1 PLASTIC BAGS OUT
From January 1, regular plastic bags which take hundreds of years to break down will be banned in the UAE. Instead, only eco-friendly “oxo-biodegradable” plastic bags will be allowed for use. Plastic bags pose danger to the environment and have been the scourge of camels, who die after ingesting them. The UAE currently consumes 20 billion bags annually out of a global figure of 500 billion. About 95 per cent of these bags are manufactured in the country.
2 FIRST PAEDIATRIC HOSPITAL
The Dh673-million Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, the first dedicated paediatric hospital in the UAE, opens next year. The 200-bed hospital, with 40 intensive care units, six dialysis facilities, 20 healing centres, 12 training rooms, eight operating theatres and 30 departments, will treat children up to 16 years of age. The 55,000 square metre hospital, located near Latifa Hospital, is designed with generous landscaping and includes a “healing garden” which contains bright, flowering and medicinal plants.
3 WASTE SORTING AT HOME
Residents in four areas in Bur Dubai as well as Jumeirah and Al Barsha must start segregating waste at home. The Dubai Municipality’s waste-segregation drive currently covers 3,770 Emirati homes in Dubai. From next year, expatriates’ homes will be added to the waste segregation drive for the first time.
4 NEW AIRPORT
The Al Maktoum International Airport’s passenger terminal opens in November. As the centrepiece of the $33 billion Dubai World Central (DWC) project, Al Maktoum is Dubai’s second hub and will be the world’s largest airport. Once complete, its five runways will handle around 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo annually. Business jet aviation operations will start early next year, just two years after cargo operations began. It will be the new home of the Dubai Airshow next year.
5 PROTECTION FOR PROPERTY INVESTORS
Investors will get legal protection against defaulting developers or fraud with a new law expected to be issued early in the year. It allows investors to get a refund in case of fraud, if a developer doesn’t complete or hand over a property within the agreed timeframe, or alters specifications without obtaining the necessary permits. Investors can also claim compensation for breach of any warranty or undertaking contained in the sale contract.
6 END OF TRAM ROADWORKS
Main works on the 10-km first phase of Al Sofouh tram are expected to end next year and will ease the lives of Marina residents. The tramway’s original opening date, though, has been postponed to November 2014. Once completed, the system will link three Metro stations: the Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Lakes Towers as well as the Palm Jumeirah monorail.
7 SOLAR POWER
Dubai homes and shops could be hooked up to Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Solar Park, expected to produce 10 megawatts (MW) when it opens. Dubai currently generates only 4.5MW from private, small-scale solar installations such as parking meters and landscape control system. This will be ramped up to 1,000MW by 2030. Dubai Aluminum has initially put down Dh20 million for the park. Dewa has sought Irena’s advice to help the emirate hit its target of getting 5 per cent of its energy from renewables by 2030.
8 GREEN MOSQUE
An eco-friendly mosque will rise in Dubai. Among its “green” credentials are: a roof garden that will temper punishing summer heat inside, solar heating of ablution water for up to 3,500 worshippers and the imam’s house, thermal insulation, natural lighting and recycling ablution water for irrigation and washroom supply. The 45,000-square foot mosque will rise near Dubai’s landmark Clock Tower in a 105,000-square-foot lot in the Bur Saeed area. More mosques in Dubai will undergo a retrofit to make them eco-friendly.
9 SUPERJUMBO TERMINAL
Dubai International Airport’s new concourse, the world’s first dedicated superjumbo A380 terminal, is set to open in the first quarter of the year. The Dh12.8-billion structure will be connected to the two public levels of Terminal 3 via an automated people mover (APM), with separate tunnels for vehicles and baggage. Emirates has 90 Airbus A380s on order and currently operates 29 of the superjumbos.
10 NEW TUNNEL
The Dh725-million Rashid Hospital roads and tunnels project is set to open in June. Aimed to ease traffic congestion around the hospital, it will link Bur Dubai with Deira through the Floating Bridge, which will eventually be replaced by the “Dubai Smile” bridge. The tunnels bring the road capacity located within this project to 6,000 vehicles per hour.
11 CROC PARK
Some 100 Nile crocodiles will find their way to a $10-million Dubai Crocodile Park. The 25,000-square-metre park is planned near the Dubai Safari in Mushrif. Dubai Municipality is talking to an operator that handles crocodile parks in other parts of the world. If all goes well, the park will open in September.
12 BIEBER MANIA
The teenage singing sensation is set to enthrall Dubai on May 4 at the Sevens Stadium. Concert tickets went on sale from September. Bieber’s Dubai gig is part of his Believe tour across the Middle East. Fan pit tickets are already sold out, according to promoters. Tickets: Dh350 (regular), Dh500 (premium). For more, go to www.justinbieberdubai.com
13 MUSIC AWARDS
Dubai is set to storm the world of music with the first Dubai International Music Award (Dima) at the Burj Park, Downtown Dubai, in November. More than 60 artists from over 20 countries are set to attend. The award aims to recognise well-known musicians and industry professionals internationally and in the Middle East. Nominees will be revealed in October and voted upon by an online voting system. Judges include American Hype Williams, Korean pop tycoon Rhee Woo Seok, Nomar Ayala (Daddy Yankee’s manager), singer Mokobe Traore from Mali along with Myriam Fares’ manager, Roula from Lebanon and UAE-based DJ Bliss.