There must always be a balance between the social and economic development of communities and the need to protect and conserve their environment and natural resources.
Abu Dhabi, which has a high carbon and water footprint — a measure of how much is created or used in the production of goods and services — is taking steps to reduce the impact of its human activities on the environment. This is necessary for the sustainable development of the emirate and to improve the quality of life of its residents. Much of the emirate’s energy is used for cooling and water desalination, which is necessary to maintain living standards, but has a huge impact on the environment.
Key initiatives to protect the environment include the use of renewable energy sources, the preservation and replenishment of its fresh water sources, the use of ecologically-friendly farming techniques and the reduction of pollution and waste products, like plastic bags. Campaigns by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and others are increasing awareness, among the public and companies, about what can be done to protect the environment.
These many different strategies and tactics are necessary because, as has been pointed out, environmental and economic development issues are closely intertwined.
However, while the efforts of the government and other organisations to ensure sustainable development is vital, every person in the UAE must take seriously his or her personal responsibility to reduce the impact on the environment and conserve its natural resources for future generations.