter in the air and cool temperatures in the world’s largest cities. Urban forestation … Continue reading

Everything You Need to Know About Jatropha

Jatropha is a genus of nearly 175 species of shrubs, low-growing plants, and trees.  However, discussions of Jatropha as a biodiesel feedstock are actually means a particular species of the plant, Jatropha curcas. The plant is indigenous to parts of Central America, however it has spread to other tropical and subtropical regions in Africa and Asia. What is Jatropha? Jatropha curcas is a perennial shrub that, on average, grows approximately three to five meters in height. It has smooth grey bark with large and pale green leaves. The plant produces flowers and fruits are produced in winter or throughout the … Continue reading