Environmental Sustainability in Qatar: Perspectives

In recent years, the concept of environmental sustainability is slowly, but steadily, getting prominence, both in the public and private sectors in Qatar. Mounting environmental pressure has led to the development of new initiatives in several state-owned and private companies. As a major fossil exporter and one of the wealthiest countries, Qatar should do its fair share in reducing domestic greenhouse gas emissions and developing strong climate adaptation plans. Many companies are investing heavily in replacing old turbines, boilers, and furnaces, minimizing GHG and non-GHG emissions, and wastewater discharge. The new companies that were set up in last decade are adopting … Continue reading

Climate Change Impacts in the GCC

The GCC countries face multitude of climate change challenges including desertification, biodiversity loss, water scarcity and sea level rise. The region is characterized by high temperature, high humidity and arid lands resulting in seriously degraded soil and land damage in addition to salt intrusion in the aquifers affecting the small scale agricultural lands thus enhancing the food security threat in the region. All of the above geographical threats have therefore increased and activated the participation of GCC states in global negotiations recently as evidence are uncovered and impacts being felt across the region. If a couple of days of rain … Continue reading

Solar Energy in Qatar

Qatar’s solar energy future is steadily developing. With average daily sunshine of around 9.5 hours, low-cloud cover conditions and plentiful space, there is great scope for small, medium as well as large-scale solar power projects in the country. Qatar’s global horizontal irradiance is 2,140 kWh per m2 per year which makes it well-suited for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The country is geographically well-positioned to tap its tremendous solar energy potential and has set an ambitious target of 2 percent renewable energy contribution in the national energy mix by 2022. Solar energy has multiple advantages for Qatar in the form of energy … Continue reading

Water Awareness in Qatar: A Survey

Qatar is one of the world’s most water-scarce countries in the world. But the continuous expansion of fossil fuel-led desalination technology and associated water infrastructure evaded the shortages and led to continuous access to safe and clean water to all the citizens and residents. In recent years, Qatar witnessed the growing household water consumption adding stress to the economy, infrastructure, and the environment. New measures were proposed to curb the demand through increasing water tariffs and recycling domestic wastewater for semi-productive use. However, these measures have not reduced the domestic consumption of water. Conserving water is one of the strategic … Continue reading

Environmental Research in Arab World: Perspectives

The Arab world is facing many environmental pressures ranging from challenges in resource management and water scarcity to air pollution and climate change, which all require serious scientific environmental research. Arab nations contribute 1.7 percent of the total value of budgets embarked for environmental research worldwide. Leaders in Environmental Research Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Tunisia are the most active research countries in general science and environmental research. Scientific research has increased in the last ten years, with Egypt leading the Arab world, followed by Saudi Arabia for both the number and rate of publications produced. Egypt has contributed at … 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

Environmental Perceptions and Attitudes in Qatar – A Survey

Measuring environmental knowledge, opinion and attitude is of paramount importance to the academics and policymakers for developing better policies for human well-being and protection of ecosystems. Self-reporting attitudes and behaviours are one of the ways to measure. A first-of-its-kind national opinion survey on environmental issues was conducted in 2016 in a series of three surveys including ten socio-demographic questions in each survey. The survey covered a wide range of topics from climate change to government policies to urbanization to food. The results show a large number of people are deeply aware of the local and global environmental problems. Overall, the … Continue reading

Green Building Trends in the Middle East

The Middle East region faces a unique set of environmental and socio-economic challenges in the form of water scarcity, harsh climatic conditions, ecological degradation and abundance of fossil fuels. Commercial and residential buildings in the Middle East consume more energy than those in other parts of the world, mainly on account of extremely hot weather, rampant use of glass exteriors and heavy reliance on air-conditioning. The Middle East building industry, in recent years, is actively trying to make widespread use of eco-friendly architecture, traditional building methods and sustainable construction practices. Some of the other drivers for the progress of green buildings sector … Continue reading

Sustainability in the Middle East: Complications and Opportunities

The Middle East region is facing a unique set of natural, operational, political, economic and social challenges in efforts to adopt sustainability. The rapid development and increasing population in these countries have led to an increased consumption of fossil fuels, water, and other non-renewable natural resources, taking a toll on the environment. Though the Middle East countries have significantly contributed to the carbon emissions, over the past decade they have taken positive steps towards addressing the core environmental issues and improving sustainability situation in their respective countries. This article aims at sharing the common challenges and opportunities faced by the … Continue reading

Green Building Rating Systems in MENA

Green buildings not only contribute towards a sustainable construction and environment but also bring lots of benefits and advantages to building owners and users. Lower development costs, lower operating costs, increased comforts, healthier indoor environment quality, and enhanced durability and less maintenance costs are hallmarks of a typical green building. A wide range of green building rating and assessment systems are used around the world, including LEED and BREEAM. Sustainability is now a top priority in MENA region and countries like Qatar and UAE have come up with their own green building rating system to incorporate socio-economic, environmental and cultural … Continue reading

Recycling of E-Waste in GCC: Challenges and Opportunities

The growing amount of e-waste is gaining more and more attention on the global agenda. In 2017, e-waste production is expected to reach up to 48 million metric tons worldwide. The biggest contributors to this volume are highly developed nations, with the top three places of this inglorious ranking going to Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. In Norway, each inhabitant produces a massive 28.3 kg of e-waste every year. Not far behind the top ten of this ranking lie GCC member states, with both Kuwait and UAE producing each 17.2 kg e-waste per capita per year. Saudi Arabia with its many … Continue reading

Food Waste and the Spirit of Ramadan

In recent years, enormous generation of food waste during the holy month of Ramadan has been a matter of big debate in Muslim countries and elsewhere. As per conservative estimates, around one-fifth of the food purchased or prepared during Ramadan finds its way to garbage bins or landfills. This translates into thousands of tons of precious food which could have been used for feeding tens of millions of hungry people in impoverished countries of Asia, Africa and elsewhere. The staggering amount of food waste generation during Ramadan urgently demands a strong strategy for its minimization, sustainable utilization and eco-friendly disposal. Gravity of … Continue reading