Environmental Education: Key to a Better Future

Tomorrow’s leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow’s challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and … Continue reading

Waste Management Outlook for Qatar

Qatar is counted among the world’s fastest growing economies as well as richest countries in the world. The rapid industrialization of the country and high population growth generates a lot of wastes in the form of municipal wastes, construction & demolition debris, industrial wastes etc. Annual solid waste generation in Qatar has crossed 2.5 million tons, which corresponds to daily waste generation of more than 7,000 tons per day. The country has one of the highest per capita waste generation worldwide which ranges from 1.6 to 1.8 kg per day. Solid Waste Management Scenario Solid waste is mainly comprised of organic … Continue reading

Qatar’s Fight Against Climate Change

Qatar’s environmental records have always been in news, of course for the negative ones, but it has always strived to work towards reduction of GHGs emissions. Qatar is already doing plenty to help poor countries with financing and it seems unfair to focus on per capita emissions for a country with estimated population of 2.6 million making it the 143th most populous country on earth. (For climate talks, that is heresy). This may sound harsh, especially since Qatar’s contribution to global warming is tiny compared with the United States, China or India. In recent years, Qatar is making itself a … Continue reading

Waste Awareness in Qatar: A Survey

Waste awareness in Qatar has gained traction in recent years, but more efforts are required to make the masses aware about the consequences of reckless waste generation and disposal, and how sustainable living practices and recycling can help in making Qatar a truly sustainable nation. Below is the outcome of an interesting survey on waste awareness which was conducted among Qataris and non-Qataris (expatriates). Plastic is the most common waste generated in a typical household in Qatar. One-third of overall respondents say that of all products, the volume of the plastic waste generated is higher, followed by food waste (19%) … Continue reading

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