Dubai, which is one of the seven emirates of United Arab Emirates, is no stranger to green controversy. From justifying mega malls by certifying them green to a growing market in shark fins despite a 2008 ban, the city certainly does have a few things to answer for. However, some point to a growing trend towards sustainability despite the fact that the region has such high oil reserves. We recently reported on the UAE’s plans to ban plastic bags by 2013, a green gas station in Dubai as well as efforts to encourage the use of public transport by going car-free for the day but it seems that all these initiatives have had a limited impact on the overall green credentials of the city.
According to reports from Emirates 24/7, Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad who is the Minister of Environment and Water revealed that waste produced by the Gulf city of Dubai is amongst the highest globally.
Although he didn’t disclose any statistics, the minister explained that the high waste produced was due to the rapid economic growth the city had experienced. Emirates 24/7 reported that 80 percent of the carbon footprint of the city comes from the generation of water and energy- and 70 percent of the energy generated goes straight into air conditioning devices.
Back in 2009, we reported that waste had become a real issue in Dubai as rapid urbanisation meant that the waste infrastructure had not yet been able to deal with the growing amount of waste produced. The total waste collected in Dubai in 2005 was 11.3 million tonnes compared to 6.6 million tonnes in 2003- clearly waste was spiralling out of control.
Minister Fahad, speaking at the launch of a recycling project in the UAE, revealed that the Northern Emirates of the UAE produces around 30 million tonnes of waste annually. He also explained that the UAE is attempting to reduce its high carbon footprint through the adoption of green building codes, cleaner production and energy conservation.
Environmental security was highlighted as a special priority: “The state has adopted many laws and legislations relating to the work of the quarries and cement production units. We are preparing legislation and standards for the production of dyes and the resulting waste, either gaseous or liquid…” said Minister Fahad to Emirates 24/7. Moves to improve waste management at state level were also under way from early 2010 as ministers took the decision to develop and integrate waste services in Northern Emirates.
At the start of the month, the Dubai municipality launched a campaign to create awareness amongst visitors to desert areas of the need to keep areas clean and protect nature. Amongst their concerns was the threat plastic bags pose to camels who can die from swallowing and chocking on them.
: Image via fumigene via flickr.
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