Drones assist inspectors from Dubai Municipality in ensuring industries adhere to regulations. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Municipality is employing aerial drones to nab industrial polluters who are harming air quality across the emirate, said a municipal spokesperson on Thursday.

Drone inspections helped slash industrial environmental violations by 47 per cent in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year, thanks to growing awareness by the industry of the modern pollution-tracking equipment, consultation and inspections.

Companies that flouted environmental laws were also found out through drone inspections.

Aliah Al Harmoudi, director of Environment Department in the municipality, said the number of violations with regard to obtaining environmental permits was 55 per cent lower in the period from January to June this year compared to the same period last year, while violations related to protection of air from pollution decreased by 24 per cent.

“We have expanded the scope of the use of drones to include all industrial areas in the emirate, in addition to the development projects, to monitor and control any pollution emanating from industrial activities and projects in order to enhance the environment protection opportunities in the emirate,” said Al Harmoudi.

“The cement manufacturing facilities operating in the emirate have committed to install air pollution monitoring stations and link them with the municipality’s air quality database in order to speed up procedures in case of exceeding permissible environmental limits,” she said.

“All industrial plants that generate large quantities of air pollutants and odour elements have committed to install pollution and odour control units.”

Al Harmoudi pointed out that the department has prepared a long-term plan for the licensing of industrial and service projects in the emirate. The department started issuing environmental permits in 2016 for certain projects that did not require these permits earlier.

During inspection campaigns, the municipality found that many industrial and service establishments were carrying out their activities without obtaining the environmental permits that require complying with stipulated standards by the operators, she added.