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. 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 plastic water bottles are collected and thrown away in municipal … Continue reading

The Impact of Urban Heat Island Effect 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

Sustainability in the MENA Cement Industry: Perspectives

The population in the MENA countries has doubled during the last 30 years (from ca. 110m in 1980 to almost 484m in 2018). As per conservative estimates, the rate of urbanisation in the MENA countries will exceed 70% five years from today (average for all developing countries: 54%). The proceeding urbanisation and the population increase involve several problems and challenges for the national governments and also for the cement industry. The cement production of countries in the MENA region has almost tripled during the last 15 years up to approximately 500m tons. Since the start of national revolts and demonstrations … Continue reading

The Paper Bag Boy of Abu Dhabi

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist, eco-hero and eco-warrior. At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. Inspired by the 2010 campaign “UAE Free of Plastic Bags”, Abdul Muqeet, a student of Standard V at Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100% recycled carry bags using paper waste. He then set out to distribute these bags in Abu Dhabi, replacing single-use plastic bags that take hundreds … Continue reading

Construction Wastes Management in the UAE

Out of total solid wastes generated in the UAE, the construction and demolition wastes or (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. 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&D waste will become uncontrolled. … Continue reading

The Significance of Domestic Water Conservation

The Middle East region is plagued by water scarcity and water management issues. Despite heavy investment in the water sector, water management remains a serious economic and environmental issue throughout the region. Overconsumption of water is a serious issue as per capita use of water in most of the Middle Eastern countries is several times more water than the global average. For example, on an average each UAE and Saudi Arabian resident consume 550 liters and 250 liters of water per day respectively. On the other hand, per capita water consumption in United Kingdom and Germany is 150 liters and … Continue reading

Hazardous Wastes in UAE

The United Arab Emirates signed the Basel Convention* in November 1992 and established a legislation called ‘Regulation for Handling Hazardous Materials, Hazardous Wastes and Medical Waste (Law 24 of 1999)’. Article 12 of the law states ‘Transportation and disposal of locally produced hazardous waste through land borders, marine environment limit and air space shall be controlled in accordance with the rules, procedure and controls mentioned and specified in Basel Agreement and in coordination with Federal Environmental Agency’. UAE is not yet a signatory to Basel BAN amendments of Sep 1995 thus there is no mention of the Basel BAN amendments in … Continue reading

Water-Energy Nexus in the United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates has been witnessing fast-paced economic growth as well as rapid increase in population during the last couple of decades. As a result, the need for water and energy has increased significantly and this trend is expected to continue into the future. Water in the UAE comes from four different sources – groundwater (44%), desalinated seawater (42%), treated wastewater (14%), and surface water (1%). Most of the groundwater and treated seawater are used for irrigation and landscaping while desalinated seawater is used for drinking, household, industrial, and commercial purposes. Water consumption per capita in UAE is more … Continue reading

Environmental Awareness in Arab Countries: A Survey

A public opinion survey carried out by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development in 22 Arab countries revealed that a vast majority, exceeding 60 percent, believes that the environment has deteriorated in their countries over the last 10 years. An even bigger majority of 95 percent thinks that their country is not doing enough to tackle environmental challenges. The questionnaire, circulated via internet in cooperation with Arab media outlets and conducted on a self-completion basis, attracted 20,460 responses from across the Arab region. Respondents who thought that the environmental situation has worsened comprised 60 percent, reflecting findings of a … Continue reading

Freshwater Management Outlook for UAE

Per capita water consumption of freshwater in the United Arab Emirates is the highest in the world. Over the last several decades, the demand on municipal water supply has increased significantly in the UAE. This is mainly due to increase in population growth, economic development and changes in lifestyle of the people. Though water is used by many sectors such as manufacturing industries, agriculture and domestic purposes, residential  and commercial uses of water during the operational phase of the building is one of the biggest contributing factors that puts a strain on freshwater supply in the country. Desalination and Sustainability … Continue reading

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Environmental Sustainability

In recent years, the environmental issues have triggered debates, discussions, awareness programs and public outrage that have catapulted interest in new technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence finds application in a wide array of environmental sectors, including natural resource conservation, wildlife protection, energy management, clean energy, waste management, pollution control and agriculture. Artificial Intelligence (also known as AI) is considered to be the biggest game-changer in the global economy. With its gradual increase in scope and application, it is estimated that by 2030, AI will contribute up to 15.7 trillion of the global economy which is more than the … Continue reading