Litter and its Consequences


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

Litter is a common menace one can witness in all urban areas. Streets, sidewalks, parking lots, roads and highways are mostly covered with food wrappers, soft drink and water bottles, plastic ba…

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Litter is a problem that can be controlled. Education is an important tool. People who are aware of the dangers of litter often make more of an effort to always put their trash in bins. They also spread the word to others they see littering and teach them to dispose of garbage the right way. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Challenges in Managing Pet Wastes


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

Pet waste is a growing public health and environmental risk. Household pet droppings may still be largely fated for disposal, but even when binned this waste is at least moving through proper waste management channels.  

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

People love animals, but are rather less keen to engage with pets as an environmental issue. Leaving aside questions of whether it is sustainable for so many of us to have pets at all, there are clearly ways in which we can reduce their impact. 

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

Earth Hour – Time for Action


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Earth Hour is aimed at asking individual, households and businesses to turn off their nonessential lights and other electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on energy conservation and climate change.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

The message is ‘Let us go beyond an hour and do more what we can to reduce the energy consumption and its impact on the environment.’ Plan and participate in the event for a better tomorrow.

See on www.ecomena.org

Marine Wastes – Causes and Solutions


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

Marine wastes, long a neglected topic, has started to garner some attention. Marine wastes is composed of a diverse mix of items from various sources and so a one-size fits all solution is unl…

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

The flow of material into the oceans vastly exceeds any practicable man-made method of extracting this growing soup of litter. The only way to tackle the issue is to prevent litter entering the oceans in the first place. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Composting in Qatar


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

Composting in Qatar is mainly done at the Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre (DSWMC) in Mesaieed, which houses the largest composting facility in the country and one of the largest in the world.  

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

This is a significant and commendable development in Qatar’s implementation of its solid waste management plan, which is to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover from waste, and to avoid disposing in landfills as much as possible.  

See on www.ecomena.org

A Glance at Sick Building Syndrome


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Sickness of buildings results from a group of factors associated with effects of high concentrations of toxic pollutants present inside the building. In many cases, occupant’s behaviors such as closing windows while using ACs in summer or central heating system in winter leads to an unhealthy indoor atmosphere due to poor ventilation,.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

To ensure elimination of SBS-related problems, several measures must be taken including improving the indoor air quality, as building sickness will diminish once the pollutant source is removed or modified.  Another key measure is repairing or replacement of ventilation system to meet ventilation standards in the local building codes. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Rationale for Protecting Wetlands


See on Scoop.itWater Board

Wetlands are wonderful for numerous reasons but these wonders weren’t always known to man and it was often common to overlook the importance of this distinct ecosystem. The mention of a wetla…

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

The structure of wetlands enables them to absorb rainfall and thus reduce the volume of water that enters into rivers and streams which naturally lowers the risk of flooding. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Environment Protection Outlook for the Middle East


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Environmental protection has become an increasingly important item on the social and economic policy agenda of Middle East nations. Having studied in Cairo and visited Doha and Dubai several times, I can attest to the environmental degradation occurring in the Middle East. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

It would be beneficial to draw upon the Islamic environmental traditions in marketing to the Arab world, in addition to leveraging the example of other locally-relevant respected religious and social figures. Essentially, the success of any environmental initiative stems largely from it being seen as fashionable and easy to do. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Moving Beyond the Niche in Green Sector


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

The problem with green products, even the ones that are actually effective/not green-washing, is that they still fall into a niche category. Every product out there, from solar PV installation services to biopolymer household disposables, is made for everyone – yet very often not marketed to everyone or used by everyone, at least not a percentage worth celebrating.  

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Encouraging consumer behavior includes thinking on that level; it’s why superficiality has successfully trumped the grandness of the planet’s dilemma for decades. The entire concept of “recycling hasn’t proven effective either in technicality or in adoption as a mass behavior, so let’s recycle harder” is not smart environmentalism.

See on www.cleantechloops.com

Global Waste Management Trends


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

Waste management is highly context specific. Therefore it is important to distinguish between the conditions in the Global North and the Global South. Recent ILO figures suggest that 24 million people around the world are involved in the informal waste recycling sector, 80% of whom are waste …

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

The composition of waste is also very different in the Global South where organic waste is a much larger percentage of the waste stream. Because of the high percentage of organics in the waste stream in many cities in the Global South, innovations in decentralised composting and small scale biogas have been seen across the Global South (particularly in India) and can be used effectively by the informal sector, making a zero waste future a real possibility.

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

Unending Benefits of Connected Vehicles


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Connected vehicles technology is a wireless-based technology which enables vehicles (light as well as heavy) to instantly communicate with each other, through an onboard installed device that recei…

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

The system focuses on improving air quality, reducing GHG emissions and decreasing fuel consumption. Connected vehicles technology is a good tool to mitigate climate change and achieve emissions reduction targets.

See on www.ecomena.org

Dealing with Plastic Wastes


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

While use and consumption of plastic is increasingly high, doubts about viable options for reuse, recycling and disposal are also on the rise. Complications such as the increasing number of additives used alter the strength, texture, flexibility, colour, resistance to microbes, and other characteristics of plastics, make plastics less recyclable. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Plastic waste directly and indirectly affects living organisms throughout the ecosystem, including an increasingly high impact on marine life at a macro and micro scale. 

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

Water Insecurity and the Paths to Global Water Security


Salman Zafar:

The road to worldwide water security is a holistic one that includes many factors. For clean water to be allocated equitably and sustainably, we all have a role to play in the fight against water barons and food barons, and we have to try to be stewards of our environment.

Originally posted on What Controls Us:

I wrote this for a presentation in my ENS class. It was too long to finish, so I thought I would post it. It deals with humanitarian issues like water security and how it is connected with food security, farming practices, waste management and infrastructure.

Some basic water facts: 

 

bonding_types-water

Water Molecule Showing Shared Electrons

As many know, water itself is composed of H20 molecules, containing two hydrogen atoms with one oxygen atom held by covalent bonds. Fresh water has a salt concentration of less than 0.1%. Water exists in three phase states as a gas, liquid and solid. Temperature and gravity change the phase state of water.

Life evolved from nucleic acids in water aided by the hydrologic cycle, and water is vital for all known forms of life. [1] The human body contains 55 to 78% water and requires at least one liter of water per day. [2] Water…

View original 4,264 more words

Motivating Green Building Around the World


Salman Zafar:

Colombia is disproportionately affected by climate change. There have been huge floods that have killed many people and destroyed entire towns. Now, developers and the government are realizing that the costs of not investing in green infrastructure are exceedingly high. More that 50% of new buildings in Colombia are green buildings.

Originally posted on City Mentality:

Sustainable design has been a major buzzword this year. Everyone is attempting to hop on the green craze to make their business responsible, forward thinking, and up to date. Whether those are legitimate efforts or throwing around unregulated words like “natural” and “sustainable,” depends on the business. But, one of the good things to come out of the sustainable design buzz, is that green building is actually rising globally because people’s perceptions are changing and the barriers are dropping. I think that’s a good thing and CEO of Colombia’s Green Building Council and Former President of Singapore’s Green Building Council, both of whom I saw on a panel at Greenbuild, agree.

Colombia

Colombia's Hotel Virrey has a vertical garden with 25,000 plants. Image courtesy of inhabitat.com.

Colombia’s Hotel Virrey has a vertical garden with 25,000 plants. Image courtesy of inhabitat.com.

Colombia is disproportionately affected by climate change. There have been huge floods that have killed many people and destroyed entire towns. Now, developers…

View original 350 more words

Insights into Computer Recycling


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

A recycling company should apply the rules of the Waste Hierarchy when recycling old computers, whatever the age. For example in this case, reuse is the most favoured recycling technique, followed by recovery of working parts then recycling the materials contained within. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

As long as the recycling of older equipment is performed ethically and responsibility, we can reduce the environmental impact. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Informal Recycling Sector in Latin America


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Some cities in Latin America are facing this challenge by integrating the informal sector recyclers who are already active in their cities into the municipal solid waste management systems. In many cities, these “recicladores”, “cartoneros” or “catadores” (a few of the many names used for these workers in the region) are responsible for up to 90% of the recyclable waste recovered from the waste stream.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Informal recyclers provide important a range of services to municipalities (such as waste collection and recovery in communities that would not otherwise have access to them), as well as cost savings (for example, the extension of landfill life and reduced transport costs), yet are rarely compensated for these benefits.

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

Synthetic Biology and Biogas Industry


See on Scoop.itRenewables

Essentially a process operating by living organisms, the biogas industry is a natural target for synthetic biology. Among numerous microbes in anaerobic digester, methanogenic Archaea are one of a few microbial groups that have been extensively studied, and a number of genetic tools are available for engineering via synthetic biology. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Synthetic biology also holds great potentials to revolutionize the biogas industry. To achieve this goal, joint efforts between the biogas industry and academia must be made. The former side needs to understand what synthetic biology can achieve, while the latter side should identify which parts of the process in the biogas industry can be re-designed and optimized by synthetic biology. 

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

Roadblocks in Waste-to-Energy Implementation


See on Scoop.itEnergy Blog

The biggest obstacle to the implementation of Waste-to-Energy (or WTE) lies not in the technology itself but in the acceptance of citizens.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Waste-to-Energy or recycling has kept public discourse from questioning whether there may not be intermediate or case specific solutions. This polarization serves to move the conversation nowhere. For now it can be agreed that landfills are devastating in their contribution to Climate Change and must be done away with. 

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

Food Security in Qatar


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

The cultivation of food crops is a difficult proposition for Qatar due to scarcity of water supply and limited availability of arable land. The country is vulnerable to fluctuations in international commodity markets because of heavy dependence on imported grains and food items. The increasing dependence on foreign food imports is leading to a growing sense of food insecurity in Qatar.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Limited land availability, chronic water scarcity and constraints in agricultural growth have led to growing concerns about food security.in Qatar

See on www.ecomena.org

Sustainability in Buildings


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Building construction and operation have extensive direct and indirect impacts on the environment. Buildings use resources such as energy, water and raw materials, generate a variety of wastes and emit potentially harmful gases. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Countries around the world are taking steps towards implementing sustainable design in the building sector. However most of them are still far from reaching the intended targets.  T

See on www.ecomena.org

More action necessary towards banning plastic bags


Salman Zafar:

Places such as England, New Delhi and South Australia are also eliminating plastic bags through bans and taxes. When China enacted a ban on plastic bags, it saved 1.6 million tons of petroleum that would have been used for production.

Originally posted on Kalli Ricka Wolf:

Walk down almost any street in Tucson and you’re bound to see plastic grocery bags in the sewer drains, stuck in bushes and cactuses. Our windy environment makes for a storm of plastic bags being picked up and blown around, which makes them an eyesore and a threat to our desert ecosystem. Before the problem gets more out of hand, the city ought to place a tax or ban on plastic bags.

More than one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually, according to Reuseit.com, but only 1 percent of them are recycled.

“If you’ve never looked at this issue before, you could be astounded and overwhelmed,” said Leif Abrell, a scientist who works in the Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants at the UA. “It’s insane how much material is out there, and there are different ways that this is a problem for our environment.”

View original 633 more words

Making a business case for Sustainable Development


Originally posted on Corporate Sustainability :

The rapidly growing world population and the pressure it is putting on the environment and natural resources, has raised many concerns. The apprehensions shared by the global community pertain to the question – how Sustainable will such a development be in the long term?

Of late, Sustainable Developments a topic that has been cropping up in a number of conversations the world over. The concept is not new and over the years has gained attention and importance in the numerous world summits. Sustainable Development is a complex term that involves numerous issues concerning environment as well social and economic changes, all of which are inter-related. Brundtland Commission (1987) captured the definition in a simple and concise manner: “Development that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Sustainability in the context of businesses is an approach that aims to…

View original 339 more words

Hazards of Olive Oil Wastes


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

Due to its complex compounds, olive processing waste  is not easily biodegradable and needs to be detoxified before it can properly be used in agricultural and other industrial processes. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Even a small quantity of olive wastewater in contact with groundwater has the potential to cause significant pollution to drinking water sources. The problem is more serious where chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Biogas Production in Tanneries


See on Scoop.itEnergy Blog

Anaerobic digestion of tannery wastes is an attractive method to recover energy from tannery wastes. This method degrades a substantial part of the organic matter contained in the sludge and tannery solid wastes, generating valuable biogas, contributing to alleviate the environmental problem, giving time to set-up more sustainable treatment and disposal routes. Digested solid waste is biologically stabilized and can be reused in agriculture.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

When the locally available industrial wastewater treatment plant is not provided by anaerobic digester, a large scale digestion can be planned in regions accommodating a big cluster of tanneries, if there is enough waste to make the facility economically attractive. In this circumstance, an anaerobic co-digestion plant based on sludge and tanneries may be a recommendable option

See on www.bioenergyconsult.com

What does 3D Printing mean for Waste


See on Scoop.itWaste Waste Everywhere

3D printing is something of a double-edged sword when it comes to waste. It creates new recycling problems, but has considerable potential to help prevent waste. It could even be an outlet for recycled plastics. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

3D printing offers numerous challenges and opportunities to the waste management industry. The best approach would be for the waste management industry to engage positively with the designers and manufacturers of the 3D printing devices, trying to identify opportunities to ensure that the circular economy doesn’t become an afterthought.

See on www.ecomena.org

Islam and Nature


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

There are over 6,000 verses in the Holy Quran of which more than 500 deal with the natural phenomenon. Allah, the Almighty, repeatedly calls on mankind to reflect on His signs, which include all aspects of nature such as trees, mountains, seas, animals, birds, stars, the Sun and the moon and our own hearts. Islamic jurisprudence contains regulations concerning the conservation and allocation of scarce water resources;

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Humans have the capacity to subvert the world, far more than any other living species. We also have the capacity to uphold the physical world. Islam believes that all human souls come from a garden, and that at the end of time each soul will either enter the garden or the fire. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Green Lessons from Hadith


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Prophet Muhammad categorically taught people to live on less, to protect animal and plant life, and to worship the Creator by being merciful to the creation. What is also distinctive about Prophet Muhammad’s advice is the connection between ethical practices and the eternal effects in the life after death, which represents a greater incentive for Muslims to care for the earth and its resources.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Animals have a huge role in the ecological welfare system. The tenets of the Shariah law towards animal rights make it obligatory for any individual to take care of crippled animals, to rescue strays and to guard a bird’s nest of eggs.

See on www.ecomena.org

EcoMENA – Sustainability Hub for the Middle East


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

EcoMENA came into existence in early 2012 with the primary aim to raise environmental awareness in the MENA region and provide a one-stop destination for high-quality information on environment, energy, waste, water, sustainability and related areas.

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

EcoMENA provides encouragement to people in tackling major environmental challenges by empowering them with knowledge and by providing them a solid platform to share their views with the outside world. With soaring popularity of social media, networking plays a vital role in assimilation of ideas, knowledge-sharing, scientific thinking and creativeness.

See on www.ecomena.org

The Promise of Seawater Desalination


See on Scoop.itWater Board

Water scarcity is a major problem in many parts of the world affecting quality of life, the environment, industry, and the economies of developing nations. 

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

Recent researches indicate that we can produce that much freshwater with less than 1 kWh of electricity, and no other paid-for source of power is needed. This process is fuelled by concentration gradients of salinity between different vessels of brine. 

See on www.ecomena.org

Rural Culture in Islam


See on Scoop.itFostering Sustainable Development

Rural culture developed magnificently during medieval times in the Islamic Mediterranean countries. It has left its mark on many aspects of daily life in the countryside, from Sicily and the Spanis…

Salman Zafar‘s insight:

For Muslims, tending the land is anamanah, a responsibility, because during their time on earth they are mere khalifah (or vice-regent), and are obliged to use the land with moderation and balance. In Islam, work in itself is an act of adoration, and if the work involves cultivating the land, the benefit multiplies.

See on www.ecomena.org