Tips to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air pollution is considered as one of the top environmental risks to public health worldwide due to increasing number of building-related illnesses. Studies have found that concentration of indoor pollutants is significantly higher indoors than they are in outdoor environment, which is two to five times and sometimes hundred times higher than outdoor levels. As most of the people spend 80% to 90% of their lives indoor, indoor air quality has significant implication on sustainability. Decreased indoor air quality can affect quality of life of the building occupant, increase health risks and increase the liability for building owner, decrease … Continue reading

A Glance at Carbon Finance

The main objective of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is to promote sustainable development in developing countries and to allow industrialized countries to earn emissions credits from their investments in emission-reducing projects in developing countries. A particular CDM project cycle involves a wide range of transaction costs which may include the following: Project identification and selection: Costs incurred by project developers and potential investors in identifying prospective projects. Project development and baseline determination: Information costs related to the preparation of a project concept note providing relevant information on project baseline, expected additional emission reductions and corresponding costs. Project validation: The process of independent … Continue reading

Disposal of Waste Tires

Tens of millions of tires are discarded across the Middle East every year. Disposal of  waste tires is a challenging task because tires have a long life and are non-biodegradable. The traditional method of disposal of waste tires have been stockpiling or illegally dumping or landfilling, all of which are short-term solution. Menace of Waste Tires Stockpiled tires provide perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, vermin and snakes. Accidental fires caused in tire dumps can rage for months releasing toxic fumes. For example, a massive fire broke out at Jahra dumpsite in Kuwait in April 2012 where more than 5 million … 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

Thermophilic Composting and its Relevance for MENA

Thermophilic composting of organic waste is getting increasing attention worldwide because of its ability to convert solid wastes into organic fertilizer within a short period of time. The system consists of an enclosed reactor laced with a microbe-enzyme cocktail. The commonly used microorganisms are naturally occurring bacillus sp., pseudomonas sp, bifidobacterium sp., lactobacillus sp., streptomyces sp., corynbacterium sp etc. Enzymes such as proteinase, keratinase, lipase and cellulose are employed to accelerate the aerobic digestion process. Salient Features The most important feature of thermophilic composting process is its operating temperature range of 70 – 80 °C which eliminates all pathogens and harmful … Continue reading

Primer on Wood Wool Cement Board

Wood Wool Cement Board (WWCB) is a versatile building material made from wood wool and cement where each fiber is coated with a thin film of Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) that, when cured, partly petrifies the wood. In that way the fiber will last indefinitely as long as the cement film is not damaged. Environmentally speaking, cement has a negative CO2 signature and therefore both the wood and cement, when decomposed, are harmless to nature and as a result all homogeneous WWCB products have green labels in Europe. It combines the advantages of both wood and concrete together: as light … Continue reading

Towards Effective Environmental Education

Children are the "Future Generation" and their engagement in environmental conservation is an absolute must. Education is the key to fostering this engagement and hence , all efforts must be made in this regard. One of the main reasons for the current state of environmental degradation is the general apathy of civil society and the only way to address this issue is through intrinsic involvement of all stakeholders, in particular, children,  since it is their future that is at stake. Involvement of children in environmental conservation initiatives will also ensure that the movement becomes "bottom-up" rather than something that is … Continue reading

Asbestos Waste Management in MENA

Each year countries from the Middle East and North Africa import large amount of asbestos for use in the construction industry. As per the last known statistics, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 20% of world demand for the material. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest consumers of the material. Infact, the entire Middle East has been steadily increasing their asbestos imports, except for Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are the only two countries that have placed bans on asbestos but with questionable effectiveness. Iran alone has been reported to order 30,000 tons of asbestos each year. More than 17,000 … Continue reading

Mobile Agriculture in Egypt: Food for Thought

The phenomenal spread of smartphones and the fact that they are practically hand-sized computers, have opened way to the creation of countless ‘mobile applications’ or simply ‘apps’. The first apps that came to light were as expected, for social media and different entertainment channels. They were followed by ‘modern life’ apps in the areas of health, education, agriculture and many more. Almost every area imaginable in our life now has a mobile app that caters to it. Mobile Agriculture in Africa During the course of my work at Orange Egypt, I’ve seen a great amount of interest in mobile agriculture … Continue reading

Effective Energy Management for Businesses

Middle East has been witnessing a rapid increase in energy consumption due to high degree of industrialization, high standards of living and exponential increase in population. Infact, the level of primary energy consumption in the Middle East is among the highest worldwide.  These factors have made businesses in Middle East to realize that effective energy management is not only good for the businesses but also an essential requirement. In recent years, many businesses in the Middle East have come up with dynamic strategies to achieve immediate reduction in energy consumption. This trend towards effective energy management is expected to continue … Continue reading

Carbon Capture and Storage: Prospects in GCC

Gulf Cooperation Council countries are burgeoning economies which are highly dependent on hydrocarbons to fuel their needs for economic growth. GCC nations are fully aware of the mounting consequences of increasing levels of CO­2 on the environment, mainly attributed to soaring energy demand of domestic and industrial sector. Regional countries are undertaking concrete steps and measures to reduce their carbon footprint through the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Among other options, Carbon Capture and Storage, popularly known as CCS, can be an attractive proposition for GCC nations. What is CCS Carbon capture and storage (or carbon capture and sequestration) … Continue reading

Re-thinking Sustainable Innovation: New Development Discourse

The climate change presents a challenge to science and policy makers to articulate a new discourse for  sustainable development. Although, the Middle East, the cradle of civilization, was  a fertile land, it was transformed by modern technology and new models of development into a vulnerable ecosystem. The Paradox The paradox is that we are witnessing high levels of poverty despite a growth in global GDP. Also, our natural capital is being degraded at an alarming rate. This is evident when we look at global indicators; i.e., the planet has lost half its mangrove in the last century, and about 70% … Continue reading

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