UAE to step up measures to protect marine environment

The UAE’s Ministry of Environment will step up measures aimed at protecting marine environment and conservation of natural resources as part of the government’s strategy to achieve sustainable development. The ministry will work out a number of policies and streamline existing regulations to prevent the extinction of marine life. The UAE Federal Minister of Environment and Water, Dr Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Regional Clean Sea Organisation (Recso) to develop a comprehensive national plan for the protection of the country’s marine environment and preserving its natural resources. The MoU is the first of its kind that binds the Ministry with a national and regional non-governmental organisation. While the MoU follows a set of other steps taken by the ministry to preserve marine environment, it will help set the basis for the much-needed long-term co-operation and co-ordination between the Ministry and Recso in taming potential hazards to marine life. “This is a well-studied step, which reflects one of the Ministry’s important tasks in the field of environment protection, fighting pollution and preservation of the country’s marine natural resources,” said Bin Fahad. “The Ministry of Environment and Water is aware of the significance and importance of effective response to human and marine activities which result in byproducts and hazardous material that harm marine environment. Swift action in this respect is one of the ministry’s fundamental tasks.” The first clause of the MoU considers the development of the first Comprehensive National Environment Plan, which addresses marine issues in co-operation with Recso. The plan will effectively respond to all urgent incidents of marine pollution derived by oil and marine industrial operations including shipping and pollution from other sources in the Gulf waters and shores of the UAE. “The MoU specifies the areas for co-operation between the Ministry and Recso in implementing the Comprehensive National Environment Plan and acquiring the machinery, equipment and qualified work force and identifying the areas of operation and centres. This will facilitate quick response and actions in cases of emergency and incidents when required,” said Khamis Juma Bu-Amim, Resco President and CEO The President of the National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia-Dubai, and the President Oil and Gas, Saleh bin Abdul Rahman Al Shamekh, said this step will draw the organisation into playing a wider role in the interest of the Gulf nations by ensuring a clean and safe sea. The Maritime Department of the National Transport Authority has since the beginning of this year turned down more than 100 applications for ships seeking to register under the UAE flag due to their failure to meet environmental standards. By Ashaba K Abdul Basti