Bahrain 'facing resources crisis'
Manama, March 9, 2010
Consumption habits in Bahrain are killing the country's resources and destroying its biodiversity, experts have warned.
Bahrainis have always harvested natural resources such as pearls, palm trees and fish, they said.
However, consumption patterns have increased to such a degree that they were having negative consequences on biodiversity.
'The more fish you catch the more you impact biodiversity,' said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife senior environmental specialist Abdul Qader Khamis.
'Plastic bags are finding their way into the sea and this is having an impact on turtles.
'Some people are catching wild species such as bulbuls for breeding and this is also having an impact.
'People need to be more aware of the importance of biodiversity and how their actions can have a negative impact.
'We need to change ourselves from a consumption culture and it won't happen in one day, but we must try to change bit by bit.'
He was speaking at the opening of a National Environment Day seminar held by the Public commission at the Crowne Plaza yesterday.
It was held to acknowledge the contributions of private and public sectors towards environmental awareness, as well as give them a platform to discuss their environmental concerns regarding sustainable consumption.
It marked National Environment Day on February 4 and 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity.
Experts at the event urged all sectors of Bahrain to reduce their level of consumption for the benefit of biodiversity.
Public commission officials said that they were trying to lead the way by launching new initiatives to safeguard the environment.
It has employed private sector companies and civil societies to help them sort and isolate the waste produced by the commission's offices in Salmabad.
In addition, recycled paper will be used for the commission's official documents, letterheads and business cards.
'We hope all ministries and public authorities will follow suit,' said public commission public relations and environment media director Zakariya Khunji on behalf of director-general Dr Adel Al Zayani.
Khunji said consumption was increasing nationally and globally and it was costing the environment.
Household power consumption alone had risen globally by 20 per cent over the past two decades, he said.
Khunji said that desertification was costing the world's productivity $40 billion (BD15.1 billion) per year.
'Arab countries are suffering from desertification of a total area of 9.6 million square kilometres or 68pc of the whole area,' he said.
'An additional 20 per cent or 2.8 million sqkm are threatened by desertification.'
United Nations Environment Programme technology, industry and economics division regional officer Fareed Bushehri said that the road to sustainable development in any country was sustainable consumption.
'We have to invest in youth, civil societies and non-governmental organisations and change the behaviour of consumers to a sustainable lifestyle and then our demand on water resources and energy and so on will be less,' he said.
'Awareness is key to all sustainable development and we need all stakeholders involved.
'The biggest consumer in any country is the public sector and if attitudes of the public sector change the whole country can change and it also has the power to issue legislation on this.'
Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Ministry Under-Secretary Dr Nabeel Abu Al Fateh presented awards to 24 bodies from the private and public sectors as well as civil societies.
The event was held under the theme Sustainable Consumption ... A Lifestyle and covered topics related to health, energy, biodiversity, climate change, waste management, education, society and economics.-TradeArabia News Service