Wednesday 22 May 2024
 
»
 
»
Story

The Mangrove National Park

Abu Dhabi named Arab Environment Capital of 2023

ABU DHABI, March 26, 2024

The Secretariat General of the Arab League and the Council of Arab Environment Ministers have named Abu Dhabi the ‘Capital of the Arab Environment 2023’ in recognition of the emirate’s achievements in the field of environmental protection and climate action.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), said the award is a result of joint efforts by governmental and private bodies, sectors and institutions in Abu Dhabi in the field of protecting the environment and preserving its natural resources, he said.

Key achievements by Abu Dhabi in 2023

Climate Change

Abu Dhabi’s focus on climate change centred around reducing carbon emissions while adapting to its anticipated effects, and enhancing environmental awareness. The emirates’ climate action agenda includes various projects, such as: developing natural carbon sinks, planting millions of mangrove trees, converting transportation to low-emission alternatives, and diversifying energy sources.

Other climate change measures also implemented in Abu Dhabi include replacing traditional lighting with smart street lighting to reduce energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions, launching a mangrove planting initiative that disperses seeds using drone technology, and conducting an atmospheric research expedition to improve air quality and mitigation measures. The EAD also launched the “Green Industries” eco-labelling programme to reduce industrial sector emissions, and created an index of farms applying climate-smart practices.

Land Transport

Abu Dhabi is implementing a comprehensive plan for land transport, low-emission vehicles, and traffic management in the emirate. Developed in 2009 to meet the city’s environmental, social, and economic goals, the Integrated Land Transportation Plan was updated in 2017 and again in 2022.

The plan includes measures to reduce carbon emissions, such as creating public transportation infrastructure using renewable energy technologies, as well as innovative systems for operating buses using solar energy, and encouraging the use of alternative means of transportation, such as bicycles.

Management of Land Degradation

Abu Dhabi has made great efforts to combat land degradation caused by erosion and wind, creating forest areas to reduce sand encroachment and limit its impact on green spaces and air pollution. Strategic plans have also been developed to help urban cities mitigate and adapt to climate change, and Abu Dhabi's Plan Maritime was developed to protect coastal areas and preserve their resources and marine habitats in a sustainable manner.

A comprehensive soil survey project was also conducted to determine its various types, which revealed the suitability of one million hectares of land for irrigated agriculture. The first soil sample bank of its kind in the Arab world and North Africa was established to preserve soil samples and provide information about changes in soil quality.

Protecting Biodiversity

Abu Dhabi seeks to protect biodiversity and identify endangered species in the region, with a total of 3,453 species now registered in the emirate. The emirate is implementing a comprehensive programme to register new species and assess the protection status of each.

It launched the Red List of Threatened Species report and the Urban Biodiversity Index report, and reintroduced some endangered species back into the wild, such as the Arabian Oryx, the Scimitar-horned Oryx, the Dama Gazelle, and the Addax. In 2023, Abu Dhabi won a global award for its coastal and marine ecosystems rehabilitation programmes, and Bu Tinah Island was included on the UNESCO list of natural wonders, reflecting its efforts to preserve natural reserves.

Management of Natural Reserves

Abu Dhabi manages the largest number of natural reserves in the Arab region, which cover 30.88% of the emirate’s total area. It also seeks to obtain international recognition for its terrestrial and marine reserve management systems by adhering to best global standards.

The emirate manages 519 forests covering 200,000 hectares – 2.9% of the emirate’s total area. Abu Dhabi is currently making its documented environmental data available to the public through smart applications, educational tools, and social media.

The emirate is strengthening its environmental research programmes, and has discovered 20 new species. Abu Dhabi is also adding an aesthetic touch to cities and population centres to encourage more eco-tourism.

Maintaining Air Quality

The emissions of greenhouse gases, mercury, and industrial air pollutants were inventoried and their sources analysed, and projects for the clean use of fuel in the transportation sector, the power generation sector, water production, and the transition to clean and renewable energy have been implemented.

The emirate introduced projects to periodically inspect vehicles, improve the traffic system, adopt smart management measures, and develop demand for electricity and water. Abu Dhabi has also adopted development options that help maintain air quality and negate the impact of air pollution on public health and the environment.

Noise Management

A study was conducted to both map noise levels in Abu Dhabi and identify any related mitigation mechanisms. The initiative saw 22 devices installed across 20 locations to monitor air and noise pollution levels.

The readings derived from the field study were entered into a mathematical modelling system that included data on car movement, construction site locations, and population concentrations. From this, a contour map was produced showing the areas the most and least affected by high levels of noise, which was then used to develop improvement plans.

Waste Management

Abu Dhabi implemented several initiatives to overcome key waste management challenges, while optimising the sector and promoting a circular economy. The most important were the development of a strategic plan for waste sector management (2021-2025), developing and implementing regulatory and legislative frameworks, and developing an electronic system for waste classification.

Other key projects include building an integrated system for environmental inspection, compliance and enforcement, issuing a policy for producing energy from waste in 2021, and establishing three new waste incinerators designed to international best practice to treat medical and hazardous waste.

The emirate also prepared a policy to reduce single-use plastics as well as executive regulations, and developed and implemented an integrated awareness plan aimed at various segments of society.

Managing Groundwater Resources

Success in this field include issuing licences and organising the process for drilling groundwater wells, completing the emirate’s first inventory of groundwater wells in 2018, creating the first-of-its-kind groundwater atlas in Abu Dhabi, and providing drinking water in times of emergency.

A programme was developed in 2020 to evaluate deep underground reservoirs and determine their potential, their underground reserve, water quality, and the possibility of future exploitation. Other notable achievements include producing the first ever hydrogeological map of Abu Dhabi Emirate, issuing the general policy for groundwater management and protection, as well as a sustainability policy for marine water quality.

Sewage Water Treatment

Wastewater is disposed of and treated through several plants equipped with the latest technologies and advanced facilities, enabling its reuse for agricultural purposes and irrigation of green areas.

Abu Dhabi has also taken the following measures in order to provide sustainable sewage solutions: launched the Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP) in 2017, implemented a project to rehabilitate and replace sewer lines in Abu Dhabi in 2017, built 41 plants to collect and treat more than 320 million cubic metres of wastewater annually, and created a monitoring programme for the sewage network, measured against key performance indicators.

Innovation

The National Innovation Strategy is the general framework under which innovation efforts are led and coordinated to make the UAE one of the most innovative countries in the world, in line with the UAE Centennial 2071 strategy. Abu Dhabi’s search for sustainable solutions to environmental and wildlife challenges is grounded in accurate, sound scientific data, studies, research and programmes, helping to develop, issue, and enforce environmental policies and legislation.

Sustainability

The government has prepared policy frameworks to ensure that sustainability considerations are placed at the forefront of all development plans, as rapid development continues to put significant pressure on the emirate’s natural resources and infrastructure. To achieve this, the Abu Dhabi Strategy for Demand Side Management and Energy Rationalization 2030 was developed, setting specific goals to reduce electricity consumption by 22% and water consumption by 32% by 2030. This will contribute to reducing annual carbon dioxide emissions by 9 million tonnes by 2030.

Environmental Awareness

Environmental awareness and education programmes have proven successful both home and abroad. Abu Dhabi won regional and global awards for its environmental awareness programs from global organisations such as the United Nations.

As a result of programmes that targeted students, youth, employees, and general community members, the commitment to environmental behaviour in the emirate increased from 55% in 2012 to 78% in 2021. – TradeArabia News Service

 




Tags:

More Health & Environment Stories

calendarCalendar of Events

Ads