Blue Roads in Doha: An Innovative Way to Combat Rising Temperatures

The streets of Abdullah Bin Jassim near the iconic Souq Waqif in Doha were painted blue recently as part of a pilot project to reduce the effects of extreme heat in the city. By reflecting the heat instead of absorbing it, the blue-coated asphalt roads will support Qatar’s battle to combat the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI). Image Source: The Peninsula (2019) Blue road project to bring temperature down What is UHI? With 55 per cent of the world’s population currently living in urban areas, cities struggle to meet their overflowing capacity resulting in a dense network of high-rise buildings, … Continue reading

Carbon Market in the Middle East

The Middle East and North Africa region is highly susceptible to climate change, on account of its water scarcity, high dependence on climate-sensitive agriculture, concentration of population and economic activity in urban coastal zones, and the presence of conflict-affected areas. Moreover, the region is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions on account of its thriving oil and gas industry. The world’s dependence on Middle East energy resources has caused the region to have some of the largest carbon footprints per capita worldwide. Not surprisingly, the carbon emissions from UAE are approximately 55 tons per capita, which is … Continue reading

Features of a Green Building

A green building incorporates environmental considerations into every stage of the building construction and focuses on the design, construction, operation and maintenance phases. The key process difference between green and conventional buildings is the concept of integration, whereby a multi-disciplinary team of building professionals work together from the pre-design phase through post-occupancy to optimize the building for environmental sustainability, performance, and cost saving. Green buildings offer widespread benefits to a number of building industry stakeholders, including building occupants and society as a whole. Green buildings typically incorporate superior air quality, abundant natural light, access to views and noise control which benefits … Continue reading

Strategizing Water Security in the GCC to Meet the Needs of a Growing Population

Water security has become an increasingly hot topic in the GCC as regional governments struggle to meet the water needs of a rapidly increasing population. If population and development levels maintain their fast-paced upward trajectory, so too will the demand for water, food, and energy increase at the same rate. The Gulf region as a whole remains geographically handicapped in the sense no major rivers flow through it, and it possesses few renewable aquifer endowments. Therefore, there is an urgent need for these states to manage their scarce water resources efficiently. Currently, the states rely heavily on groundwater sources, followed … Continue reading

Solid Waste Management in Qatar

Qatar is counted among the world’s fastest growing economies. Municipal solid waste management is one of the most serious challenges faced by this tiny Gulf nation on account of high population growth rate, urbanization, industrial growth and economic expansion. The country has one of the highest per capita waste generation rates worldwide which is as high as 1.8 kg per day. Qatar produces more than 2.5 million tons of municipal solid waste each year. Solid waste stream is mainly comprised of organic materials (around 60 percent) while the rest of the waste steam is made up of recyclables like glass, … Continue reading

Composting Scenario in Qatar

The State of Qatar has one of the highest per capita waste generation rates worldwide. In 2012, Qatar generated 8,000 tons of solid waste daily (this is excluding construction and demolition waste which amounts to 20,000 tons additional waste per day).  This number is predicted to reach 19,000 tons/day in 2032, with an annual growth rate of roughly 4.2%.1  Most of these wastes end up in landfills – in 2012, more than 90% of Qatar’s solid waste were sent to landfills although the government is intensifying its efforts to reduce this amount.  This percentage is extremely high compared to many … Continue reading

Renewable Energy in GCC: Need for a Holistic Approach

The importance of renewable energy sources in the energy portfolio of any country is well known, especially in the context of energy security and impacts on climate change. The growing quest for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been seen by many as both – a compulsion to complement the rising energy demand, and as an economic strength that helps them in carrying forward the clean energy initiatives from technology development to large scale deployment of projects from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh. Current Scenario The promotion of renewable energy (RE) is becoming an … Continue reading

Energy Efficiency Perspectives for MENA

MENA countries are facing an increasing challenge in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector. Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia figure among the world’s top-10 per capita carbon emitters. In case of business-as-usual scenario, GHGs emissions from the energy sector will continue to rise throughout the region. According to a recent report by International Energy Agency (IEA), energy intensity demand in MENA is mainly driven by population and economic growth and reliance of heavy industries on generous energy subsidy. It is projected that primary energy demand in the region will be doubled by 2030 and the region’s … Continue reading

Food Security Strategy in Qatar

Qatar is a water-scarce and arid region which has its own share of demographic and socio-economic problems. The cultivation of food crops is a difficult proposition for Qatar due to scarcity of water supply and limited availability of arable land. The country is vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because of heavy dependence on imported grains and food items. The increasing dependence on foreign food imports is leading to a growing sense of food insecurity in Qatar. Understanding Food Security Food security is the condition in which all people at all times have a physical and economic access to … Continue reading

Understanding Carbon Footprint

With rising awareness of global warming and effects of emissions on the environment, corporates and individuals alike are rising to tackle environmental issues. Carbon footprinting, the first step to reduce carbon emissions, is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused directly or indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product. The main reason for calculating a carbon footprint is to inform decisions on how to reduce the climate change impact of a company, service or product. Carbon footprints are measured by undertaking a greenhouse gas assessment. Once the size of a carbon footprint is known, a strategy can be … Continue reading

Hazardous Waste Management in Qatar: Progress and Challenges

A country with an abundance of raw materials, cheap labor, and a rising demand for energy, Qatar needed to diversify its industrial sector in the 1970s. From then onwards, the use of fertilizers, petrochemicals, and gas liquefaction plants have grown exponentially. The magnitude of hazardous waste and the pollution to be produced from different streams have not been thoroughly considered, but Qatar has taken serious steps to implement commitments for sustainable development by passing laws and treaties, such as law No.4 in 1981 issuing safeguards and providing requirements for the protection of the environment, and by signing onto treaties such … Continue reading

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