The municipality has lined up several programmes and activities to mark the occasion, which manifest the civic body's commitment to the green cause. In a message on the occasion, Qassim Sultan, Director-General of Dubai Municipality, underscored the municipality's commitment to the issue of environment conservation and environment resources management "following the footsteps of the country's leader and the great environment personality of our times, The President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who made a green revolution possible in the UAE by turning an arid desert into a beautiful garden".
"Dubai Municipality has undertaken pioneer environment projects to serve the emirate under the guidance and patronage of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, UAE Minister of Finance and Industry and Chairman of Dubai Municipality," Mr Sultan said.
He said that the municipality programmes on the occasion aim at enhancing awareness among the society about the importance of having clean air, shedding light on some of the aspects of air pollution and methods of reducing the effects of these pollutants.
The environmental and health activities to be organised by the municipality on the occasion at the Creek Park beginning today, up to Friday, include horticultural workshops, which will educate the public on the role played by trees in cleaning the air and reducing pollution, various competitions and quizzes about air in co-operation with the Food and Hygiene Education Section in the Department of Health and Medical Services, distribution of educational booklets and brochures, health and environmental tips on air pollution and its impact on human health, recreational sessions and stage shows for public.
The Environmental Protection and Safety Section (EPSS) of the municipality will launch a new online service for information on air quality and will also honour some of the officers of the civic body and several others on the occasion.
The activities for school children will include lectures on the importance of clean air and reducing air pollution, and the role of green areas in cleaning the air, horticultural workshops in co-operation with the Horticulture Section of the municipality and workshops on recycling.
In addition to this, some schools will organise environmental trips to the exhibition of animals that face extinction, at the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah, and lectures and workshops for mothers will be organised in co-operation with the Al Nahda Women's Association on February 16.
An exhibition will be organised at BurJuman Centre in co-ordination with EPAA, Sharjah and the Emirates Wildlife Society, in addition to horticultural workshops, contests, and various recreation sessions for public.
Dubai Municipality will participate in the Community Health Parade to be organised by the Department of Health and Medical Services holding the National Environment Day slogan on February 12.
An environmental play will be staged at the Children's City, 50 posters carrying the slogan of the National Environment Day will be pasted on 50 cars of the Dubai Transport Company and booklets and brochures will be distributed on the environmental campaign and a campaign on cleanliness will be held at one of the beaches in Dubai.
Mr Sultan added that the municipality had introduced the first Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) in one of the petrol pumps with the co-operation of Emarat and more of these machines would be installed in other pumps. These machines resemble soft drinks vending machines but they accept waste cans and bottles of plastic, aluminium and glass. The objective of installing such machines is to encourage the customers to get rid of the waste cans by leaving them for recycling.
The Environment and Health Education Office at the municipality will organise a programme for the employees of the civic body on the occasion by providing information on air and through SMS. In addition to this, all correspondence from the office of the Assistant Director-General for Environment and Public Health Affairs will carry the slogan of the occasion.
Mr Sultan added that the emirate had achieved a top position in the field of environment protection and had won international and regional recognition for the same. He cited the example of the King Abdullah II Prize, won by Dubai Municipality for innovation in the field of environment pollution control.
Mr Sultan noted that the municipality had drawn up several significant environment strategies and legislation and formulated action plans and programmes in this field so as to enforce a strict monitoring of the emirate's environment, reduce pollution levels and enhance public awareness and responsibility towards environment.
The municipality also deals with the issues of vehicle emissions and waste; controls pollution caused by industrial establishments; monitors work places to ensure vocational safety; protects the marine environment; and ensures public safety and health.
During last year, a study was conducted on the environmental impact and a number of industrial and developmental projects were launched in the Emirate safeguarding the environmental protection criteria.
In 2003, the municipality conducted some 4,440 inspections in various industrial establishments as part of a programme to monitor the compliance of industrial establishments with the prevalent environment rules and regulations.
Dubai Municipality also conducted last year a highly comprehensive study on air quality in Jebel Ali in view of the growing significance of the area with the introduction of several ambitious residential and commercial projects there. An international consultant was appointed to undertake the study that would seek to develop a system for monitoring emissions and work out a specimen of the air quality which will help authorities take decisions on the future growth of the area.
A mobile air quality testing station was used for monitoring the air during the study in specific areas.
The level of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons in the air, air particles hazardous for inhalation, and other dangerous air particles were monitored.
The study also monitored the atmospheric changes in some areas for 12 months. In addition to this, reports of major industrial establishments regarding gas emissions were also collected.
The municipality also collected some 561 tonnes of floating waste from the creek and seashores last year during the routine patrolling being carried out using boats of the Marine Environment Safety Unit to prevent any negative practices that harm the marine environment or violation of the maritime environment rules in Dubai. Also, during last year, these patrols have imposed fines on 471 violators.
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