Gulf states ‘need increased environmental awareness’

DUBAI — Environmental awareness needs to be increased in Gulf states, which the WWF says have among the highest per capita ecological footprints in the world, an Emirates Wildlife Society official said Thursday.

By (AFP)

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Published: Thu 14 Oct 2010, 9:51 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:45 AM

“We believe that there’s a lot more awareness that needs to happen,” said the society’s policy director Tanzeed Alam, when asked what needs to be done to decrease Gulf states’ generally high ecological footprints.

Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) is the WWF international conservation organisation’s local partner in the United Arab Emirates.

The WWF’s biennial Living Planet Report, which was released on Wednesday, placed the UAE first in the world in its per capita ecological footprint rankings for the third time in a row.

Qatar was second, Kuwait ninth, Saudi Arabia 24th and Oman 30th.

Part of EWS’s efforts in the UAE are aimed at trying “to encourage people to change their behaviour from a culture of wasteful consumption to a culture of conservation of resources,” Alam said.

The WWF report said that “if everyone in the world lived like an average resident of the United States or the United Arab Emirates, then a biocapacity equivalent to more than 4.5 Earths would be required to keep up with humanity’s consumption and CO2 emissions.”

The United States ranked fifth in its per capita footprint.

“One of the key things that we think governments can do,” Alam said, “is to develop science-based tools to help develop more sustainable policies.”

EWS was involved in a research partnership that developed a tool “which can assess what the impact of different policies to tackle energy and water consumption might have on the UAE’s footprint,” Alam said.

“It’s a way of mapping alternative strategies for it to reduce its footprint,” he said.

The WWF calculated ecological footprint by “adding together the areas required to provide renewable resources people use, the areas occupied by infrastructure, and the areas required for absorbing waste,” the report said.

The report used data from 2007, which WWF said in a statement is the most recent available.

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