This study aims at researching various factors hindering Dubai’s city from going green. The country is globally recognized for arid land with extremely high temperatures coupled with consequent evaporative losses. This can be attributed to the citizens exploiting natural environmental resources in the country. This research will therefore focus on current environmental situations in Dubai. It will also discuss various economic, social and political aspects affecting environmental conservations and guidelines implemented to assist the country to achieve the going green vision. The research will derive information from journal articles authored pertaining to environmental factors in Dubai. They will assist in listing various issues hindering the vision. Consequently, they will list possible solutions and recommendations to achieve the country’s vision of going green.
Dubai was formed from a group of tribally organized Arabian Peninsula Sheikhdoms. Most of the United Arab Emirates states originate from two major tribal groupings known as Bani Yas and Qawasim. Dubai originated from Bani Yas. This tribal group was acknowledged for practicing and engaging in pastoral and agricultural activities. Thus, the country continues to practice agricultural activities. In 1958, petroleum was discovered in Abu Dhabi coastal waters. However, petroleum assets in Dubai were discovered later on in 1966. These assets have played a great role in developing Dubai’s economic, social, political, and environmental aspects (LoC 1).
Dubai is endowed with the following environmental features. The largest natural harbor is located in Dubai. Oil and natural gas are the main primary natural resources in Dubai as well as the United Arab Emirates states. Thus, Dubai values petroleum industries due to their great economic contributions to the country’s economy. Although most of the land in Dubai is not considered arable, the country is able to utilize a large percentage in planting crops and practicing agricultural activities (LoC 5).
However, Dubai faces environmental challenges. For example, the country is prone to frequent sand and dust storms with abilities to reduce visibility. More so, coral reefs and shifting sandbars are a major challenge to navigation. The country is also prone to strong tides and windstorms. They either interfere or hinder the movement of ships along the Dubai shores. The city lacks freshwater resources. This is mainly attributed to beach and water pollution from oil spills and industrial chemicals. The environmental challenges and high rates of pollution have rendered the country an agricultural region specializing in desalinized plants in degraded and arid lands (LoC 10).
The environment is part of the basic pillars of achieving and sustaining global growth and development. Dubai records the fastest rates of growth in relation to population increment. The population growth rate in Dubai is estimated to exceed eight percent annually. Thus, the country ought to maintain high-quality environmental factors and resources to provide and sustain the highly growing population. The Dubai Municipality pays special attention to various environmental projects and initiatives tasked with monitoring quality and standards in relation to air, water, noise, and environmental pollution (Ahmed 5).
Since 1988, Dubai strives to provide high-quality air and water resources for citizens visiting and residing in the country. Currently, Dubai municipality utilizes industrial and residential policies to evaluate land use and pollution in relation to environmental conservation. Dubai is globally recognized for protecting marine and natural ecosystems as well as water and air resources. Quality studies and standards are conducted to monitor marine soil, water qualities, transportation activities, creeks, public awareness on pollution, and environmental conservation. The Vice President and Prime Minister of United Arabs Emirates His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has formulated policies aligned to Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. The Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 aims at applying green specifications and regulations on buildings and environments across the country (LoC 10).
Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 was formulated as a friendly environmental standard among local united Arabs Emirates states. These states were striving to go green in order to maintain clean and healthy cities sustainable for growth and development. Dubai city aims at establishing green and healthy city or urban standards sustainable to growth and development. For Dubai to achieve the vision of going green, the environmental standards in Dubai should be free from air and water pollution through noise, industrial chemicals, and oil spills (DG 38). This study will therefore focus on Dubai striving to make the city green, environmentally friendly, and conservative under Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 and Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications.
Dubai’s economic strengths are derived from the following financially viable services. They include tourism, real estate, construction, financial services, telecommunications, and media. However, the main sources of wealth in Dubai are tourism and the petroleum industry producing natural gas and oil. The government utilizes financial assets in form of revenues and taxes from the petroleum industry to reform infrastructures and expand tourism activities. In order for tourism to continue thriving in the country, Dubai city ought to maintain and sustain high-quality environments. The environment should reduce and eliminate air and water pollution mainly from oil spills, industrial chemicals, and noise. This has however been challenging due to adverse climatic conditions in the country coupled with high rates of pollution due to the increasing populations residing and visiting Dubai city (Hassan 96).
The adverse climatic factors have degraded soil nutrients. The country comprises extremely arid land with poor nutrients in soil resources coupled with high temperatures. As a result, it is challenging to undertake agricultural activities under Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. This is because; Dubai’s agricultural activities achieve and contribute relatively low revenues towards gross domestic products. Thus, little resources and assets are implemented towards achieving Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. The number of persons employed to engage in agricultural activities has also relatively reduced. This has further increased the rates of unemployment in the country. Dubai has relied on fishing as a source of revenue for the country’s economy for a long period of time. Currently, water pollution from oil spillage and chemicals from industrial activities has reduced fishing activities. Fishing activities are mainly undertaken for domestic purposes only rather than economic due to the poor qualities of fish (Hassan 97).
Pearl diving was a major tourism activity attracting local and international citizens. However, water pollution has degraded the pearl industry. This has further reduced sources of economic strengths for the country capable of facilitating the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. Dubai derives more revenues from the tourism industry than the oil and natural gas industry. The country is globally recognized for hosting the tallest hotel in the world. It attracts persons from various countries including South Africa, Europe, Australia, Pakistan, the United States, and the United Kingdom among others. Tourists are attracted by the beaches, luxurious accommodations, nightlife, and shopping. In order for these tourist attractions to persist and increase the country’s economic, social, and political benefits under Dubai Strategic Plan 2015, the city should go green (AWM 2).
The Government of Dubai, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, and Dubai Municipality formulated the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications. The regulations within the Emirate of Dubai were implemented to achieve the following purposes. Firstly, the regulations were implemented to improve performance rates among buildings and infrastructures located in Dubai. The regulations were applied to improve performance through the reduction of consumption rates in relation to energy, water, and materials. These reductions were expected to improve and enhance public health, safety measures, and general welfare. Thus, the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications involved planning, designing, constructing, and operating buildings and infrastructures. Consequently, they were expected to enable the country to create an impressive and excellent green city. Ultimately, the green Dubai city was expected to offer comfortable and high standards of living successfully (DG 43).
Dubai’s Strategic Plan 2015 involves creating more sustainable urban environments. The plan also aims at meeting and fulfilling needs and wants to align to future development plans. Thus, Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications are supportive of Dubai’s Strategic Plan 2015. This is because; they involve the creation of structures, buildings, and infrastructures under highly effective and efficient processes aligned to the city going green. The processes should conserve and preserve water, materials, and energy resources. More so, the processes aligned to Dubai city going green should reduce adverse impacts and effects on human health mainly through environmental pollution. Thus, the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications and Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 can promote better sighting, designs, constructions, operations, maintenance, and removal of harmful pollutants (DG 47).
The Dubai Municipality Legislations asserted Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications are applicable to various aspects in the country. For example, they are applicable in the construction of investment and private villas as well as Arabic houses. Apartments, hotels, offices, laboratories, resorts, banks, labor and student accommodations, health care facilities, heritage buildings, museums, petrol stations, shopping malls, retail outlets, and post offices are also required to follow guidelines facilitating Dubai city going green. They should present a green building declaration to Dubai Municipality before acquiring a permit to undertake their intended functions and operations. The green building declaration document serves as an unconditional commitment in meeting Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications. Thus, it also facilitates the city to achieve its vision of going green Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 (DG 46).
The green building declaration document contains the following terms aligned to achieve the city’s goal of going green. Acoustical control refers to measures applied in ensuring noise, transmissions, and receivers are at acceptable levels in the environment spaces. Air contaminants refer to unwanted and unsafe airborne components. This term is applied in order reduced air contaminations and pollution. It strives to regulate air contaminations to either acceptable levels or adequate levels facilitating high air qualities and standards. Airborne sound insulations are fitted to reduce and prevent various types of noise pollution from the air. They include noise pollution from loud music, voices, traffic, and strong wind. The guidelines also limit the use of asbestos among buildings. Asbestos is an impure silicate mineral used to insulate and protect buildings from fire incidents. The Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 bans usage of asbestos during construction due to adverse healthcare impacts. Asbestos causes long-term health care issues among people including chest pains and abdominal cancers as well as lung illnesses (DG 48).
A green Dubai city strives to consist of buildings with a balancing air system. Buildings should invest in these systems to ensure the correct volumes of clean unpolluted air are supplied. Buildings should also utilize dual plumbing through which one pipe provides clean drinking water and the second supplies greywater for recycling. Grey-water includes water retrieved from bathtubs, showers, dishwashers, as well as after washing clothes. Rather than wasting the greywater, Dubai Municipality aims at gathering, recycling, and providing it back to the citizens as clean drinking water (DG 47).
Engineer Ahmed Saeed is the head of the building department in Dubai Municipality. He asserts that it is essential for global nations to sustain environments through development plans, government policies, and national projects. Maintenance of the earth’s environment involves people and nations addressing challenges from adverse climatic changes. This prompts people to formulate applicable remedies and solutions. The solutions and remedies further award next generations the opportunity to thrive and enjoy clean and safe environmental conditions (Ahmed 5).
Dubai’s vision of going green involves changing several environmental, economic, social and political aspects. These changes can interfere with the country’s reputation of being a global hub for business, tourism, and finance. Thus, the country should continue collaborating with local authorities such as Dubai Municipality to implement the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015 and Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications. Different and diverse initiatives, programs, and projects in relation to environmental sustainability should address the following aspects, measures, and health care issues (Daniele 2).
First, urban areas should be planned to reduce air, water, and noise pollution. Solid wastes and sewerage management should therefore ensure Dubai citizens are provided with clean water for both drinking and domestic purposes. More so, thermal insulations should regulate temperatures among buildings, homes, and offices within Dubai. Energy conservation measures among buildings and infrastructures in Dubai will promote and sustain the country’s vision of going green (Ahmed 7).
Urban planning should ensure extensive pieces of land are expanded and modified to facilitate the free flow of clean water and air under regulated temperatures. This will further promote vegetation and reduce water, noise, and air pollution. Dubai Municipality should continue to conduct aerial thermal photography in order to identify islands, their causes, and formulate solutions. The solutions should involve reducing and mitigating islands to increase and expand green areas in the country. Consequently, Dubai citizens and visiting tourists will achieve and enjoy comfortable and sustainable living conditions. Thus, urban planning should promote and preserve biodiversity, natural resources, and the environment. To preserve the environment, Dubai should formulate coastal zone management and conservative programs tasked in preserving soil and water resources. More so, they can conserve wildlife parks and biodiversity by conducting industrial control and monitoring measures to reduce pollution and wastes (Ahmed 10).
Environment Friends Society (EFS), Emirates Environmental Group (EEG); Emirates Natural History Group (ENHG); Dubai Natural History Group (DNHG), and Al Ain Natural History Group (Al Ain NHG) can play key roles in lobbying to achieve the Dubai Stategic Plan 2015 and Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications. They raise awareness by educating people on the advantages of going green. They also conduct surveys and research on various roles the public can undertake to achieve the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. In order for Dubai City to continue being a rich and rapidly developing tourist attraction, it should achieve the vision of going green under the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015. This will ensure all social-economic, environmental, and political activities are supportive and sustainable towards a safe, clean, and healthy for humans and ecosystems to thrive (Hassan 10).
Going green is a global vision among nations. It involves preserving and conserving the environment. This further involves reducing air, water, and environmental pollution from noise, oil spills, and industrial chemicals. Pollution is mainly due to poor urban planning. This is coupled with a lack of regulations and guidelines controlling and monitoring operations and functions in the country. Thus, Dubai’s vision of going green should involve raising awareness on the various programs, projects, measures, and approaches the public can undertake to achieve it. Conducting campaigns to raise awareness of the advantages of going green can encourage people to manage waste and reduce pollution. More so, the campaigns can encourage and support citizens to learn and implement the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications extensively to achieve the Dubai Strategic Plan 2015.
Ahmed, Saeed. Sustainability Roadmap of Dubai Municipality in Shifting to a Sustainable City, Building Department Dubai Municipality, 2013. Print.
Atlantis Water Management (AWM). Dubai goes for Green and Environmental Roads, Atlantis Water Management Corporation Report, 2004. Print.
Daniele, Schiliro. Diversification and development of the United Arab Emirates (UAE’s) economy, University of Messina, Department SEAM, 2013. Print.
Dubai Government (DG). Green Building Regulations and Specifications, Government of Dubai, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and Dubai Municipality Report, 2010. Print.
Hassan, Radhi. On the Effect of Global Warming and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Built Environment, Global Warming, Stuart Arthur Harris (Ed.), 2010. Print.
Library of Congress (LoC). Country Profile: United Arab Emirates (UAE), Federal Research Division, 2007. Print.