United Arab Emirates – Post #4

Environmental Obligations

In today’s world, countries are realizing that we have an increasingly greater responsibility to protect and preserve the Earth’s environment. Multiple non-state actors such as Water.org, Green Power, and Friends of the Earth, continue to work within their countries and abroad to promote access to clean, renewable water and energy sources.

As citizens of this planet, it is my opinion that each nation’s government has a strong moral obligation to work against climate change and protect the environment, and not doing so is saying to that nation’s people that future generations don’t deserve to live in a world where they can power their homes, drink clean water, or breathe clean air. Additionally, polluting a common resource such as Earth’s atmosphere damages citizen’s lives in other countries which could be interpreted as a sign of aggression.

Environmental Efforts in UAE

Within the United Arab Emirates, there is only one major professional group working to combat environmental damage  – the Emirates Environmental Group. With the UAE being one of the world’s largest suppliers of oil, this region should be especially worried about the environment and the limitations of fossil fuel. Though the UAE is

United_Arab_Emirates_Export_Treemap
Graphical depiction of UAE’s economy

ramping up its position as a tourist and retail hotspot, taking away the revenue from fossil fuels would shrink the UAE economy by 53%. For this reason, efforts to curb dependency on fossil fuels are slow by private organizations. Luckily, the UAE has worked to position itself as a major trade hub in the Middle East by establishing the Khalifa Port, and winning the bid to host the World Trade EXPO in 2020.

 

 

Emirates Environmental Group

Luckily, the Emirates Environmental Group has made some efforts to help the UAE environment regardless. Since the 2000’s, Nokia has teamed up with the EEG to recycle mobile phone materials such as plastic, copper, and aluminum to be used in new phone production in manufacturing plants across the world.

logo
Emirates Environmental Group’s logo

Additionally, they work to safely dispose battery cells as they can make soil infertile and pollute air and water. According to their website (EEG-uae.org), from 2006-2011, the EEG has 5388kg of batteries. Since the 1990’s, the Emirates Environmental Group collected 10 million kgs of paper. The primary priority of EEG though is can collection. From January to September 2011, EEG has collected 161,908 kg of aluminium cans, which is mostly from Dubai, followed by other emirates of the United Arab Emirates.

 

It hasn’t been easy though. The lack of natural freshwater, compensated for by water desalination (and the treatment of sewage water for use in irrigation) has posed a real problem for the country. (Chronicle.fanack.com/united-arab-emirates/geography/) Secondly, desertification, which the country has been trying to counter through major afforestation and greening projects, possibly to beautify the image of major tourist stops as well. Lastly, marine and coastal pollution from oil spills, sewage, and other human activity has caused the gulf surrounding Dubai and Abu Dhabi to lose some of its marine life and natural makeup.

Conclusion

With an increasing population and continued increase of construction projects across the region, the negative environmental footprint of the UAE possesses is position to grow. And with a heavy economic dependency on fossil fuels, the push for global adoption of renewable resources isn’t posed to be championed by the Emirates any time soon. With a careful hand and steady planing, I believe the UAE can beautify it’s states without destroying its ecosystem. Investing tourist money into renewable energies could transform the UAE’s economy into a powerhouse of energy and they could start supplying the region with energy as the region continue to grow and stabilize.

 

-Drew Mack

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