Ten Tips for Green Living

Green living is an attempt to reduce an individual's or society's use of the Earth's natural resources by altering methods of transportation, energy consumption, water usage etc. Greene living aims to meet present ecological, societal, and economical needs without compromising these factors for coming generations. Reduction in the size of ecological or carbon footprint is the natural outcome of sustainable living. Water pollution, soil contamination, air pollution, waste disposal, resource conservation, wildlife protection are the major environment challenges facing the mankind. When it comes to sustainability, every individual has a role to play. Any individual can adopt a green lifestyle. Here are few green living tips that may … Continue reading

The Menace of Single-Use Plastic Bags

Single-use plastic bags are one of the most objectionable types of litter in urban areas. The sheer volume of plastic waste generated coupled with energy and material resources required for production, as well as emissions resulting from these processes paint a grim picture of the environmental havoc created by plastic bags. Single-use plastic bags are a huge threat to the environment as an estimated 1 trillion such bags are consumed worldwide every year. In the United Arab Emirates alone, nearly 12 billion plastic bags are used annually. Major Hazards Single-use plastic bags are notorious for their interference in natural ecosystems … Continue reading

Plastic Pollution: The Search for a Sustainable Solution

Given the present momentum of events, anthropocene may not last for long as it is engineering the apocalypse with the wonder material – Plastics. Anthropocene signifies the geological period when humans have been the dominant influence on the planet’s environment. According statistics, the world produced 322 million metric tons of plastics in 2015; and it is likely to be four times more by 2050. Plastics have become ubiquitous in our lives today. This wonder material which was invented in 1907 is thickly intertwined with every aspect of our lives today – from toothbrush to the sophisticated gadgets and equipment which … Continue reading

The Paper Bag Boy of Abu Dhabi

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist, eco-hero and eco-warrior. At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Inspired by the 2010 campaign “UAE Free of Plastic Bags”, Abdul Muqeet, a student of Standard V at Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100% recycled carry bags using paper waste. He then set out to distribute these bags in Abu Dhabi, replacing single-use plastic bags that take hundreds … Continue reading

The Menace of Marine Litter

Marine litter, long a neglected topic, has started to garner some attention. Marine litter is composed of a diverse mix of items from various sources and so a one-size fits all solution is unlikely to be effective. Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG), shipping wastes, plastic packaging (bottles, caps, bags, etc.) and plastic manufacturing pellets are amongst the most common and persistent items found. Comparing the feasibility and the financial case for recovery versus prevention for each of these groups reveals a worrying gap in our attempts to deal with the problem. Scale of the Problem Abandoned, lost and discarded fishing … 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

Plastic Upcycling Initiative in Egypt

The sheer volume of plastic waste generated coupled with energy and material resources required for production, as well as emissions resulting from these processes paint a grim picture of the environmental havoc created by plastic bags. Single-use plastic bags are a huge threat to the environment as an estimated 1 trillion such bags are consumed worldwide every year. Plastic bags are notorious for their interference in natural ecosystems and for causing the death of aquatic organisms, animals and birds. In 2006, The United Nations Environment Programme estimated that there are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile … Continue reading

Community Engagement in Recycling Initiatives in Qatar

The current state of environmental custodianship in Qatar leaves much to be desired from the national government and other institutions that publicly endorse initiatives with much fan-fare but do not commit to sustained action. My previous piece titled “Environmental Initiatives in Middle East – Challenges and Remedies” illuminated some of these gaps, but did not provide a detailed description of what underpins this trend and possible solutions might look like. Thus, this article seeks to delve deeper into how state institutions and civil society in Qatar may be able to work cooperatively in staving off further environmental degradation, especially with … Continue reading

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Footprint

With recent reports on the staggering amount of plastic waste floating in our oceans, rivers and lakes, it is high time we start doing something about this problem. Recycling is good, but for many reasons, it is not the answer to the global plastic pollution. We must all learn how to reduce the amount of plastic waste we are producing in the first place. Here are my five favorite ways to reduce your personal plastic footprint. Bring Your Own Bag Billions of plastic shopping bags are used worldwide every year. Shops give them out for free to their customers, but they … Continue reading

Plastic Waste Management in UAE

Plastics are an inseparable part of modern society. However, their safe disposal is a big and highly challenging issue. A typical UAE resident uses 450 plastic water bottles on an average in a single year1. With the equivalent of 43 gallons on an average per person in 2011, the United Arab Emirates had the fourth-highest level of bottled water consumption in the world. A whopping 11 billion plastic bags are used annually, according to statistics from UAE’s Ministry of Environment and Water. This goes on to add up to an annual overall waste of 912.5 kilogram per capita2, 3, and 4. These … Continue reading

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