How is Abu Dhabi regulating Marine Water?

23 August 2021

Enviro Chat

The Abu Dhabi emirate has introduced a new piece of legislation aimed at safeguarding its coastal waters and the marine life which inhabits them. The regulation has been designed and will be enforced by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and will come into effect on a staggered basis over the next two years.

Among other things, the law will regulate the discharge of liquid waste into marine environments as a consequence of land-based activities. It also defines best practices for licensing applications and environmental impact assessment studies, as well as augmenting the existing EAD standards for industry and development.

The first of its kind

The standards that are outlined in the legislation are concerned with both the water quality and the sediment beneath the waves in protected areas along Abu Dhabi’s coast. They also include all public areas which are not deemed as protected marine habitats, making them the first such standards to be introduced in the region.

Meanwhile, the regulations also cover the discharge of effluent into those environments as a result of anthropogenic activity on land, which is another first for the emirate. The laws have been devised after thorough consultation with international best practices and contain caveats intended to future-proof the environment in a sustainable manner.

A victim of its own success

One of the reasons why the Abu Dhabi coastline has deteriorated in terms of water quality in recent years has been the rapid expansion and development that the city and its surrounding environs have enjoyed. An explosion in the local population, alongside Abu Dhabi’s rising status as a tourism hotspot, have led to a surge in construction, marine transport and other industrial activities.

While these developments have been excellent for the Emirati economy and the country in general, they have taken their toll on the natural environment. This has been particularly notable with regard to the marine habitats surrounding Abu Dhabi, which is why the EAD have made strides towards addressing the issue through the implementation of the new regulation.

A greener future

The marine water regulations are just part of a concerted effort by the Abu Dhabi authorities to move towards an eco-friendlier infrastructure and lifestyle. As a part of the world which regularly struggles with drought and water scarcity, it may behove the UAE government to investigate the possibility of making Abu Dhabi and Dubai a smart water city, since this could help to conserve a precious resource and protect the environment in one fell swoop.

In any case, the new regulations are another step in the right direction towards a greener tomorrow. The EAD is also hatching plans to replenish fishing stocks and work with fishing communities to ensure their sustainability going forwards, as well as introduce measures aimed at preserving and encouraging biodiversity in the waters off the emirate’s coast.

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