Storm Alexa – Positive Aspects for MENA

The year 2013 saw history being made when Storm Alexa swept across the Middle East and North Africa bringing blizzards, torrential rain and icy winds to a region that hasn’t experienced such a storm in over 100 years. Storm Alexa caused devastating floods in Arab cities, such as Gaza, and power cuts in certain areas of Jordan. Heavy snowfall in Jordan covered the streets, hindering mobility and forcing people into their homes for several days. The storm has also brought hardship and misery upon the Syrian refugees enduring the bitter cold in fragile tents and makeshift shelters. Positive Aspects However, … Continue reading

Wastewater Treatment Process and its Benefits

With water shortages plaguing the world, water scarcity has become one of the largest threats facing society today, making it one of the UN’s main millennium development goals. Therefore governments have begun to develop new projects and technologies to mitigate its effects on the world. Such projects and technologies include rainwater harvesting, water location transfers, desalination, and wastewater treatment. Unlike the rest, water treatment presents a sustainable short-term and long-term solution to water scarcity. Wastewater is the water used by residences and commercial/industrial establishments that has become too polluted for further use. The combination between these different types of wastewater … Continue reading

Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture in Gaza: Perspectives

There are multiple constraints which limit the development of more sustainable and resilient urban agriculture in the Gaza Strip (and the West Bank). Current urban development policies, land use classification systems and planning have ignored to recognise urban agriculture as a land use category and urban development strategy. Furthermore, there is still a lack of research on participatory urban agricultural development, improved production techniques, urban policies and strategies related to agricultural land use. Policy and institutional reform initiatives will be significant to enhance the potential of urban agriculture for food security, poverty alleviation and sustainable urbanisation. Agricultural Land Availability and … Continue reading

Waste Management in Jeddah

Jeddah, a major commercial hub in the Middle East, is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia. Solid waste management is a big problem in Jeddah as the city’s population is increasing at a rapid pace and has now touched 3.5 million. More than 5,000 tons of solid waste is produced every day and Jeddah municipal authorities are finding it increasingly hard to cope with the problem of urban waste. The management of solid waste in Jeddah begins with collection of wastes from bins scattered across residential and commercial areas. Wastes is collected and sent to transfer stations from where it … Continue reading

Sustainable Development in Jordan: Perspectives

During the last few decades, sustainable development emerged as a hot topic in many reform agendas and strategic management plans in Jordan. The picture is not always optimistic where poverty, climate change and wars to name but a few of the continuous burdens, yet, some results have been successfully reaped. In this article, I will provide a reflection on the sustainable development journey in Jordan. Firstly, what the country achieved from the year 2000 to 2015 and secondly, what challenges the country has to counter from the year 2015 to 2030. Millennium Development Goals – Year 2000 to 2015 Jordan … Continue reading

8 Eco-Friendly Ways to Wash Your Car

How do you normally wash your car? Most of us will answer “the driveway” as the place where we normally wash our car. Washing our car in the free driveway might be one of the most harmful things we do to our environment. Like the other wastewater from our home, the car wash wastewater doesn’t go into the septic to get into treatment. The car wash wastewater from the driveway goes straight into the sewer or drains and gets mixed with the river or local pond without any wastewater treatment. This chemical car wash water pollutes the aquatic life and … Continue reading

Egypt’s Water Crisis – Recipe for Disaster

Egypt has been suffering from severe water scarcity in recent years. Uneven water distribution, misuse of water resources and inefficient irrigation techniques are some of the major factors playing havoc with water security in the country. Egypt has only 20 cubic meters per person of internal renewable freshwater resources, and as a result the country relies heavily on the Nile River for its main source of water. The River Nile is the backbone of Egypt’s industrial and agricultural sector and is the primary source of drinking water for the population. Rising populations and rapid economic development in the countries of … Continue reading

Common Water Pollutants and Their Effects on the Environment

English poet W.H. Auden once said, “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water,” and how true that is. Water is what keeps us alive and sustains us. Why, then, do we have such a problem keeping water clean, and what does water pollution do, not only to us but to the environment? Let’s delve into the subject of water pollution so we can better understand it and its effects on the whole world. Water Pollution Facts Water pollution is caused when a toxic substance gets into the water supply, whether that be a river, ocean, or the underground … Continue reading

Reuse of Greywater

Greywater includes water from showers, bathtubs, sinks, kitchen, dishwashers, laundry tubs, and washing machines. The major ingredients of greywater are soap, shampoo, grease, toothpaste, food residuals, cooking oils, detergents, hair etc. In terms of volume, greywater is the largest constituent of total wastewater flow from households. In a typical household, 50-80% of wastewater is greywater, out of which laundry washing accounts for as much as 30% of the average household water use. The key difference between greywater and sewage (or black water) is the organic loading. Sewage has a much larger organic loading compared to greywater. Importance of Reuse of Greywater … Continue reading

Water Crisis in Refugee Camps

The refugee crisis has hit record heights in recent years. According to the UNHCR, as of the end of 2019 there were approximately 79.5 million refugees worldwide. This is a significant increase from a decade ago, when there were 37.5 million refugees worldwide. Syria’s ongoing civil war, with 7.6 million people displaced internally, and 3.88 million people displaced into the surrounding region and beyond as refugees, has alone made the Middle East the world’s largest producer and host of forced displacement. Adding to the high totals from Syria are displacements of at least 2.6 million people in Iraq and 309,000 … Continue reading

Litani River: A Sorry State of the Affairs

The Litani River, the largest river in Lebanon, faces a multitude of environmental problems. Due to decades of neglect and mismanagement, the river has become heavily polluted. The main contributors to the degradation of Litani River are industrial pollution from factories and slaughterhouse, untreated sewage, chemicals from agriculture runoffs and disposal of municipal waste. The pollution has reached such a level where it is obvious to the human eye and causing serious health issues for people drinking its contaminated water. The Litani River is a source of income for many families who use it in summer for many recreational activities; … 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