Composting Guidelines for Beginners

It seems everyone is concerned about the environment and trying to reduce their “carbon footprint”.  Let us hope that this trend will continue and grow as a worldwide phenomenon.  Composting has been around for many years and is a great way to keep biodegradables out of the landfill and to reap the reward of some fabulous “black gold”.  That’s what master gardeners call compost and it’s great for improving your soil.  Plants love it. Below are a few rules to remember about composting: 1. Layer your compost bin with dry and fresh ingredients The best way to start a compost … Continue reading

Water Crisis in Gaza

Gaza Strip has been enduring constant Israeli bombardment for many years which has resulted in severe damages to its infrastructure and to its citizens. However the real risk is Gaza’s lack of usable water.  The only natural source of fresh water in Gaza is a shallow aquifer on the southern part of its coast; 90 to 95% of which is not safe for drinking because of neighboring seawater, sewage, and runoff from agriculture. Even though most of it is not fit for consumption, residents have no other choice but to resort to using it. UN hydrologists have indicated that current extraction … Continue reading

Desalination Outlook for MENA

Desalination is a water treatment process that separates salts from saline water to produce potable water. The desalination process uses large amount of energy to produce pure water from salt water source. Salt water is fed into the process, and the result is an output stream of pure water and another stream of waster with high salt concentration. Desalination techniques are mainly classified into two types: Processes based on physical change in the state of the water, and Processes using a membrane that employ the concept of filtration. There are more than 15,000 industrial-scale desalination units worldwide, with combined capacity exceeding … Continue reading

Food Security Strategy in Qatar

Qatar is a water-scarce and arid region which has its own share of demographic and socio-economic problems. The cultivation of food crops is a difficult proposition for Qatar due to scarcity of water supply and limited availability of arable land. The country is vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because of heavy dependence on imported grains and food items. The increasing dependence on foreign food imports is leading to a growing sense of food insecurity in Qatar. Understanding Food Security Food security is the condition in which all people at all times have a physical and economic access to … Continue reading

Irrigation Systems in the United Arab Emirates

Driving down the streets of Dubai, one cannot ignore the large puddles of water that cover the side of the streets and sidewalks. These puddles, which are the result of attempted irrigation of green patches and plants, are a big waste. As a result, a very important question comes to mind: Does the UAE have that much water to spare? Water in the UAE is in very short supply. The United Arab Emirates is one of the top 10 most water-scarce countries in the world, and has one of the highest per capita water usages globally. With 550 liters per … Continue reading

Green Spaces in Middle East – Perspectives

Often dubbed as “pockets of green in a grey landscape”, green spaces such as urban parks, vertical gardens and street trees, are increasingly being incorporated into city plans and designs for their multi-functional benefits of ecological, physical and social nature. An obvious benefit from increasing green space within cities is the increase in biodiversity. Often serving as refuges and habitat corridors for wildlife, studies have shown increases in both native and endemic flora and fauna with the expansion of green spaces in cities. Infact it has been observed that city planners choose to incorporate green spaces, such as urban parks … Continue reading

Environmental Conservation and International Solidarity

Environment is a global public good and a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights. Environment has no respect for international boundaries and borders, and belongs to all countries and peoples. However the capacity of environment is limited and a common issue for the entire mankind is to conserve this limited global environment so that all people on earth (and coming generations) can enjoy a healthy life. Right to Healthy Environment The right to a healthy and sustainable environment is getting increasing importance in the light of climate change concerns. With fast-changing geo-political situations and ever-increasing conflicts, conservation of the … Continue reading

Changes On Your Home For A More Sustainable Living

Traditional houses were not built with the environment in mind. Most houses require a lot of energy for heating during cold seasons and cooling during hot seasons. A big percentage of houses are not oriented according to the direction of sunlight and wind to achieve better lighting and cooling. As the population continues to increase exponentially, some cities have started to experience the power and water shortage. This problem has led to frequent power and water rationing, especially during dry seasons. It is important for homeowners to renovate their houses so that they can reduce water and electricity consumption. Improve … Continue reading

How to Protect Green Spaces in the Middle East

One of the ecological benefits brought by green spaces is its capability to combat urban heat. The increasing urban heat is usually caused by the high number of heat reflective substances that are emerging in the cities. Green spaces such as gardens and parks can significantly reduce heat and promote natural cooling through an efficient ventilation and dynamic absorption. Some green spaces could even help prevent urban flooding, air pollution, and storm water run-off. So, how can we protect these beneficial green spaces in Middle East? Spread Awareness Dubai is expected to plant an estimated of 50 million flowers in … Continue reading

Destruction of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea is the lowest point on the planet and one of the most unique environments around the world. It lies on the borders of Jordan, the West Bank and Israel. Known for its high-density waters and mineral rich soils, the Dead Sea is visited by a large number of tourists from all over the world. Its soils contain minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and salt.These minerals are used in cosmetics, chemical products such as industrial salts and are even used in table salts for home use. State of the Affairs The once mineral-rich Dead Sea has shrunk to the … Continue reading

Environmental and Health Impacts of Asbestos

Asbestos is an infamous building and construction material that gained popularity in the 20th century due to its fire-resistant properties. Asbestos’ first commercial mine was opened in 1879 in Quebec province, Canada. It took several years of production and consumption of this material in several parts of the world before its health and environmental hazards were discovered. Australia was one of the heaviest global consumers of asbestos in the 1980s with most of the materials being imported into the country from Canada and South Africa. The use of the material didn’t stop until a national ban was announced on December … Continue reading

Understanding Qatar’s Ecological Footprint

Qatar’s environmental impact remains worryingly high. The country’s per capita ecological footprint is now the second highest in the world, as another Gulf state, Kuwait, has overtaken it to become the worst offender of the 152 countries that were measured, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report 2014. The third country in the list is the UAE, with Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, in 33rd position. By comparing the total footprint with the planet’s biocapacity – its capacity to generate an ongoing supply of renewable resources and to absorb waste -the report, based on 2010 … Continue reading