Bahrain Ranked Top GCC Country in WEF’s Environmental Performance Index
The Kingdom of Bahrain has ranked first in the Gulf region and sixth in the Middle East in the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) issued at the World Economic Forum.
This important indicator of environmental development highlights the significant role played by Bahrain’s Supreme Council for the Environment (SCE) in developing environmental policies in the Kingdom and maintaining a safe environment.
Commenting on Bahrain’s performance, His Highness Shaikh Abdulla bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Personal Representative of His Majesty the King and President of the SCE said, “This significant achievement is recognition of the successful work carried out by the SCE and represents a key milestone in the Kingdom’s long-term environment protection and development plans.”
The SCE and relevant bodies within Bahrain pay close attention to the Environmental Performance Index due to its detailed findings and recommendations, and note that the report is considered an important international reference and environmental performance indicator that falls in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Looking to 2016 and beyond, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bindaina, the Chief Executive of the SCE said, “The SCE will continue to work diligently on exploring and developing new policies and safeguards which will help to maintain a clean, sustainable environment for Bahrain’s future generations.”
According to the report, the Kingdom of Bahrain achieved 70,07 points, while its score was 51,83 in 2014. Bahrain’s environmental performance has increased 7.45% in the last ten years which is a significant achievement and confirms the Kingdom’s commitment to the environmental sector.
Bahrain celebrates National Environment Day on 4 February every year. Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Personal Representative of His Majesty and President of the Supreme Council for Environment (SCE) has continuously stressed Bahrain’s determination to improve the environmental conditions of the Kingdom and to take all possible measures for pollution abatement and its conservation. His Excellency’s earnest desire is to enable all citizens and residents in the Kingdom to contribute in protecting the environment and maintaining its rich heritage to ensure continued economic growth, social service and commitment towards sustainable development.
The task of management and monitoring the environmental resources is with the SCE which under the leadership of Dr. Muhammad Mubarak bin Daina as Chief Executive is planning proactive projects and tasks and addressing all important national environmental issues on urgent footings.
Bahrain’s principal environmental problems have emerged due to rapid population growth, industrial development and commercialization leading to scarcity of fresh water, desertification, land management, waste management, impacts due to climate change, industrial and marine pollution. The SCE now works on major environmental parameters along with other government departments and organizations in conserving the fragile and finite environmental resources of the country.
The major environmental legislation of the country is Legislative Decree No. 21 of 1996 which restricts all forms of pollution and call for feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments for all new industrial projects. It highlights the penalties on violation and protection of environmental resources. It also targets any environmental misuse of resources and deals with illegal discharges to the marine waters which is another cause of environmental degradation.
The country has made appropriate environmental legislations, regulations and standards for air, water and soil. The regional and international conventions and protocols have been signed and ratified. All pollution generation enterprises, small, medium and large industries have to voluntarily submit Environmental Compliance Report to the SCE. No chemicals can be imported in the country without obtaining approval from SCE. The industries are inspected for their compliance with the national environmental standards.
National environmental day calls for celebration and organizing activities country wide remind all of their civic and environmental duties and what people can do in their own individual capacities to save local resources and avoid pollution. We need to understand that input of each individual counts. The positive thing is that environmental awareness in the country is growing and it has become a subject in major educational institutions. The media on the other hand is also playing a crucial role in enhancing awareness and is actively reporting on local environmental issues.
At a minimum, we need to conserve water and electricity, which are highly subsidized and generate minimum waste which ultimately land in quarry area occupying valuable space.
Let us be responsible citizen of the Kingdom of Bahrain and care for our fragile environment.
Head of Waste Disposal Unit, Supreme Council for Environment, Bahrain. (email@example.com)