Experts highlight challenges of urbanisation at UOWD EnviroTalk

A panel of leading experts in environmental sustainability discussed the growing challenges of urbanisation and population growth at the first annual EnviroTalk, hosted by the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) as part of its mission to provide a platform for discussion on critical topics relevant to both students and the wider community.

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Published: Sat 29 Mar 2014, 10:17 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 10:31 PM

The panel consisted of Dr Jacky Judas, research manager, Wadi Wurayah National Park; Khalid Al Kindi, head of CSR, Emirates NBD; Meera Taryam, director of Environmental Services and Education, Bee’ah, Sharjah; and Dr Mohammad Ali Reza Khan, specialist — Wildlife and Zoo Management, Dubai Municipality.

Among the issues debated was the challenge of waste management in the context of the country’s grow
ing population. With the average resident producing 2.5kg of waste each day, the UAE compares unfavourably to many countries. However, as Ms Taryam revealed, around 60 per cent of this waste is recyclable, and initiatives are being developed to achieve this. Ms Taryam said: “Our goal in Sharjah is to achieve zero waste to landfill.”

Dr Judas explained how the protection of Wadi Wurayah National Park has led to the preservation of natural ecosystems that have revealed 737 species, of which 63 are entirely new to science. Dr Reza Khan discussed the captive breeding programmes that have preserved native species, such as the Arabia Oryx, and stressed the importance of zoos as a gene bank for the continuity of the animal world.

Al Kindi said: “A significant proportion of the world’s largest economic entities are now corporations, not countries. This means that it is the companies that are the drivers of change in this field.” Mr Al Kindi listed some of the initiatives implemented by Emirates NDB as part of its CSR strategy.

Ms Zeenath Reza Khan, an instructor at UOWD’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences and organiser-cum-moderator of this year’s event, said: “We believe in student-centred learning environments.”

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