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INSIDE THIS ISSUE...

OUR VISION & MISSION ...A WORD FROM OUR DEPUTY CHAIRMAN…The Environmental Research and Wildlife Development Agency (ERWDA) was established in1996, under Law No. 4 of 1996 and the modifying Law No. 1 of 1997, by H.H. Sheikh Khalifabin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE. In November 2000, the Agency was designated byAbu Dhabi Emirate’s Executive Council, in its order No. 31 session 23/2000, as the CompetentAuthority for environment and wildlife issues in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.Our VisionOur VisionTo become the Emirate's primary centre for information, coordinated scientificresearch and application, promotion of environmental awareness and policy guidanceand enforcement regarding conservation and management of the Emirate's naturalenvironment, resources, wildlife and biological diversity. It will earn consideration byits government, private and public clients, stakeholders and the internationalcommunity as the Emirate's single credible, performance-oriented, innovative,reliable resource in this regard.Our MissionOur MissionTo assist the Abu Dhabi Government in the conservation and management of theEmirate's natural environment, resources, wildlife and biological diversity. This is to bedone through scientific research, proactive planning and co-ordination, environmentalawareness promotion, policy formulation and enforcement that balances sustainableeconomic development with protection of the environment for this and futuregenerations.A Word From OurDeputy Chairman...I believe this will be a year of renewal for our country, as urban development shapesour commercial future, and heightened environmental awareness complements thisgrowth by exploring sustainable options to ensure the sustainability of our naturalresources.With regards to the environment in all its dimensions, we see conservation as a longterm mission. Our belief is that sustainable development and environmentalconservation are the responsibility of all, not only Government.ERWDA, having made tangible efforts and possessing a statutory responsibility for theprotection and conservation of our fragile environment, has proven its commitmentearning consideration as the Emirate’s single credible, performance-oriented,innovative and reliable resource.ERWDA will continue to be an active and responsible agency that will pave the wayfor environmental progress, conducting appropriate measures to conserve our valuableresources such as our water, flora and fauna, as well as preserving the cleanliness ofour environment.We strive to achieve our farsighted vision, that is carefully framed to strike a balancebetween economic and social development as well as environmental considerations.Our strategic goals, identifying and expressing a direction towards achieving thisvision for the environment, reflects the environmental concerns, needs andresponsibilities of the people as well; and therefore we encourage all inhabitants of thisbeautiful land to make a serious commitment to preserving our natural resources andprotecting our environment.Hamdan bin Zayed Al NahyanDeputy Prime Minister of the UAEMinister of State for Foreign Affairs45


WHAT’S NEW AT ERWDA?...WHAT’S NEW AT ERWDA?...WHAT’S NEW AT ERWDA ?We provide a brief glance at the activities at ERWDA to keep you up to date.In Memory of Our Champion of the EnvironmentERWDA has released a commemorative for advancement and prosperity.calendar and desk diary for 2005The ‘door’ motif represents those doorscommemorating Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan that were opened in education, health,Al Nahyan, our country’s late president industry and social welfare.and founder.The calendar paystribute to the fatherThey are rich with historical photographs of the nation, andtracing the life of Sheikh Zayed and how pays its respect tothis great leader impacted the history of his sons, who nowhis people, the nation and the world. lead the waytowards moreThe calendar depicts a door as a symbol open doors andfor the ‘doors’ that the President opened greater heights ofto the people of the UAE, paving the way achievement.ERWDA Team Traps, Marks and ReleasesRüppell’s Foxes in Al DhafraERWDA Bags Environmental ‘Oscar’ for the UAEERWDA’s educational and awareness programmeswon first prize in the youth category of one of themost prestigious environmental awards, theInternational Energy Globe Award.Upon being short listed, a representative from the GlobeAwards visited ERWDA and was escorted on Agencyorganizedfield trips and environmental awarenessactivities targeting the student population in the AbuDhabi Emirate. The representative filmed herexperiences during the educational excursions as part ofa documentary that would be displayed at the awardsgala at Expo 2005 this month in Japan.Executive Council Approves Soil Survey ProjectERWDA had taken the lead and prepared a wellstructuredplan for a full fledged soil survey for AbuDhabi Emirate in 2002.In March, a team of ecologists fromERWDA’s Wildlife Survey and Monitoring(WSM) section spent four days in Al Dhafra,a remote, relatively unspoilt area in thesouth west of the Emirate, in order togather information on Rüppell’s foxes. Thedata collected will contribute towards anunderstanding of the population dynamicsand habitat requirements of the species,which is facing an uncertain future due tohabitat loss and competition with red foxes.It is currently listed on the UAE Red DataList as Endangered and the aim of the studyis to develop a Species Action Plan for theconservation of this small desert fox.The team had previously spent some timein Al Dhafra working alongside CanidSpecialist Group member and OxfordUniversity Wildlife Conservation ResearchUnit researcher Jed Murdoch, which led tothe development of the study concept andsubsequent field plan.During the most recent study, the WSMteam trapped, ear tagged and releasedfour individual as well as re-capturedone individual from the four that hadbeen marked during the previous fieldsession. The tracks of released animalswere followed through the desert tolocate their burrows, where scat wascollected in order to help indetermining the specific components oftheir diet.The Rüppell’s fox, Vulpes rueppelli,weighing less than 1.5 kg, is thesmallest of Abu Dhabi’s carnivores. Thespecies is often persecuted in themistaken belief that it cancause damage to domesticstock or even houbarabustards. The truth of thematter is that this species keeps awayfrom human settlements and feeds onthe insects and lizards that live on oraround the sparse desert vegetation.The project commenced in the coastline of Abu Dhabi,which extends for about 400 km, as a pilot study to enrichERWDA’s capabilities and to develop the confidence of itsstaff and facilities for the future implementation of anEmirate-wide soil survey. Recently, a full fledged soilsurvey proposal had been submitted to Abu DhabiExecutive Council to fund the project, which it approvedin January 2005.Release of2004 Annual ReportOur 2004 Annual Report was released earlier this year and it detailsthe success and substantial progress of ERWDA throughout the yearincluding some of its most exciting research findings for the Emirateof Abu Dhabi. For a copy of our annual report in English or Arabic,please e-mail us at aldhabi@erwda.gov.ae.89


WHAT’S NEW AT ERWDA?...WHAT’S NEW AT ERWDA?...ERWDA Honors Environmental JournalistsLaunch of Enviro-Spellathon 2004/2005ERWDA Adds a Wild Touch toNBAD Calendar 2005If you glance at this year’sNational Bank of Abu Dhabidesk and pocket calendar, youwill notice some of the UAE’snative species staring rightback at you. ERWDA wasproud to work with NBAD inan effort to help raiseawareness on the UAE’swildlife by featuring the GreenSea Turtle, Desert Hare,Mountain Gazelle, GreaterFlamingo, including others foreach month of the year.ERWDA encouragesothers to adopt similarprojects that increaseenvironmentalawareness.45 members of the local press,including the main mediaestablishments, were honored inan outdoors ceremony at theHiltonia Beach Club, Abu Dhabi onMarch 8th, 2005 for consistentlyshowing their commitment tocovering environmental issues andERWDA’s projects andprogrammes.Those honored includedreporters, photographers andTV/Radio correspondents as wellas the Emirates NewsAgency (WAM).Fisheries Unit Staff Receives TrainingThroughout March, ERWDA’s Marine workshop organized onEnvironment Research Centre has enforcement, with 21 staff membersbeen quite busy with its Fisheries attending as well as the Ministry ofunit staff undergoing training on Agriculture and Fisheries and thefining in the fisheries and aCoast Guard.On March 3rd, 2005 the 4thsession of the Enviro-Spellathon kicked off with itslaunch at theIntercontinental Hotel, AbuDhabi. Students from theAbu Dhabi Centre for theRehabilitation of Studentswith Special Needs put on aspecial performance for theaudience during theceremony.The Enviro-Spellathon is aunique environmentaleducation programme,targeting students betweenthe ages of 6-12 years.Sometimes considered as the‘Spelling Bee’ of theenvironmental world, itintroduces students toenvironmental vocabularyand helps promoteenvironmental educationthrough the curriculum.The concept was developedby the World Wildlife Fundfor Nature (WWF) and madeUAE-specific by ERWDA. It issponsored this year by Shelland First Gulf Bank, withShell having sponsored it forthe last 3 years.The programme was such ahuge success in the Emirateof Abu Dhabi that the rest ofthe emirates hasadopted it.More Houbara ChicksProduced at NARCERWDA’s National Avian Research Centre (NARC)has surpassed all challenges and achieved newtechniques in breeding the Asiatic houbarabustard, Chlamydotis macqueenii. By manipulatingenvironmental conditions in captivity, birds cannow be stimulated to breed before the start of thenatural breeding season. The houbara bustard isthe main quarry in the traditional sport of falconry,an integral part of the UAE’s local heritage.Creepy CrawliesGet FamousVisitorThe famous UK Ant Biologist,Dr. Cedric Collingwood, paid aspecial visit in March toERWDA’s Insect Collection. Hisvisit revealed that 3 of the antspecies in our collection wereindeed new discoveries for theArabian Peninsula. Fordetailedidentification,he took thespecimensback with him to the UK. Healso concluded that due toforestry plantation andurbanisation, there were manymore species which may beconsidered introduced speciesof ants (there are already 67different species of identifiedants in the Insect Collection).It is understood that invasivespecies displaces nativespecies and therebychanges the antfauna of the UAE.1011


NEWS OF THE EARTH…NEWS OF THE EARTH…NEWS OF THE EARTH…ABU DHABI AIR QUALITY MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT PROJECTMaking Air Quality a Top Priority!The Problem:The pace of industrial developmenthas made the UAE one of the mostlivable places in the world. The greatspeed of development and urbangrowth brought an increase in airpollution, resulting not only from therise in traffic, but also from theexpansion of industrial activities.Higher air pollution levels havedirect impact on the health of thepopulation; increasing the incidenceof respiratory illnesses and diseasessuch as asthma and lung cancer.ERWDA has identified that oil-relatedindustries, petrochemical factories, thepower sector and heavy-duty dieselvehicles are significant sources of sulfuroxides, particulate matter, nitrogenoxides and ozone. Throughphotochemistry, these pollutantsinteract with humidity, heat and wind toimpact humans through direct skincontact and breathing.Additionally, these emissions arehydrocarbons. The third most significantabsorbed into the environment through source of pollution is vehicularthe phenomenon of acid rain, where emissions, which has been classifiedthey affect plant life (both indigeneous within three time period parameters: asand domestic). Acid rain results in the normal traffic pattern, summer traffic,leaching of soil nutrients which causes and Ramadan trends.lowered disease resistance andcompromised plant germination. The study identified specific hotspots inIn humans, ERWDA has found a direct the Emirate that are especially prone tocorrelation between hospital admission high levels of pollution from industrialrates for respiratory diseases, such as emissions and vehicular traffic. In Abuasthma, and the amounts of sulfur and Dhabi city proper, a hotspot for nitrogennitrogen oxides in the air. These two dioxide was identified in the heart of theinhalable compounds, which usually city, especially where Hamdan Streetunite with dust particles, cause greater and Zayed the First intersect withharm as they are deeply deposited into Airport Road and Salam Road. Thelung tissues and hardly exhaled.suburbs of the city, especially in parts ofThe data gathered to date by ERWDA on Al Mafraq and Mussafah are exposed tothis subject has been extensive, covering industrial emissions such as Oxides ofa wide range of industries, and spanning Sulfur. By comparison, the highestall the main cities and towns in the levels of nitrogen oxide were found inEmirate. Collected and modeled data the Western region, while the Easternhas revealed that the single largest Region, and the city of Al Ain,polluter in the Emirate is the petroleum experienced moderate levels ofindustry, which is responsible inpollution exposure.producing a large amount of emissionsincluding methane gas andhydrocarbons.The second largest polluter, accordingto the data, is the power sector, spewingout large amounts of carbon dioxide,and the secondary emissions are carbonand nitrogen oxides, and nitrogendioxides, methane and free radicalPossible Solutions:There are many measures that can beintroduced on a policy or abehavioral level that can greatlyreduce industrial and vehicularpollution. This can often start with theimprovement of petroleum contentthrough the processes of catalyticreforming, catalytic cracking andisomerization, and through theaddition of aromatic compounds.Thiswill greatly improve fuel cleanliness,however it adds considerable cost tofinal cost to the consumer. Bycomparison, the removal of lead fromgasoline has profound effects on theenvironment, and yet it has a lowerrelative cost of production.Another positive measure that can betaken on a policy level, and one that isalready in prevalent use in most Europeancountries is the introduction of a catalyticconverter in vehicles. A catalyticconverter is a device designed to controlthe amount of pollution leaving theexhaust system of the vehicle. Two-waycatalytic converters help to eliminate upto 90% of exhaust pollutants byconverting hydrocarbons and carbonmonoxide into water vapour and carbondioxide. Three-way catalytic convertersgo one step further by convertingnitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons andcarbon monoxide into nitrogen, watervapour and carbon dioxide. Newer carsequipped with catalytic converterseliminate more than 95% of carbonmonoxide, volatile organic compoundsand nitrogen oxides.Other technologies can greatly reduceemissions through thermionic emissionswhich manage the process of fuelburning. The maintenance of drivingspeed can reduce the amount of gasesreleased from a vehicle, so an importantmeasure in this regard is to encouragedrivers to manage their travel routes andavoid idling.Other practical measures that can beintroduced to reduce vehicular emissionsare the use of “cruise control” whichsaves fuel when traveling at highwayspeeds by reducing excess gas pedalactivity, “fuel injection” which helps toregulate the amount of fuel delivered tothe engine, “overdrive transmissions”which decreases the number of enginerevolutions at higher speeds under cruiseconditions, which saves fuel and radialtires. Radial tires have less rollingresistance which makes for smootherrides and improves gas mileage.There is no doubt that increasing vehicleuse and size increases pollution. Despitethe fact that technology is creating lesspolluting and more fuel efficient vehicles,the number of vehicles in use and on theroads has risen dramatically and iscontinuing to rise. Reducing the numberof cars on the roads will not only have apositive impact, but also reducing thenumber of polluting vehicles, such assport utility vehicles (SUVs), mini vansand trucks.Taking the initiative to do its part, AbuDhabi’s Traffic and Licensing Departmenthave introduced in their car inspectionprocesses, technologies that useultraviolet rays to run an inspection onthe car’s vitals including its exhaustsystem, its lighting and how muchhydrocarbon is released through the car’sengines.Within the emirate, major strides havetaken place over the last couple of yearsthat have had a significant impact on thelevel of emissions by vehicles. Suchadvancements will continue with greatercommitment and partnership amonggovernment entities and the privatesector.Unleaded Fuel HasPositive Impact onAir QualityThe UAE’s ban of leaded fuel,which came into force inJanuary 1, 2003 has favourablyimpacted air quality in thecountry, mitigating the dangersassociated with leaded fuel suchas damage to the nervous systemand brain, especially in children.The wheels of change beganturning when the GulfCooperation Council (GCC)asserted in December 1998 theneed for regional changetowards unleaded fuel. Fouryears later the UAE phased outleaded gasoline entirely andreplaced it with unleadedgasoline. Vehicles not equippedfor unleaded gasoline were giventwo options, either use unleadedgasoline with special chemicalsadded to it to make it useable, oradd catalytic converters to theircars. The UAE has decreed thatby 2007 all vehicles in the UAEshould either have catalyticconverters or be equipped forunleaded gasoline.SOURCE: www.strategis.gc.ca1213


NEWS OF THE EARTH…NEWS OF THE EARTH…What Have We DoneAbout It?In response to the rising concernover the preservation of airquality, ERWDA embarked on anambitious air qualitymanagement project aimed atmonitoring air quality throughoutthe Emirate which it regarded aspart of its mandate to protect andconserve the environment forfuture generations. By the end of2003, ERWDA conducted an 18month air quality monitoring andmanagement study for theEmirate of Abu Dhabi.AIR QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN SAUDI ARABIAThe ChallengeThe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has witnessedconsiderable population growth in someurban areas, which has precipitated anincrease in vehicular pollution. Meanwhile,the country’s extensive petroleum industrialactivity has also raised concern on the levelof harmful emissions, especially thosereleased from flaring.The objective is to establish air qualitystandards for limits on sulfur dioxide,inhalable particulates, ozone, nitrogenoxides, carbon monoxide and hydrogensulfide, among other pollutants.Monitoring Station in ShahamaWhat Have They Done About It?As part of the air quality managementeffort, 15 fixed and 2 mobile stations wereacquired to monitor air quality andpollution, with the objective of analysingthe emissions and dispersion of flue gasesfrom industrial stacks as well as vehiculartraffic. The highly sophisticatedmonitoring equipment, which would beinstalled in the latter part of this year invarious spots within the Emirate, wouldmeasure all the key pollutants and monitorongoing air quality. This data would beused to help mitigate pollution levels andto seek longterm remedial solutions.ERWDA has completed the secondstage of the project, bringing to closethe baseline data collection andassessment process, as well as theanalysis of emissions and dispersion offlue gases from industrial stacks andvehicular traffic. The third stage willinvolve the creation of a full fledgedCentral Network System and an AirQuality Management System, afterwhich the Agency would be able tooperate and continually enhance theequipment to achieve maximumutilisation of resources.Another measure put in place byERWDA in response to the pollutionfindings, has been to make arecommendation and draw up anaction plan to introduce natural gas asa substitute for petrol, especially forspecific vehicular categories that arehigh fuel consumers. These proposalshave been well received bygovernment entities and theinternational community as a positivefirst step towards safeguarding publichealth and conserving the country’s oilresources.The Kingdom’s Meteorology andEnvironmental ProtectionAdministration (MEPA) has taken somemeasures to remedy the situation. Ithas undertaken studies on hazards ofpollution, inventory of pollutants,development of necessaryenvironmental standards and measuresto protect air and water quality and todeal with hazardous wastes. Thecountry’s National Meteorology andEnvironment Center (NMEC) providesmore accurate weather observation bymonitoring quantitative and qualitativeoxides, carbon monoxide, andhydrogen sulfide; and specificationsfor emission sources from 7 industrialcategories including (gas) flaring,petroleum and petrochemical facilities.Aramco operates 10 Air QualityMonitoring and Meteorology Network(AMMNET) stations and 15meteorology-only stations throughoutthe Kingdom. AMMNET stationsensure facilities meet national andcompany air quality standards forlimits on sulfur dioxide, inhalableparticulates, ozone, nitrogen oxides,The analysis process identified several keycomponents. The data has been collectedfrom stacks belonging to major industrialand petrochemical complexes, as well aspower sector participants such as Umm AlNar, Taweelah and Bainounah. Inaddition, traffic flow data is collected inAbu Dhabi at 155 measuring points,located at 78 intersections. In Al Ain, 16traffic measuring points were set up, anddata was also collected from 12 medicalwaste incinerators.A major step forward has been thepolicies aimed at reducing industrialpollution. As part of these measures, aban has been put in place forbiddingall industrial facilities from using oilsas a primary fuel and mandating theminstead to replace this with naturalgas. Precast factories have also beenobliged to install air filters at theirsilos, just as medical wasteincinerators are now moreenvironmentally responsive.ERWDA’s research in the area ofpollution demonstrate without a doubtthat such measures and policies canpositively impact the status quo,significantly reducing the effects ofpollution on public health and theenvironment. An important initiative inthis regard, has been ERWDA’s role incommisioning and sponsoring researchthat provides insight, extendstechnical guidance, and offersplausible solutions.(SOURCES: UN Department ofEconomic & Social Affairs andthe Independent EnvironmentInvestigation Agency.)changes experienced by factors of thenatural environment of the country.Collaborating with MEPA, SaudiAramco, the country’s largestpetroleum entity, also conducts itsown air quality monitoringprogramme. Air quality specificationsin Saudi Aramco have been designedaccording to applicable standards inthe Kingdom, which include upperlimits for sulfur dioxide andparticulates that may be inhaled,photochemical oxidants, nitrogencarbon monoxide and hydrogensulfide, among other pollutants.Saudi air quality has been improvedby the introduction of unleadedgasoline in the country in January2001. Currently, service stations inSaudi Arabia sell lead-free gasolinewith the octane boosting additiveMTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether).Leaded gasoline now has beeneliminated for the most part.1415


NEWS OF THE EARTH…NEWS OF THE EARTH…PRACTICAL ANTI- POLLUTION TIPSYOU CAN ADOPT TODAYWhen you drive...Plan ahead.Organize your trips. Driving fewer mileswill help reduce air pollution. Combineseveral errands into one trip. Avoiddriving during peak traffic periods whenstop-and-go traffic is at its worst. Thiswill not only save you gas but will alsoreduce the wear and tear on your car.Try walking or cycling for short errandsand leisure activities.Share a ride.Carpools and public transportationreduce the number of cars on the roadand miles driven. If you own or manage abusiness, create incentives thatencourage employees to carpool. As anemployee, form a carpool with others atwork or in your neighborhood. Considertaking public transportation as analternative to driving.Use an energy-conserving grade ofmotor oil.Look for the Energy Conserving grade onthe container and be sure to usemultigrade. An Energy Conservingmultigrade can improve your mileage byas much as 1.5 percent. An EC II-rated oilcan provide a 2.7 percent mileage boostover single grades.Use clean fuels.Reformulated or "clean" gasolines arebecoming more widely available. Usethem when available and as much aspossible.Drive at a medium speed.In normal traffic conditions, most carsoperate most efficiently between 56 and72 kms per hour; lower or higher speedsare less efficient. If you drive 88 kms perhour rather than 104 kms per hour onthe highway, you can increase your gasmileage by as much as 15 percent,depending on your car.Drive at a steady speed.It is more fuel efficient to drive at aneven speed than it is to keep speeding upand slowing down. This is true in heavytraffic as well as on the open road.Accelerate gently.Gently accelerating reduces gasconsumption. Coasting to a stop lets thecar's momentum, not its fuel, get youwhere you want to go.Don't idle the engineunnecessarily.Contrary to popular belief, turning offand starting an engine uses less gasolinethan leaving the engine idle for 30seconds. Stop the engine if it is idling ata drive-thru or in traffic jams.Travel light.The more weight your car carries, theless fuel-efficient it becomes. Takeunnecessary items out of the trunk.Follow the owner's manual.The owner's manual that comes withyour car will recommend which grade ofgasoline to use, how to shift gears, andother ways you can keep your enginerunning at maximum environmental andeconomic efficiency.Maintain your carDon't remove or tamper withpollution controls.The pollution control equipment oncars helps limit the pollutant emissionsat the tailpipe. Removing or tamperingwith these controls adds more pollutioninto the air we breathe.Don't overfill your car's gas tank.Even if you don't spill gasoline, fumescan escape. They react with nitrogenoxides and sunlight and create smog.Get regular engine tune-ups andcar maintenance checks.Tune-ups improve your gas mileage andcar performance. The spark plugs areespecially important, because a wornspark plug will cause poor starting,rough idling, and poor gas mileage.Make sure your tires are properlyinflated and your wheels aligned.Doing this can prevent excessive dragand improve fuel economy up to onemile per gallon.Keep car filters and catalyticconverters clean.Dirty air filters increase fuelconsumption; and your car's pollutioncontrol devices need to be in goodworking order to be effective. Followthe car manufacturer's guidelines.Use your car air conditionerwisely.Air conditioning is a drag on your car'sengine, reducing gas mileage by 20percent. During the UAE’s colder monthsor while in stop-and-go traffic, roll downyour window instead. Have leaks in yourcar air conditioner fixed by a certifiedtechnician.Consider buying fuel efficient cars.When buying a car—new or used--checkits posted fuel efficiency and seek themost fuel-efficient, "clean" car in the sizecategory that meets your needs.SUSTAINABILITY:Exploring the Balance BetweenAir Quality and Infrastructure GrowthSpeakers of the Environment 2005 International Conference on Sustainable Transportation inDeveloping Countries at the closing session, Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi. They included the officialsfrom international organizations such as The World Health Organization.One event that fully reflectedthis objective was theEnvironment 2005International Exhibition andConference, which ERWDAorganised jointly with theGeneral ExhibitionsCorporation from January 29 -February 2. The eventfocused on SustainableTransportation in DevelopingCountries: Challenges andProspects; Transportation,Environment and Health:Defining the Linkages; andthe Promotion of SustainableTransportation: Role ofDonors.The Conference has helpedcontribute to the facilitatingof an important dialogue onsustainability, as well asopened avenues ofcooperation withinternational organisations onnew environmentallycompliant transportationalternatives that will mitigateharmful emmisions.“Air quality is a primaryconcern for ERWDA, and webelieve that the rightmeasures in controlling fuelemissions will make a lastingdifference in ourenvironment. Educating thepublic on transportationenergy consumption and ontransportation alternatives isa major step in the rightdirection,” said Mr. AlMansouri.“We also believe thatsystematic planning towardsimproving the quality of ourtransportational infrastructurehas to also address the overallquestion of air qualitystandards, so that economicgrowth goes hand in handwith healthy sustainability,”he added.Environmentalsustainability, a globalconcern for mankind, is akey theme that underlies allof ERWDA’s policies.“The Agency’s longtermstrategy is to ensure thatevery effort is made toaddress the environmentalproblems that face thisland, including air, waterand land pollution,” saidMajid Al Mansouri,Secretary General ofERWDA.1617


NEWS OF THE EARTH…NEWS OF THE EARTH…FROM AROUND THE WORLDResearch Shows: Less Trees, Less RainAustralianscientists havefound thatdeforestationalong the AmazonRiver in SouthAmerica wasreducing rainfalland causingclimate change inthe region.EPA Orders Smog, SootReductions to BenefitPeople Downwind fromPower PlantsWASHINGTON — The USadministration has orderedreductions in smog and sootpollution across 28 states in theEast, South and Midwest with thegoal of making the air cleaner tobreathe for people downwind ofcoal-burning power plants.Consumers who get electricityfrom the companies' plants canexpect their monthly power billsto increase eventually by up to $1to pay for the changes.The Environmental ProtectionAgency's new regulations setpollution quotas for 28 states andthe District of Columbia on smogformingnitrogen oxides and soot-Cambodia Seeks toTighten Regulations onPesticide UsePHNOM PENH, Cambodia —Cambodia must tighten itspolicy regarding pesticide usein farming, which poses seriousrisks not just for public healthand the environment but alsofor trade with other countries,officials said."Cambodia is the easiest place"compared to other countries touse toxic pesticides because itlacks legal restrictions, CheaChan Veasna, an AgricultureMinistry official.Agriculture Minister Chan Sarunsaid pesticides were a "verypopular" means of increasingcrop output, but posed serioushealth risks to farmers who lackproper protective gear.Long-term effects of exposureto pesticides, by handlers andconsumers, are believed toinclude damage to brain nerves,infertility, genetic mutationsand cancer.SOURCE: Associated Press (AP)Australia Announces Plan toName Polluting BusinessesAustralia will namemajor polluters in anattempt to cut thenation's greenhouse gasoutput, despiteCanberra's refusal toratify the Kyoto Protocol,a senior governmentofficial has said.Under the program,businesses can have thegovernment certifyproducts and services asnot contributing to globalwarming.But rather than beingpenalized for poorperformance as the Kyotoplan calls for, Australiancompanies would facepublic shame by havingthe government publishtheir names and pollutionrecords published on theInternet. Starting in July2006, large corporateusers of diesel fuel willhave to report to thegovernment each year onhow much greenhouse gasthey produce and whatplans they have inreducing the output.Australia and the UnitedStates are the only majorindustrialized countriesthat have refused to ratifythe Kyoto pact, which setstargets for greenhouse gasreduction. But despite thefact that Australia has notsigned, EnvironmentMinister Ian Campbell saidit will meet the Kyototarget of allowingemissions of just 8 percentabove the country's 1990level by 2012.SOURCE: Associated Press (AP)A study in the Amazon found that aloss of forests meant less waterevaporated back into theatmosphere, resulting in less rainfall,said Ann Henderson-Sellers, Directorof Environment at the AustralianNuclear Science and TechnologyOrganization.Key to the study was plotting thecycle of a heavy molecular version ofwater common in the Amazon thatevaporates more readily throughplants than from lakes and rivers.Water from household taps consists oftwo "regular" hydrogen atoms and one"regular" oxygen atom, explainedHenderson-Sellers, but some watermolecules see the second hydrogenatom replaced by a heavier versioncalled deuterium."Plants transpire the water moleculesand pumps them back into the air,without discriminating between heavyor regular molecules," Henderson-Sellers.SOURCE: Reutersproducing sulfur dioxide. Most ofthe states are east of theMississippi River.The agency envisions that theclean air rule will prevent 17,000premature deaths and 700,000cases annually of bronchitis,asthma and other respiratoryailments, while also improvingthe air in parks and forests.SOURCE: Associated Press (AP)China RaisesEnvironmental Bar forHeavy IndustryChina is raising theenvironmental bar on theconstruction of heavilypolluting factories and plantsin a move that could bolsterefforts to limit investment andcool the economy.China has suffered severeenvironmental damage in recentdecades as economicdevelopment has accelerated,but the government has sinceadopted a series of measures tocool the world's seventh largesteconomy, which grew 9.5percent last year.Steel, cement, aluminium, ironalloy, calcium carbide and cokeproducingplants would undergostricter environmentalassessments before constructioncould begin, Xinhua newsagency said.The stricter policy also appliedto projects already under way,Pan Yue, vice minister of theState Environmental ProtectionAdministration, was quoted assaying."Projects that have beencompleted and put intooperation illegally must upgradetheir facilities in line withenvironmental protectionregulations within a limitedperiod of time, or they will beshut down," Pan said.The administration in Januaryordered the suspension ofconstruction at 30 majorinfrastructure projects, includingthree related to the ThreeGorges Dam, the world's largesthydro-electric project, becausethey had not undergoneenvironmental impactassessments.SOURCE: ReutersSomalia's Environment Minister Callsfor Investigation of Suspicious WasteSomalia's newenvironment ministerasked the United Nationsto investigate possiblehazardous waste thatwas washed ashore bylast year's tsunami andmay be causing illnessesamong local people.Mohamed Osman Maye, aminister in Somalia's newgovernment based inneighboring Kenya, saidstrange objects washedashore all along hiscountry's coastline, thelongest in Africa, when atsunami struck on Dec.26, 2004.Maye said that he had noevidence to back upunconfirmed reports thatradioactive waste mayhave come ashore whenthe tsunami hit Somalia.But he called on the U.N.Environment Program,also based in Nairobi, forassistance sincehundreds of people werereporting unusualillnesses.Foreign fishing vesselshave also causedirreparable harm byoverfishing in Somaliterritorial waters andinternational interventionwas needed to stopthem, Maye said.SOURCE: Associated Press (AP)1819


NEWS OF THE EARTH…ENVIRO-WATCH...LATEST TECHNOLOGIESThese are a compilation of some of the new environmental solutions being used around the world.We provide them for information purposes, and not as an endorsement.Development of Production Technology for FlexibleSolar Cells Using Plastic Film SubstratesENVIRO-WATCH...We brief you on some of the most talked-about environmental concerns and issues around the world.The Kyoto Protocol: No Time to LoseUnited Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has been quoted as saying that climate change is one of the biggestchallenges facing mankind. "If this challenge is not addressed, sustainable development will be out of reach," he stated.Solar energy is one of several promising The project’s aim is to develop massclean energy sources that couldproduction technology for lightweightcontribute to a stable energy supply and and flexible amorphous silicon solar cellsmitigate global environmental issues. The using a roll-to-roll process. Contrary toJapanese government has been promoting conventional (a-Si) solar cells, whichphotovoltaic (PV) R&D, production and commonly use glass sheet substrates,installation through initiatives like the lightweight and flexible resin film“New Sunshine Project.” Recently, Japan substrates are employed in this project.achieved the highest PV production and The film substrate enables the use of ainstallation levels in the world. To further highly productive roll-to-roll productiondisseminate PV systems and make PVpowergeneration a viable alternative process were developed from 1993 toprocess. The basic technologies of theenergy source, additional PV2000 by Fuji Electric Advancedmanufacturing cost reductions and Technology Co., Ltd. (formerly Fujienhanced mass production capabilities Electric Research and Development Co.,will be essential. Creating newLtd.) under a research subsidy from Newapplications for PV utilization, reducing Energy and Industrial Technologyweight and developing efficient flexible Development Organisation.panels will also be vital.(SOURCE: New Energy and IndustrialTechnology Development Organization - NEDO)EPA Issues Energy Star Challenge: Make U.S. Buildings More Energy EfficientThe Environment Protection Agency (EPA) efficiency of almost 20,000 buildings acrosshas launched a new programme, named the country, to support this challenge.the Energy Star Challenge, to encouragecommercial and institutional building Commercial and institutional buildings useowners to find new ways to improve about $80 billion worth of energy each yearenergy efficiency by 10 percent or more and contribute about 20 percent of U.S.to conserve energy, save money and greenhouse gas emissions. EPA estimatesprotect the environment. The EPA has that if each building owner met thebeen joined by more than 20 states, challenge, in 10 years they would reducegroups, and businesses.greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to theemissions from 15 million cars while savingThe EPA offers its national building energy about $10 billion each year.performance rating system, which hasalready been used to assess the energy (SOURCE: Environment Protection Agency (EPA))Over a decade ago, most countries joined February 2005 after it received thean international treaty -- the United backing of more than 55 countries,Nations Framework Convention on including the UAE where the PresidentClimate Change – to tackle a vital issue HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyanfacing the world’s survival, globalissued a Federal Decree ratifying it. On thewarming. The treaty’s aim is to address other hand, ironically, the United States,the problem of the inevitable temperature which is our world’s largest emitter ofincrease facing our planet, and as a result, greenhouse gases, has refused to ratify thean initiative called the Kyoto Protocol, agreement, citing reasons such as itcame into being in 1997.harming the economy. This has led the USto come under severe criticism, this timeSeven years after it was negotiated, the from leading international environmentalKyoto Protocol finally came into effect in groups and experts.HOW THE PROTOCOL AFFECTS US ALLThe Protocol's major feature is that it sets levels in the commitment period 2008 tomandatory targets on greenhouse-gas 2012." In almost all cases -- even those setemissions for the world's leadingat +10 per cent of 1990 levels -- the limitseconomies, which have accepted it. These call for significant reductions in currentlytargets range from -8 per cent to +10 per projected emissions. Future mandatorycent of the countries' individual 1990 targets are expected to be established foremissions levels "with a view to reducing "commitment periods" after 2012.their overall emissions of such gases by atleast 5 per cent below existing 1990THE CHALLENGEIn order to compensate for the sting of"binding targets," as these limits arecalled, the agreement offers options onhow countries may meet their targets. Apopular option exercised by somecountries is the creation of ‘sinks’—i.e.forests—to remove carbon dioxide fromthe atmosphere. They can either do thison their own territory or support suchinitiatives in other countries. If theychoose to do the latter, they may payfor foreign projects that result ingreenhouse-gas cuts. Other options are"emissions trading," the "cleandevelopment mechanism," and "jointimplementation” programmes.There exists a delicate balance tointernational treaties. Those appealingenough to gain widespread supportoften aren't strong enough to solve theproblems they focus on. Yet treatieswith real "teeth" often face difficultyattracting enough widespread supportto be effective.•Russia ratified the treaty inNovember 2004 - the crucial momentmaking the treaty legally binding.Russia's entry was vital, because theprotocol had to be ratified by nationsaccounting for at least 55% ofgreenhouse gas emissions to becomevalid. This target was only met afterRussia joined.•While large developing countriesincluding India, China and Brazilare not required to meet specifictargets for now, the entry of Russiahas been crucial for the success of theinitiative.2021

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