Abdullah calls for global fight against air pollution

DUBAI - A higher level of co-operation between government bodies, decision-makers, non governmental organisations, and members of the public is key to combating atmospheric pollution on a global scale, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Information and Culture, said yesterday.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 22 Feb 2004, 12:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 2:10 AM

Shaikh Abdullah made the statement while talking to the media persons after he inaugurated the Dubai International Conference on Atmospheric Pollution, at the Dubai International Convention Centre yesterday. Being held under the patronage of General Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and UAE Minister of Defence, the conference is the first segment of the Zayed International Prize for the Environment and will conclude on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media after the inaugural ceremony, Shaikh Abdullah noted that the problem of atmospheric pollution needs to be tackled at a very high level and added that since that problem is man-made, a high-level co-operation is required. He also stressed the role of the media in creating awareness on the issue, but added that equally important is the role that educational institutions should play.

Describing atmospheric pollution as a universal issue that is giving rise to fears among scientists and politicians, Shaikh Abdullah said that it has become the most crucial issue that will have a direct impact on the future of life on the planet.

“Therefore, from this place, we call upon all countries of the world to join hands to find proper and suitable solutions at the regional and international levels; and to dovetail efforts to control air pollution; and to effectively contribute to the regional and international efforts to identify air pollutants and trim down their negative effects; all in an endeavour to support economic and political stability at the regional and international levels; and to enable all people to live in a clean and healthy environment,” he said addressing the conference.

He added that a clean and healthy environment would not materialise without serious steps taken in scientific research to develop clean production devices and to adopt the best practices and techniques that are internationally acceptable in order to safely dispose of all kinds of waste and to apply the latest innovative technologies in monitoring and controlling air pollution.

Shaikh Abdullah lauded the President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, whose concern for environment reflects in the various environmental conservation projects around the country. He also expressed gratitude to Shaikh Mohammed, the founder and patron of Zayed International Prize for the Environment, “for his genuine efforts and infinite support to make the prize a success and to bring the contributions of the UAE (in this regard) in plain sight”.

“This conference is organised at a time when we all want to express our genuine intention to find proper scientific solutions to the issue in such a manner as to put an end to the deterioration of our atmosphere and to prevent subsequent environmental disasters that would hit our planet,” he said calling for steps to explore the possibility of signing fair and just regional and international agreements to monitor and control the sources of trans-boundary air pollution both natural and industrial.

Mohammed bin Fahad, Chairman of Higher Committee of Zayed International Prize for Environment, noted that atmospheric pollution is an issue that tops the agenda of the United Nations and all the developmental and environmental organisations worldwide.

“The Zayed International Prize for Environment earnestly endeavours to direct the attentions of all researchers, politicians and intellectuals in general towards the most important environmental issues, particularly those having a direct effect on our region,” Mr Bin Fahad said.

The topic of the conference this year, Mr Bin Fahad noted, is directly connected to those of the two previous conferences, in that they are related through rainfalls, winds and storms, hurricanes and typhoons and other harsh weather conditions, which cannot be ignored in any development strategy. He added that the conference coincides with the National Environment Day under the slogan of “Clean Air for better life on earth”. Bert Bolin, a former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Professor Emeritus, Stockholm University in Sweden, spoke on the occasion on the topic of “Integrating science and politics in atmospheric pollution”.

“The realisation that increasing amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere might influence the climate on earth is more than hundred years old, but it was not brought to the attention of politicians until the early 1980s, and the public at large has learned about these changes during the last decade,” Mr Bolin said.

He added that the scientists have only recently been able to show conclusively that the emerging climate change is primarily caused by (man-made) emissions of greenhouse gases. “The enhancement of atmospheric greenhouse gases so far is equivalent to an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 55 per cent, while the carbon dioxide itself has increased by almost 35 per cent. In an ultimate equilibrium situation, this would imply an increase of the global mean surface temperature between 0.8 and 2.5 degrees Celsius,” he revealed presenting a brief summary of IPCC's key issues and its conclusions.

The organisations and agencies that took part in organising this grand event include the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), World Meteorological Organisation, the UAE University, Federal Environment Agency, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Oil and Minerals, and the Ministry of Communications.

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