Your Middle East
Last updated: 6 June, 2014

Here are some environmental facts about the UAE you might not know

Environmental protection and awareness is very much on the agenda in the UAE. But there is still a lot of room for improvement.

65 per cent of all green buildings in the MENA region are located in the UAE. The UAE is ranked ninth among the top 10 nations with the biggest energy-efficient buildings outside the US.

The UAE has the best overall rank in MENA in the Environmental Performance Index – 25 of 178 countries, but it ranks low in some areas such as energy and carbon intensity.

The country has the world’s third largest ecological footprint per capita. It moved down from the not so flattering first place a few of years ago.

Sharjah has air pollution reaching dangerous peaks similar to major metropolises like Mexico City, Beijing and Tokyo. Overall the UAE is one of the most polluted countries in the world, although it has the best global household air quality.

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Traffic in Sharjah.

More than 60% of overall waste generated from Abu Dhabi comes from construction and demolition: close to a thousand tonnes a day of debris.

The UAE is effectively using 20 times more groundwater than what’s being recharged, with significant depletion of the country aquifers. In some areas, there has been a decline of five metres per year.

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Desert two hours outside Dubai. Photo: Bashar Alaeddin

Dubai plans to cut its projected power and water use by 30 per cent by 2030. About 30,000 of the emirate’s 130,000 buildings could be subjects for efficiency improvements at a total cost of about 3 billion dirhams (USD 820 million).

Sources: Gulf News, Environmental Performance Index, Green Prophet, The National, Bloomberg.