. Energy News .

Gulf boom is spoiling environment: study
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 16, 2011

Manmade islands, booming populations, overfishing and heavy use of fossil fuels have wreaked havoc in the Gulf environment and more should be done to prevent further damage, a Canadian study said Wednesday.

Eight Gulf countries -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- were the focus of the report by the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, located outside Toronto.

By compiling data from outside researchers and combining that with observations and studies by UNU scientists, the report aimed to outline the scope of the problem and suggest ways to fix it.

"We believe there is a possibility of a positive outcome here," co-author Peter Sale told AFP in an interview.

"There are lots of things that are going wrong. And the reason is that fundamentally there is a relatively weak environmental science capacity in the region," he added.

"These are countries which because of their wealth have been developing so very rapidly that the pace at which things are happening is tending to outstrip the pace at which capacity to regulate is growing."

For instance, many Gulf nations are engaged in furious coastal development in order to accommodate a fast-growing regional population, which at an annual growth rate of 2.1 percent is about double the world average, it said.

The UAE is building four coastal mega-islands (Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Jumeirah, Palm Deira and The World) which will add 439 kilometers (273 miles) of shoreline and approximately 120 square kilometers of land.

Qatar meanwhile has doubled its coastline in the past decade, from 563 to 1,239 kilometers (350 to 770 miles).

That growth has strained the area's ability to handle waste, which is "frequently dumped directly into the Gulf or riverbeds and wetlands where it then infiltrates into shallow aquifers and eventually enters coastal waters," the report said.

Providing fresh water is also a problem, because the area relies on desalination plants for 70-90 percent of its water and those plants "deliver toxic brine into the Gulf."

The constant presence of oil tankers moving through the Gulf region, which contains 55 percent of the world's crude oil reserves and produces 31 percent of the world's oil supply, also boosts pollution.

The region sees "persistently high levels of hydrocarbon pollution throughout the Gulf, predominantly along the Iranian coastline," said the report.

Climate change also has an impact, particularly in a part of the world where 100 percent of the energy used comes from fossil fuels and carbon emission rates are three times higher than the world average.

Original reefs are 70 percent gone due to massive dredging operations, and they will disappear altogether in the next decade "unless aggressive steps are taken to ameliorate the impacts of development," the report added.

Poor regulation of the fishing trade, which brought the region 996 million US dollars in 2007 and employed 250,000 people, means "many fishery species are in peril due to overexploitation."

While the study pointed out that "Gulf countries rank lowest in the world in terms of the innovation and scientific research index," a simple way to address the environmental problems is to add more spending and attention in this area.

Kuwait and Qatar were applauded for having employed design teams that included oceanographers and biologists, thereby helping "limit the negative environmental impacts of certain coastal developments," the report said.

According to Sale, a major shift could come from simply appreciating the value of the natural beauty of the Gulf and its need for protection from human development and pollution.

"Fundamentally there is a need to appreciate -- and this is something that is weakly developed in the region -- that the Gulf ecosystem is a living entity and there are limits to how it can be changed," he said.

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Clinton uses warship to push Philippines alliance
Manila (AFP) Nov 16, 2011
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday vowed military support for the Philippines, delivering a firm message from the deck of an American warship at a time of rising tensions with China. On a steaming hot day on Manila Bay, Clinton boarded the USS Fitzgerald, a US Navy destroyer based in California, as she signed a declaration marking 60 years since the United States signed a sec ... read more

Iraq's Basra threatens to act alone over power cuts

US Congress to look into 'green' aid to China

NOAA greenhouse gas index continues climbing

IEA: Warming may be irreversible by 2017

Marines test new energy-efficient weapon in the war on trash

Bulgaria, Azerbaijan confirm gas deal

Gulf boom is spoiling environment: study

Iraq studying options in Exxon dispute: official

Scotland gets $160M for renewable energy

Macho Springs Wind Project Completes Construction

Ascent Solar Selects Teams for Innovative Design Competition

Mortenson Construction Builds Its Fifth Wind Facility In Illinois

West Bank solar panels risk demolition

Amonix Earns LEED Gold Certification for Two Facilities

China's Claim of 'Protectionism' Aims to Divert Scrutiny

Report Finds that LA Lags on Solar Energy

France opposition in first push to reduce nuclear power

Saudi, S. Korea ink nuclear cooperation deal

Australia moves to lift India uranium ban

Belgian parties strike 'deal' for nuclear stipend: reports

Generating Ethanol from Lignocellulose Possible, But Large Cost Reductions Still Needed

Solazyme Announces First US Commercial Passenger Flight on Advanced Biofuel

A Stable Renewable Fuel Standard Is Needed to Meet Biofuel Production Goals

Mission Increases Jatropha Oil Supply Completing the 2011 Planting Season

China completes second space docking

China sets up management body for orbiting space lab

Second Tiangong-1 And Shenzhou-8 docking to face light interference

Made-in-Chengdu to help Shenzhou spacecraft return

Long-Term Carbon Storage in Ganges Basin May Portend Global Warming Worsening

UN chief hails poor nations over climate change

Groundbreaking study quantifies health costs of climate-change related disasters in the US

'Climate vulnerable' countries meet in Bangladesh


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement