Browsing 'environment' News

Ren Wlasiuk

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach

The popular northern beach of Fuwairit will reopen to the public next week, officials have announced.

The Tuesday, Aug. 1 opening comes following a successful turtle nesting season, in which some 3,000 endangered Hawksbill turtles were released into the sea.

Each year, the beach is closed for four months starting in April to protect the turtle nesting grounds on the coastline.

Ren Wlasiuk

Turtles at Fuwairat Beach

This helps curb practices that prevent turtles from nesting or burying their eggs, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has previously said.

In the past, turtles have been scared off by loud noises, harsh lights, and people touching the eggs. They’ve also fallen into fishing nets.

Campaign to close beach all year

During the 2017 season, some 52 new nests were counted, the MME said.

Despite the success, some environmentalists in Qatar have been lobbying for Fuwairit beach to be closed all year long.

Fatimah Ashraf Khan/Flickr

Fuwairat Beach

The move would help protect the nesting turtles and their environment, they previously said.

Hawksbill turtles are very particular about where they lay their eggs, often heading to the exact same spot that they were born, or have previously nested.

This process can be disrupted by litter, ruts in the sand from driving and campfires that leave behind debris.

Thoughts?

Muhammed Salih/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

More than 80 percent of Qatar’s farms are considered “unproductive,” but a government-owned company is hoping to change that through a new initiative.

This week, Hassad Food announced the launch of Iktefa’ (sufficiency), a new plan to subsidize Qatari farms to help them bring “high quality products to the local market.”

Penny Yi Wang/Flickr

Farmer’s Market

Hassad said that under the initiative, it will:

  • Purchase the annual yield of local farms and resell them to the Qatar market;
  • Provide technical supervision and logistical support to farms; and
  • Develop feasibility studies for farms seeking financial support to build greenhouses.

Local farms are being invited to work with Hassad as it seeks to buy up to 5,000 tons of fresh produce a year initially.

In a statement, Hassad’s CEO Mohamed AlSadah said “We hope that through this important initiative, (we) will build bridges of cooperation with local farmers.”

Food security

Food security has been a growing concern for import-dependent Qatar.

The issue has taken on renewed importance this summer since the Gulf dispute began and the country lost some of its key food imports.

Hassad Food

Zulal Oasis

Hassad Food has long been working to shore up Qatar’s food supply. It has also been involved in getting the country food during this recent crisis.

It was established in 2008 and is a subsidiary of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority.

In addition to investing in local agriculture, Hassad has food-related projects in Australia, Pakistan and Oman.

According to its website, it is also eying future investments in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Thoughts?

Muhammad Kamran Qureshi/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Qatar’s high level of air pollution has earned it a spot on a new map that highlights the world’s most toxic countries.

The Gulf state ranked fourth worst on the list, which was published in January by UK-based Eco Experts and picked up by the Weather Channel this week.

The most toxic country was neighboring Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait and Bahrain. The UAE and Oman came just after Qatar on the index.

EcoExperts

World’s most toxic nations

To come up with the map, Eco Experts analyzed data from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Energy Agency. It zeroed in specifically on five factors:

  • Energy consumption, per capita;
  • Carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion, per capita;
  • Air pollution;
  • Deaths attributable to air pollution, per 100,00 capita; and
  • Renewable energy production.

Eco Experts

Asia and Middle East region

In a statement, SEO manager Jon Whiting explained the company’s motivations for coming up with the rankings.

“This research is a way of naming and shaming the worst offenders around the world. Their lack of action against emissions not only puts their populations at risk of deadly pollution-related diseases but also threatens the future of our planet.

These threats are not distant concerns for future generations; their effects are being felt now and lives are already being lost. This research highlights the need for every country to act fast and put more investment into renewable energy alternatives.”

Pollution problem

As an energy producing nation, it’s no surprise that Qatar has one of the largest carbon footprints in the world.

But Qatar also has poor air quality.

According to a 2016 WHO report, air pollution in Qatar vastly exceeds safe limits and is damaging the health of the population.

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

It stated that Qatar has the second highest levels of PM2.5 particles in the world, behind Saudi Arabia.

These types of particles are small and fine, making it easier to affect the respiratory system and thus particularly dangerous to health.

Exposure to fine PM2.5 particles can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, lung cancer and heart disease.

Recent research has also linked them to brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Qatar Foundation

QF solar project

Aware of the country’s dismal environmental record, Qatar has been working to invest more in renewable energy sources.

And last year, it signed onto the Paris Agreement, the first universal action plan to tackle global warming.

Thoughts?