UAEs overuse of resources a matter of grave concern


Minister urges people to opt for sustainable patterns of consumption.

By (Staff Reporter)

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Published: Fri 5 Jun 2015, 2:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 10 Jan 2023, 3:16 PM

Dubai — The ecological footprint per capita in the UAE has reduced from 11.8 global hectares in 2006 to 7.75 global hectares in 2014, and the green house gas emissions per capita have also dropped from 39.5 tonnes in 1994 to 20.6 tonnes in 2012 as a result of the initiatives implemented by the government over the years, according to Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water.

The positive trend is expected to continue over the next few years with the completion of many essential projects in the field of renewable energy, nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and waste management, he said on the occasion of World Environment Day today.

Bin Fahad said that unsustainable consumption patterns are mainly responsible for the many environmental problems faced by society, such as pollution, depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and climate change. He also stated that in the light of this information, it has become more urgent to reconsider ongoing patterns of production and consumption.

He explained that the event theme, ‘Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Let’s Consume with Care’ addresses the growing concern posed by the irresponsible consumption of resources and the need to move towards sustainable patterns of consumption. This is especially vital as the latest studies predict that the world’s population will reach nine billion by 2050, which means that current consumption patterns will require three Earths to meet demands.

Combatting the negative environmental impact

Authorities concerned within the UAE have joined forces to combat these negative effects through the development of programmes and initiatives that focus on two main areas. The first component aims to mitigate the negative environmental impact associated with traditional patterns of consumption. This objective will be realised through the enhancement of existing legislation meant to regulate economic development and human activities that could potentially harm the environment. Improvements include adopting green policies, promoting the use of renewable and alternative energy, exploring carbon capture and storage techniques, advocating cleaner production, pursuing green architecture, and implementing sustainable transport. This goal can also be achieved by fostering essential national values for enhancing the water and energy efficiency of household appliances, reviewing modern agricultural and irrigation patterns, and establishing ecologically conscious economic habits.

Bin Fahad specifically referred to the UAE Strategy for Green Development, under which the green economy approach was adopted in the context of sustainable development.

He said the strategy is crucial in gaining a deeper understanding of the value of imported and exported goods and services harnessed from the ecosystem, and thus provides a better assessment of natural capital’s actual value in the process of decision making and in the context of financial accounting systems. This is an important element in the effort to create sustainable consumption patterns through integration with the economic mechanism.

The second path focuses on raising awareness on sustainable consumption patterns among various segments of the society.

A range of national awareness drives

In addition to the approved awareness programmes by participating organisations, the UAE has launched a set of important programmes over the past few years such as the Ecological Footprint, Green Applications, Heroes of the UAE, Sustainable Universities and Schools, and My Environment is My National Responsibility Initiatives. Aside from these, there have also been several national campaigns conducted such as a ‘Day Without Paper’ and ‘Car Free Day,’ as the implementation of a wide range of national awareness drives disseminated throughout the year. Bin Fahad praised the vital role of competent environmental authorities, stakeholders and civil society organisations in raising awareness on environmental issues in the UAE.

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