January 21 2009Introduction Abu Dhabi is the largest of the seven Emirates of the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) that is currently developing at a very high rate to challenge the dominance of Dubai as the most famous and wealthy emirate of the country. As the Emirate grows fuelled by the oil and gas industry, it has emulated a certain phenomenon like all other developed and developing countries in the world in terms of environmental pollution. In realization of this fact, the Abu Dhabi government in conjunction with the central government has established many regulatory authorities to oversee the management of a very fragile environment.
One of the very many authorities established is the Civil Defence. However, its formation was not entirely focused on environmental protection as we are going to see later in the paper but environmental management was just one of the broad areas it covers. As a sort of “general purpose” organisation in the Abu Dhabi government, it fits well in incorporating the population of the emirate into environmental management as it directly deals with people on protection issues as its name suggests.
In this paper therefore, I present a possible environmental management plan that can be adopted by the Abu Dhabi Civil Defence in managing the Emirate’s environment. It is based on a theoretical framework drawn from environmental management plans and systems explained by different authors and experts in this subject. Environmental overviewThe emirate has the highest annual waste turnover per citizen in the world at 730 Kgs. This is way much higher than it is in the US where annual per capita waste is 710 Kgs and much lower in other countries especially the less developed ones.
http: //www. uae. gov. ae/Government/environment. htm#ENVIRONMENTAL%20ISSUES. Though this level of wastage provides a pointer to the depth of the problem, managing the waste still remains a different issue as countries and regions with relatively lower per capita waste turnover have evidently polluted and mismanaged environment. While this might not be the case in Abu Dhabi, there is some level of uniqueness that guarantees special consideration. This is so as the economy and the whole region is driven by the oil and gas industry where both of them are marked environmental pollutants as Al-Azab et al (2005) notes of how gas flairs and oil spillage in addition to silting have a negative environmental impact.
According to official statistics from the Abu Dhabi government, the air and oil industry are the main pollutants of the environment through various modes such as air, water (marine), soil, sound etc. Air pollution is mainly caused by emissions of sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ground-level ozone (O3), particulate matter (PM10) and lead (Pb). With the gas and oil industry leading in pollution, related pollutants are released at point sources such in electricity production where 99% is from gas, line sources such as through transportation and distribution areas such as gas stations, factories etc.
http: //www. soe. ae/Abu_Themespage. aspx? m=226. Sound pollution is mainly caused by large-scale diesel powered electricity generators that account for 1% of the electricity produced in the Emirate. Water pollution from the gas and oil industry is witnessed through marine sedimentation, oil spills and leakages into the few water resources in the area. However, such pollution is most commonly carried out by big companies which are mainly targeted by environmental authorities leaving out the possible role that can be played by the Civil Defence.