Call for cleaner energy, better modes of transport
KUWAIT CITY, Aug 5: The Greenpeace researchers concluded that the Ahmadi city is among the most polluted cities, alongside Baghdad, Doha in Qatar, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, according to a study conducted by the organization, reports Al-Qabas quoting https://www.thenational.ae/. Tens of thousands of people are dying in the Middle East and North Africa each year due to pollution from burning fossil fuels.
The study by Greenpeace estimated there are 4.5 million premature deaths worldwide annually because of pollutants released by high-emission power stations and vehicle exhausts. Of these, 65,000 deaths occur in the Middle East each year due to pollution. Air pollution increases the incidence of chronic and acute illnesses and contributes to millions of hospital visits and billions of work absences globally due to illness each year. “Most of the Middle Eastern countries, their power sector or transport sector is relying on fossilfuel usage – mainly oil and gas, and diesel,” said Julien Jreissati, programme manager for Greenpeace Middle East and North Africa.
“The Gulf region has one of the highest (amounts) of solar energy in the world. They need to invest more and more in the solutions.” The new report, entitled Toxic Air: The Price of Fossil Fuels, showed that, while Egypt has the highest total deaths caused by pollution per year (32,000 compared to Lebanon’s 2,700), Lebanon has the highest death rate per 1,000 people (0.39 compared to Egypt’s 0.33).
A study carried out by the organization based on data collected in 2018, named Dubai as the most polluted city in the Gulf and the 10th most polluted worldwide for nitrogen oxides.
Since then, the UAE has introduced numerous initiatives to improve air quality including proposals for flexible working hours to stagger or reduce traffic. Dubai has also signed up to the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration, which aims to reduce use of vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
Other cities that Greenpeace researchers said were among the most polluted include Ahmadi in Kuwait, Baghdad in Iraq, Doha in Qatar, and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. In calculating their fatality figures, as well as the economic costs attributable to fossil fuel use, Greenpeace only considered human-generated pollution – mostly from burning coal, oil and gas.