A Gulf News article (‘Limit Use of Plastic Bags, FNC Urges Cabinet’, 8 April 2008) reported that, “the FNC demanded that the [UAE Federal] government adopt more restrictive rules to strengthen environmental protection and contribute to sustainable development.”
In the report it was pleasing to see that leaders from Fujairah and the UAE’s East Coast were leading the government to vote in accordance with what is best for the environment.
The reported recommendations, endorsed by representatives from the East Coast, include the following:
Ahmad Al Danhani, a member from Fujairah, said that the government action plan should address all types of pollutants and not only dust and noise pollution from quarries and crushers.
Rashid Al Shuraiqi, a member from Ras Al Khaimah (Sharjah), said that environmental assessment reports should be produced by all projects every five years and not just upon launching them.
Sultan Al Muaden, a member from Fujairah, said the government should ban the import of scrap metals, especially spare parts of cars.
Recommendations for Environment
The main recommendations that the UAE government is debating include the following:
* Limiting or banning the use of plastic bags.
* Reducing the life span of cars across the UAE
* Closing quarries and crushers adjacent to housing communities
* Treating by-products of desalination such as mineral salts and brine safely and efficiently.
* Ordering that all trucks be fitted with exhaust filters.
* Controlling the discharge of wastes from vessels and ordering these vessels to declare their shipments, especially those from nuclear powered ships.
* Approving and enforcing the National Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment at the earliest time.
* Addressing all types of pollutants, not only dust and noise pollution from quarries and crushers.
* Requiring environmental assessment reports by all projects every five years not just upon their launch.
* Demanding that the government stops burning wastes and adopts strict measures for the safe disposal of medical wastes.
* Issuing a federal law to regulate the use of underground water and water resources. (The use of underground water is currently under the jurisdiction of local authorities).
* Banning the import of scrap metals, especially spare parts of cars.
* Demanding that special roads be built for trucks and a railway system for passenger and cargo to ease road congestion in the country.
* Demanding that the government act diligently to enforce the federal law banning smoking in closed public areas.
Fujairah and East Coast Environment
Without oil (at this point), the eastern regions are staking their future growth on showcasing the UAE beauty (beaches and mountains) and developing the associated sectors such as tourism, fishing, diving and hotel accommodation.
It is hoped that the Fujairah and East Coast leaders will have a significant influence and enable the UAE government to decide policy that protects and enhancements the UAE environment and its people.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: The road from the Dubai International airport towards Fujairah. This blanket of smog is in the emirate of Sharjah. “Addressing all types of pollutants, not only dust and noise pollution from quarries and crushers...”