This comes even as a new WHO air quality model confirms that 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceeds acceptable limits
Dubai Municipality has confirmed that the air quality in the emirate conforms to the approved international standards, with the level of air quality reaching 88 per cent by the end of 2015.
This was three per cent higher than the target level of 85 per cent.
This was stated by Engineer Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, who stressed that the authority has put in place state-of-the-art environmental monitoring techniques in order to keep pace with the latest technical developments in the world.
This comes even as a new World Health Organisation (WHO) air quality model confirms that 92 per cent of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO limits.
Lootah said DM has launched 13 smart stations to monitor the air quality in different locations of the emirate covering various urban uses in the industrial, commercial and residential areas, as well as on the major roads of the emirate, where high class facilities are provided for the monitoring and control of any emissions of air pollutants resulting from various sectors such as energy production, transport sector and the industrial sector.
He noted there is close cooperation between the municipality and these sectors to ensure commitment to reduce emissions polluting the air to the extent that it is guaranteed that targets of the country and the emirate in the field of air quality are achieved.
This cooperation is realised by preparing an air quality strategy in the emirate of Dubai for 2016-2021, added Lootah.
On the Air Quality Strategy Project in the Emirate of Dubai, Alya AbdulRahim Al Harmoudi, Director of Environment Department at DM pointed out that the idea of the project came from the authority’s keenness on achieving 90 per cent of the air quality index contained in the target within the national agenda for 2021 and Dubai plan for 2021.
“Since the work started on the strategy, in coordination with the General Secretariat of the Executive Council and in cooperation with various strategic partners, a workshop was held to introduce the strategy project and the direction of the Municipality in this area to achieve the air quality target. It is considered to be a first of its kind project in the Middle East,” said Al Harmoudi.
She said that the first phase of the strategy has been completed, which is extensive analysis of the existing situation as per the contribution of each sector in air pollution.
“Hot Spot areas with the greatest vulnerability of contaminants have been identified.
“Currently, work is underway on the preparation of the second phase of the strategy project, which is to develop performance indicators.
“The strategy has been prepared according to international best practices in terms of both calculating the quantity of emissions by the polluting sectors and in terms of its visibility and translating that to digital maps using the best and latest technology for simulating and modeling the data in a universally accepted method,” said Al Harmoudi.
She also confirmed that the environmental gains achieved by the Emirate of Dubai, which earned it global leadership in the environmental field, especially in terms of good and pure quality of the air in the city of Dubai, would not have been possible without the excellent government support by the wise leadership, specifically the directives of the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum on the need to provide a safe and healthy environment for the community of the emirate.
Al Harmoudi added that among the other success factors that have contributed to achieving good levels of air quality in the emirate is the municipality’s keenness to provide all the necessary ingredients to improve the system of environmental work in the emirate and the latest technology in the field of environmental monitoring, particularly in the field of air quality monitoring.
“This is in addition to the considerable efforts made in the field of monitoring and control of potential contamination at various areas and sources and assessing whether there were any cases of potential excesses applicable for environmental determinants including those related to air quality, and thus taking the necessary legal procedures and the imposition of fines on violators in accordance with the rules and regulations in force,” she said.
Al Harmoudi also said that the Municipality is currently working on the launch of a website specialized in the field of air quality in the emirate, which aims to increase environmental awareness among the citizens, residents and visitors on the causes of air pollution.
According to WHO’s most recent statistics, some three million deaths a year are linked to exposure to outdoor air pollution.
Indoor air pollution can be just as deadly.
In 2012, an estimated 6.5 million deaths (11.6 per cent of all global deaths) were associated with indoor and outdoor air pollution together.
Nearly 90 per cent of air-pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with nearly 2 out of three occurring in WHO’s South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
Ninety-four per cent are due to noncommunicable diseases – notably cardiovascular diseases, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Air pollution also increases the risks for acute respiratory infections.