Article image

Reducing emissions in the Middle East depends on private sector

Air pollution can cause a range of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region alone, approximately 125,000 people died due to air pollution-related diseases in one year.

The MENA region, like many parts of the world, could greatly benefit from policy changes meant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

However, according to a new study, expecting government intervention to combat pollution in this area may not be as effective as looking to private businesses to set an example and lead the way for greener solutions.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE) at the University of Surrey and published in the journal Atmospheric Environment.

The study aims to provide better strategies for monitoring and reducing greenhouse emissions in the MENA region.

“Our review has shown that private businesses in the MENA region have been successful in leading initiatives that reduce emissions – for example, SaudiAramco is successfully supporting national emission monitoring in Saudi Arabia,” said Prashant Kumar, the Founding Director of the GCARE. “It would be a good initiative to encourage companies to lead such emission reduction efforts in the future.”

The study examined businesses that have adopted new methods or technologies that help reduce pollution and uses these as examples to show how private businesses can have a big impact.

Kumar notes that the MENA region is responsible for 4.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions worldwide

Within the Middle East and North Africa, the energy sector accounts for 38 percent of CO2 emissions, which is why the researchers recommend shifting financial focus from the energy sector to public transportation.

Improving public transportation and making it a greener and more energy efficient system could help reduce emissions, as public transportation is still a major contributor to CO2 emissions.

Private companies could lead the way in reducing emissions as waiting for government intervention could be a long and less than fruitful endeavor.

“It is not feasible to ask this resource-constrained region to step away from the energy sector, but a focus on improving public transport infrastructure, together with encouraging businesses to implement emission control measures could go a long way in reducing the deadly impacts of pollution on the public health,” said Kumar.

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day