Solid Waste Management in the Middle East – Major Challenges

Middle East is one of the most prolific waste generating regions of the world. Solid waste management in the Middle East is bogged down by major challenges like lavish lifestyles, ineffective legislation, infrastructural roadblocks, indifferent public attitude and lack of environmental awareness. High standards of living are contributing to more generation of waste which when coupled with lack of waste collection and disposal facilities have transformed ‘trash’ into a liability. Major Hurdles The general perception towards waste is that of indifference and apathy. Waste is treated as ‘waste’ rather than as a ‘resource’. There is an urgent need to increase … Continue reading

Progress of Green Building Sector in Qatar

There has been rapid progress in green building sector in Qatar with the emergence of many world-class sustainable constructions in recent years. With the fifth-highest number of LEED-registered and certified buildings outside the U.S., Qatar has valuable experience and inputs to offer on the system’s local relevancy and application. Various countries in the Middle East have been accredited with regards to the LEED system. Of these buildings, 65 per cent (802) are located in the UAE. Qatar is ranked second on the list, with 173 green buildings, followed by Saudi Arabia (145), Lebanon (25) and Egypt (22). Qatar’s Green Building Rating … Continue reading

Women Entrepreneurship in MENA: An Analysis

Women entrepreneurship is an important unexploited source of economic growth in almost all parts of the world. Unfortunately women in MENA have the lowest rates of Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) at merely 4% of the population. The highest rates, globally, are in sub-Saharan Africa, at 27%. Latin American and Caribbean economies also show high levels (15 percent). In just seven economies (Panama, Thailand, Ghana, Ecuador, Nigeria, Mexico, and Uganda), women had equal or slightly higher levels of entrepreneurship than men. For the rest, women represented a smaller share of the entrepreneur population. Current Situation The recent interest in women entrepreneurship in the Middle … Continue reading

Future Water Scenarios in GCC

Water is an important vector in the socio-economic development and for supporting the ecosystem. In the arid to extremely arid Arabian Peninsula, home of the GCC countries, the importance and value of water is even more pronounced. The GCC countries of United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait, are facing the most severe water shortages in the world.  Rainfall scarcity and variability coupled with high evaporation rates have characterized this part of the world with a limited availability of renewable water.  However, the scarcity of renewable water resources is not the only distinctive characteristic of the region, … Continue reading

Food Waste Woes in Qatar

Food waste is a huge issue in Qatar. In 2012, a massive 1.4 million metric tonnes of food was consumed and wasted in Qatar. This figure, divided by the then population of 2.05 million, equates to an average of 636 kilograms (kg) of food per person for the year, or 1.74 kg per day. Given the benchmark of two kg per person per day (preferably nutritious fare that does not contain too many kilojoules), that does not sound too excessive. But if you remove the young, elderly, short-term visitors/workers and people who consume less than two kg per day from the … Continue reading

Mangroves in Qatar: Perspectives

Mangroves are trees and shrubs that have adapted to life in a saltwater environment, usually found in the intertidal zone of a coastal or estuarine area. The halophyte characteristics of a mangrove tree allows it to grow in saline environments where no other tree can, thereby making significant contributions to the local ecosystem. Yet these reservoirs of “blue carbon” are seriously threatened. Across the globe, coastal ecosystems are currently being lost at a rate of about 2% a year – a staggering number when the carbon storage potential is considered.  In a harsh desert environment such as Qatar, mangroves are one … Continue reading

Green Buildings Certification in MENA – Issues and Challenges

Green building rating systems are increasingly gaining attention in the building industry in the MENA region. During the last 15 years, there has been a regional trend in developing and applying green building ratings systems. In several countries such systems have been developed in an attempt to follow the international green movement. For example, the Pearl Building Rating System (PBRS) was founded in UAE in 2007, the Green Pyramid (GPRS) and ARZ Building Rating System in Egypt and Lebanon respectively were founded in 2008, the Edama was proposed in Jordan in 2009 and Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) was founded in 2010.  … Continue reading

تكاتف المجتمع القطري لإعلاء مبادرات إعادة التدوير

الحالة الراهنة للاهتمامات البيئية بدوله قطر تبشر بالرغبه من قبل الحكومات الوطنية وغيرها من المؤسسات, والتي دوما ما تؤيد إعلانيا المبادرات الكثيرة للاهتمام بالبيئة. ولكن الحالة االفعلية لا تنم علي الالتزام بهذا العمل. والموضوع السابق نشره بعنوان " المبادرات البيئية في الشرق الاوسط- بين التحديات والحلول", قد القي الضوء علي بعض هذه الثغرات الموجودة ما بين الرغبات والواقع. ولكنه لم يقدم وصفا مفصلا لما يدعم هذا الاتجاه والحلول الممكنة. وبالتالي تسعي المقاله هنا الي التعمق في مؤسسات الدوله والمجتمعات المدنية بدوله قطر لتقوم بشكل تعاوني علي سد هذه الثغرات وحقن المزيد من التدهورات البيئية, وخاصا فيما يتعلق بإدارة اعادة تدوير … Continue reading

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