Food Waste, Ramadan and the Middle East

With the holy month of Ramadan only a few days away, huge food wastage in the Middle East is again hogging limelight. It is a widely acccepted fact that almost half of the municipal solid waste stream in the Middle East is comprised of food wastes and associated matter. The increasing amount of food waste in the Middle East urgently demands a strong food waste management strategy to ensure its minimization and eco-friendly disposal.  Food Waste in Ramadan Middle East nations are acknowleded as being the world’s top food wasters, and during Ramadan the situation takes a turn for the worse. In 2012, the Dubai Municipality … Continue reading

Algae Biorefinery – Promise and Potential

High oil prices, competing demands between foods and other biofuel sources, and the world food crisis, have ignited interest in algaculture (farming of algae) for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biogasoline, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels. Algae can be efficienctly grown on land that is not suitable for agriculture and hold huge potential to provide a non-food, high-yield source of biodiesel, ethanol and hydrogen fuels.  Several recent studies have pointed out that biofuel from microalgae has the potential to become a renewable, cost-effective alternative for fossil fuel with reduced impact on the environment and the world supply of staple foods, such as wheat, maize and sugar. What are Algae? Algae … Continue reading

Green Spaces in Middle East – Perspectives

Often dubbed as “pockets of green in a grey landscape”, green spaces such as urban parks, vertical gardens and street trees, are increasingly being incorporated into city plans and designs for their multi-functional benefits of ecological, physical and social nature. An obvious benefit from increasing green space within cities is the increase in biodiversity. Often serving as refuges and habitat corridors for wildlife, studies have shown increases in both native and endemic flora and fauna with the expansion of green spaces in cities. Infact it has been observed that city planners choose to incorporate green spaces, such as urban parks … Continue reading

Recycling and Artwork

Art and recycling goes hand-in-hand. Eco-artists are, nowadays, transforming old, recycled and resued object into amazing pieces of contemporary art. The trend started gaining prominence in 1980s when museums and galleries in the Western world opened their doors for such innovation and creativity. In recent years, many artists in the Middle East has started expressing their support for recycling and sustainability through artworks where they merge traditional tone with contemporary themes creating attractive installation art that express local cultural heritage in the larger public interests. Artists are expressing their emotions and ideas through a wide range of recyclables glass, cans, plastics, CDs, PET bottles etc. Installation … Continue reading

Introduction to MRF

A Material Recovery Facility (MRF) is a building to receive, sort, process and store recyclable materials to be shipped and marketed to end-users. A materials recovery facility accepts materials, whether source separated or mixed, and separates, processes and stores them for later use as raw materials for remanufacturing and reprocessing. The main function of the MRF is to maximize the quantity of recyclables processed, while producing materials that will generate the highest possible revenues in the market. MRFs can also function to process wastes into a feedstock for biological conversion or into a fuel source for the production of energy. MRFs … Continue reading

The Dangers of Asbestos

The use of asbestos has been a widespread issue that continues to impact countries on a global scale. As a favored material used in buildings and construction projects throughout the 20th century, asbestos held an incredible appeal as a mineral known for its heat and fire resistant properties. For decades, this substance was synonymous with manufacturing and development. However, it was soon discovered that once asbestos was disturbed or damaged, the fibrous material could have a fatal effect on those that came into contact with it. Asbestos in the United States Despite its known dangers, asbestos continues to pose a … Continue reading

Recycling of PVC – Prospects and Challenges

PVC, also known as Polyvinyl Chloride or Vinyl, is one of the most widely used plastics worldwide due to its chemical stability and durability. PVC products have an average lifetime of 30 years, with some reaching 50 or more years.  This means that more PVC products are reaching the end-of-life and entering the waste stream, and the amount is likely to increase significantly in the near future. The Middle East will ultimately have to deal with increased PVC waste as it is one of the markets expected to have high growth rates for PVC consumption, with developing countries in the … Continue reading

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

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