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H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Opens Inaugural Clean Air Forum

12/10/2017

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Abu Dhabi - 10 December 2017: The region's first Clean Air Forum and Future Air Quality Technology Exhibition by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi (DED) was opened by H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE's Minister of Climate Change and Environment at the St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort today.

The event started with a welcome address by H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, followed by a keynote speech by H.E. Khaleefa Salem Al Mansoori, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi. The first day of the event also included presentations by Salman Abdulla, Executive VP – HSSEQ and Business Transformation, Emirates Global Aluminum; Len Hunt, President, Automotive, Al-Futtaim Automotive Group and Fadi Ghosan, Chief Marketing Office, Nissan Middle East.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi in its Abu Dhabi State of Environment Report 2017[1] has observed that trends in sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions are consistent with increases in electricity production, water desalination, motor vehicles and various industrial fuel combustion activities. Ozone is emitted from oil and gas activities, some industrial processes, petrol stations and transport, as well as from biogenic sources such as vegetation. Ambient air quality monitoring measurements indicate that these pollutants generally remain within national limits. Background levels of particulate matter remain high in the Abu Dhabi Emirate due to the arid nature of the region.

"Air pollution is the world's single largest health risk according to the WHO – Over 3.7 million deaths per annum are attributed to outdoor air pollution. It is therefore in all of our interests as global citizens to find workable solutions to tackle the problem of air pollution for the health and well-being of our people. We need to create a step-change in our ability to improve our environmental sustainability. This requires better monitoring of air quality, understanding of data, regulation of emitters and enforcement mechanisms. We need improved awareness and understanding of the issues; new, better, innovative technologies and stronger public–private sector partnerships to bring about the changes that we must implement.  Undoubtedly, this step-change will create numerous commercial opportunities to contribute to the Green Economy," said Her Excellency Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.

"Sustainability is a key pillar within UAE Vision 2021 and Abu Dhabi Plan. Bringing together federal and local authorities and experts from various industries and economic, environmental and health pillars of society, the Forum highlights the latest research, techniques and methodologies to improve air quality, but I hope it will also be a catalyst for future collaboration and development," she continued.

In Abu Dhabi, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi manages 20 ambient air quality monitoring stations and from 2014 these were linked with networks managed by ADWEA, ZonesCorp, ADNOC, Dubai Municipality and the National Center of Meteorology and Seismology to provide a more holistic coverage of Abu Dhabi and the UAE. These stations monitor particulate matter (PM10, PM2.5), ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

H.E. Khaleefa Salem Al Mansoori, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development – Abu Dhabi added, "The UAE is one of the world's fastest developing countries, and with rapid growth comes a need for proactive efforts to ensure the highest quality of life for our citizens and residents. In line with the UAE Vision 2021, we are collaborating closely with strategic government and private sector partners including the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the Industrial Development Bureau to improve the performance of the industrial sector and reduce the level and impact of air pollutants through legislation, regulations and policies, safeguarding the continued success of our nation."

The event is curating the latest regulatory, updates, research, cutting-edge technology and top methodology for ensuring sustainable means of reducing ambient pollution and improving air quality. It further highlights the importance of continuous air monitoring and the impact of outdoor and indoor air pollutants on public health in the region.

Svante Wallin, President, OPSIS delivered a presentation on the importance of accurate air pollution monitoring and the use of the monitoring results.  A roadmap can be built to use the data for both reporting and to map emissions.

A panel moderated by Pr. Dr. Eric Canal Forgues Alter, Head of Law, Economics, and Management Department, Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi discussed the current international, regional and national air policy framework, prevalent global emission standards on common pollutants as well as local air pollution policy and management in the UAE to meet the UAE Vision 2021.

The panel featured Dr. Mohamed Yousef Al Madfaei, Executive Director, Integrated Environment Policy & Planning, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi; Dr. Martin Heger, Environmental Economist, The World Bank; Eng. Mazen Malkawi, Advisor, Environmental Health Exposure, World Health Organization and Dr. Farid Chaaban, President, AZM University.

Mohammed Sa'adat Al Alam, Sr. Specialist – Air, Noise & Climate Change Policy & Regulation, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi introduced the latest regulations for different industrial sectors and ambient pollutants in the Emirate.

Azmi S. Aboul-Hoda, Board of Governors, Member, ASHRAE Falcon (UAE) highlighted the ASHRAE Guide for buildings in hot and humid climates was used to resolve indoor air quality and humidity challenges in a hotel project in Muscat, Oman, and the importance of following these standards within the region.

A panel moderated by Monir Bou Ghanem, Director Environment Policy and Planning Division, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi discussed current estimates and status of indoor air quality and its effect on respiratory and other diseases.

Panelists included Najwa Abdulwhed Al Bastaki, Senior Specialist in Public Health and Environmental Health Expert, Dubai Health Authority and Najwa Mohamed, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Centers and Clinics Office, Ministry of Health.

GEMS Kindergarten Starters – Dubai's pilot study on the 'Learnometer', a first prototype for checking classroom air quality and surprising results showing reduced symptoms of ADHD in affected children was presented by Phil Redhead, Head of Digital Strategy, GEMS Education and Asha Alexander, School Principal, Kindergarten Starters Dubai - Part of GEMS Education.

The third panel of the day discussed the role of research and public private partnerships for improved monitoring to improve air quality. This was moderated by Oriol Teixido, Scientist - Air Quality & Noise, Environment Quality, Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi with Salem Bin Shabib, Acting Director – Special Projects Office, Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi; Dr. Hashem Stietiya, Head of Environmental Consulting, Bee'ah and Dr. Mohammad Aref, OSH Expert, Ministry of Human Resources & Emiratisation joining the discussion.

Sultan Al Harthi, Estidama Assessments & Compliance, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council; Carine Saliba, YEA Committee Chair, ASHRAE Falcon and Michel Francis, Chief Architect, DEC analyzed upcoming green codes for HVAC and other central cooling units and their positive contribution to improved indoor air quality. They detailed economic benefits in energy cost savings and reducing public healthcare expenditure on respiratory diseases as key drivers in the panel that was moderated by Carlos Amaya, Senior Specialist Conformity Scheme Services - Product Conformity, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council.

Emirates Global Aluminum, Al-Futtaim Motors (Toyota), Nissan LEAF, Emirates Transport, OPSIS, Gulf Advanced Control Systems and Mist Air are sponsors of the Forum. The two-day event is a platform for federal and local regulators as well as environmental and sustainability experts from various industries to exchange knowledge and experiences regarding environmental policy development; innovation and technology adoption. For more information, please visit https://cleanairforum.iqpc.ae/


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