Industrial effluents and vehicular emissions are the biggest contributors to global pollution issues. Add to that, numerous other contributors that affect the life and health of citizens; then we have a problem on our hands. As nations struggle to reduce the factors that create health hazards to their citizens, more new products are introduced in the environment. It appears there is no alternative to mankind other than turning back to age old methods of leading a sustainable life. When there is so much of consumerism going on, populous countries such as USA, India and China are struggling to keep up with smaller nations in green initiatives. Less populous regions have some luxury in being able to bring a change to the environment by banning plastic, implanting stringent laws on wastes and monitoring bad environmental practices by industries. This very strategy can be implemented by larger nations by bringing in a “wave effect” where best practices start from model towns and eventually scale up to the provincial level and national level.
Paradoxically, it is an oil rich nation that is bringing about change in their strategy for sustainability. As UAE is refocusing on its employment and property market, it is making changes to its environment policies and that is not just to supplement an oil based economy! This week, the announcement of free reserved parking in paid zones across Dubai has caught the attention of tree huggers!
Green Parking For Electric Cars
The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai has provided 70 free parking spaces for environment-friendly vehicles in 40 paid parking zones including the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Street, Sheikh Zayed Road, Central Business District and World Trade Centre area.
The RTA has plans to introduce additional free parking spots for eco-friendly cars in heavy traffic areas. To make the user experience better, the free parking spaces’ marking is painted in green with signs showing the maximum allowed use time, and fines applicable on parking violations. Only eco-friendly vehicles are allowed to access these parking slots, and for a time limit of four hours, which will increase the rotation of using each parking. The RTA had previously announced a few incentives for electric car owners, including exemption from RTA registration and renewal vehicle fees, free Salik tag (for using Dubai’s highways) and free charging at 100 stations across Dubai. Amongst the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, UAE has the most developed charging infrastructure with station capable of powering 24 cars simultaneously.
That’s not all! There are more intense initiatives by Dubai to achieve their sustainability goals.
Energy Goals Of Dubai
Dubai plans to increase energy efficiency by 30 per cent by 2030 across the emirate. As the city strives to achieve its energy targets it will need the complete support of all the builders involved in its construction industry. The reason being, the built environment is the single largest consumer of energy. Any energy efficiencies here will translate into serious energy savings. The government has appointed several regulatory bodies to assist the built environment with this transition.
Also, since the UAE opted for deregulating the price and aligned it with the international rates, fuel prices have been on the rise. Hence, Dubai residents have started to prefer public transport services and car-pooling.
One of the greatest examples of sustainable designs in building architecture is the work of Baharash Architecture Studio, the Oasis Eco Resort project. Some of the environmental benefits of this beautiful project include recycling waste water on site for irrigation, onsite waste management, the enforcement of a zero emission zone and 157,000 square feet of solar panels. The ribbon-like roof is designed to maximize the area for solar panels, which are planned for optimum efficiency. The resort will also employ wildlife biologists and conservation staff.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is another project supporting Dubai’s sustainability targets. It is one of the world’s largest renewable energy projects, with a total capacity of 3,000 megawatt (MW). The initiative is part of The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy which aims to provide 7% of the city’s energy through renewable sources by 2020. This target will increase to 25% by 2030 and 75% by 2050. The city is also encouraging private sectors and individuals to voluntarily install solar power on their properties. This however will be mandatory for all buildings in Dubai by 2030.
Dubai leads by example in green initiatives. It also has the luxury of being a young city and planning it right. As the employment sector steers towards the non-oil industries including technology, tourism, real estate and bio-friendly solutions, the city has to gear up to beat the turmoil that is likely to occur with over dependency on the oil based economy. This will also breed health-conscious global population that requires outstanding urban infrastructure, modern amenities and yet the environment to be kind to your mind and body. With these smart moves on the cards, a safe haven such as Dubai is bound to be a long term home for its bustling expats.