Green Building Sector in the UAE: Perspectives

The focus on sustainability is one of the biggest trends in the GCC’s building sector. This is underpinned by Dubai being ranked third in the list of global cities with the highest number of green certified buildings in the ‘Sustainability and Wellness in Dubai’ report by Core Savills with over 550 projects under LEED certification and the implementation of the Estidama framework in Abu Dhabi. Paving the Way In the UAE, the directives by the Federal and Local Government entities to establish a sustainable economy that advocates demand side-energy management, and water & energy use efficiency has encouraged real estate … Continue reading

Asbestos Waste Management in MENA

Each year countries from the Middle East and North Africa import large amount of asbestos for use in the construction industry. As per the last known statistics, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 20% of world demand for the material. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest consumers of the material. Infact, the entire Middle East has been steadily increasing their asbestos imports, except for Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are the only two countries that have placed bans on asbestos but with questionable effectiveness. Iran alone has been reported to order 30,000 tons of asbestos each year. More than 17,000 … Continue reading

Carbon Capture and Storage: Prospects in GCC

Gulf Cooperation Council countries are burgeoning economies which are highly dependent on hydrocarbons to fuel their needs for economic growth. GCC nations are fully aware of the mounting consequences of increasing levels of CO­2 on the environment, mainly attributed to soaring energy demand of domestic and industrial sector. Regional countries are undertaking concrete steps and measures to reduce their carbon footprint through the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Among other options, Carbon Capture and Storage, popularly known as CCS, can be an attractive proposition for GCC nations. What is CCS Carbon capture and storage (or carbon capture and sequestration) … Continue reading

Red Palm Weevil – A Real Threat for Date Palms in Middle East

A modern day threat to agriculture across the globe is the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). This creature is native to South Asia but it rather rapidly spreading its wings and crossing the globe. The red palm weevil can completely destroy palm groves, be it coconut, date or palm oil. Over the immediate past 30 years, the red palm weevil (also known as red date weevil) has penetrated over 60 countries and is now reaching the Middle East,  northern Africa, southern Europe and across to the Caribbean. Emergence in the Middle East The weevil began to appear in Saudi Arabia … Continue reading

The Menace of Plastic Water Bottles

In the Middle East, it is common to see people greatly misuse plastic water bottles considering it free, taking a bottle, sipping it half and throwing it away. These used and partially consumed water bottles are then collected and thrown away in municipal garbage bins from where  it is collected and transported to landfills and waste dumps. These water bottles thus have a high carbon footprint and represent enormous wastage of precious water source and misuse of our other fragile resources. In many cases, these water bottles are being littered around the commercial and religious places. Plastic water bottles are a … Continue reading

Green Buildings and the Middle East

The Middle East region faces a unique set of challenges in terms of sustainable buildings and cities. For example, water shortage is mitigated by costly desalination and we are faced with high water consumption which leads to a higher carbon footprint and ultimately impacts climate change. Middle Eastern countries are at the top of the list of largest per capita ecological footprints. Qatar has the highest per capita level of carbon dioxide emissions, at 44 metric tons per person annually. Kuwait is second with 30.3 tons, followed by the UAE with 22.6. Therefore, integrating energy efficiency is a critical need. Benefits of Green … Continue reading

Water Conservation Strategies for Middle East

To deal with freshwater management challenges in the Middle East, it is important to bring a balance between both water supply and demand side. This can be done by employing strategies to increase water efficiency and conservation. Water conservation strategies for the Middle East include reducing the use of potable water where possible, find alternative source of water for various water usage and increase the water efficiency of fixtures and equipments.  Efficient strategies along with water monitoring that tracks water consumption and identifies problems can significantly reduce both indoor and outdoor water consumption in water-scarce GCC countries like UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and … Continue reading

Green Career Tips by Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar, Founder of EcoMENA, talks to Bhavani Prakash of Green Collar Asia about cleantech industry trends, and offers tips for professionals trying to enter renewable energy and waste management sectors. This interview was originally published on www.greencollarasia.com .  Green Collar Asia: How did you become so interested in renewable energy and waste management technologies? Salman Zafar: I am a chemical engineer by education. After completing my Master’s degree program in 2004, I got the opportunity to work as a Research Fellow on large-scale biogas power projects which initiated me into waste management/bioenergy sector. During the course of my fellowship, I was involved in the design, operation and … Continue reading

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

The Menace of Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are a common feature in urban life in the Middle East. The availability of water bottles is common and the cost is affordable by all sections of the society due to which its use and misuse has increased manifolds with time. People also provide it for free in mosques and other public locations. It is because of its easy availability that people misuse this resource considering it free, taking a bottle, sipping it, consuming partly and leaving it at the venue or throwing it in garbage bins. Empty and partially consumed water bottles are collected and thrown away in municipal … Continue reading

UHI Effect: Impact on Sustainability

Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect arises due to absorption of incident radiation from the sun by built surfaces of tall buildings, roof, concrete structures and asphalt roads and then releasing it in the form of heat. The term “urban heat island” describes the built-up areas that are significantly hotter than the surrounding open, natural or rural areas. It occurs on the surface and in the atmosphere. The built surfaces are made of high-percentage of non-reflective and water-resistant construction materials. These materials act as heat sinks that absorb the radiated heat and store it for long time. The Urban Heat Island … Continue reading

Construction Wastes Management in the UAE

Out of total solid wastes generated in the UAE, the construction and demolition (C&D) wastes account for 70% of the total weight of solid wastes. Dubai alone produces nearly 5,000 tonnes of construction and demolition waste every day, which is about 70% of the total solid waste generated every day. In Abu Dhabi, C & D wastes account for 71% of total wastes generated in the year 2011. It is expected that construction and development activities and associated C&D waste production will continue to rise in this region. Hence, if not managed appropriately, it is expected that dumping of C … Continue reading

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