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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Is Qatar going green, or just talking about it?


Qatar has become a big proponent of the “green” movement.

This week alone, the country celebrated Tree Planting Day, honored Earth Hour and announced plans to enforce strict green building standards starting in April.  It’s also holding an environmental fair this weekend at the Doha Exhibition Center.

But Qatar also has one of the world’s biggest carbon footprints and per capita household has one of the highest water consumption rates on Earth.

According to a report in today’s Peninsula, Qataris used 1,200 litres per person per day in 2009 and expats consumed 150 litres per person per day during the same year.

Why is there such a big disconnect between what the government is pushing for and how its residents are living?

Well, for one thing, the government subsidizes water and electricity here, so it costs next to nothing to use it. And in a country where there is rarely an opportunity to recycle our waste, where our garbage just disappears down a trash chute, the urgency to conserve just isn’t there.

But that doesn’t mean Qatar isn’t trying to change.

Rather than shying away from these problems, the country has called attention to them its National Plan, and proposed ways to tackle them.

According to the Peninsula:

To address the high consumption and wastage of water in the country and other water-related issues, the government will form a National Water Act by 2016, as part of the Qatar National Strategic Plan 2011-2016.

Qatar has become increasingly dependent on water produced from seawater, by means of costly and energy-intensive thermal desalination, which accounts for about half the water used in the country.

But with rapid population growth and urbanisation, the volume is soaring: use of desalinated water has tripled since 1995, reaching 312 million cubic metres in 2008.

Increasing demand of desalinated water is projected to continue — with heavy water losses, a growing population and higher household consumption.

To address these issues, Qatar is proposing a few things:

  • Teaching people why conservation is important and make it more expensive for them to waste electricity and water, with the aim of reducing consumption by 40 percent
  • Investing in equipment that will make water storage more efficient, lowering network water losses to 10 percent from the present 35 percent

Can you think of any other ways we can stop talking about going green and actually do it? I know ictQatar already has one!

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