In October 2010, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) called out oil-producing Abu Dhabi for being one of the world’s highest emitters of carbon dioxide per capita. Now, less than three years later, the government’s environmental arm has turned the emirate into the eco-police.
And we like it.
Elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, environmental infractions have gone unnoticed for far too long. Do you know how many oil spills occurred in the Red Sea last year with nary a yawn from the outside world?
Neither do we, because it’s been so useless to try to convince successive Egyptian leaders that transparency is a good thing.
But the sultans and sheikhs of the Arabian peninsula have seen the writing in the sooty skies and rising seas. And they are starting to get serious.
The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) has cited 1,000 environmental violations in the first three months of 2013, Gulf News reports.
Nobody is going to be beheaded or hanged in public, which still happens in Saudi Arabia, but they will be held to account for their infractions with gentle, practical assistance from EAD inspectors.
The most common of these included issues with staff not being adequately trained for their positions, poor management of hazardous materials (yikes!), and underdeveloped emergency response protocols.
Also, more seriously in our view (well, my view), they have issued warnings and fines to companies that have stunted solid waste and waste water management systems.
In order to help established and new businesses and organizations get up to speed with their handling of natural resources and waste, the Abu Dhabi government has developed umpteen educational, marketing and regulatory systems.
“To enhance its inspections process, EAD has introduced an innovative system to record and monitor compliance at facilities and projects,” writes Gulf Today.
“It uses the Onsite Assessment, Compliance and Inspection System (OACIS) for the electronic collection, analysis and storage of data.”
Good! We hope it catches on.
:: Gulf Today
Image of a whole different kind of “green police,” Shutterstock