Environmental Awareness

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Sum total of all surroundings of a living organism, including natural forces and other living things, which provide conditions for development and growth as well as of danger and damage.

Kuwait - Environment

The Persian Gulf War of 1991 and its aftermath caused severe environmental problems for Kuwait, releasing large quantities of oil into the environment and threatening the water supply. Kuwait has no renewable water resources and must rely on wells and desalination of sea water. The nation has some of the largest and most advanced desalination plants in the world, which provides much of its water. Kuwait's cities produce an average of0.9 million tons of solid waste per year. In 2001, one of Kuwait's mammal species and three of its bird species were endangered. The slender-billed curlew and hawksbill turtle are on the endangered list. The Sa'udi gazelle has become extinct in the wild.

Kuwait environment 'highly polluted'

Kuwait does not purport to be a tourist destination and it is unlikely to adopt such a position in the foreseeable future. On first appearances its physical geography seems to be quite limited, comprising as it does a predominantly desert landscape. Closer inspection, however, reveals a number of interesting features. First, there is the desert itself which, as those who have spent time in search of the country's natural delights will attest, has some rewarding environments with plants and animals that show fascinating adaptations to Kuwait's extreme temperatures. There are several distinct regional or localized features such as Jal Az Zor escarpment and ridge; Jahra marshes; Umm al-Rimam; Wadi Al Batin; Umm Niqa and the sand dunes of southern Kuwait. One of the richest biotopes is Kuwait's marine environment, both its shores and its underwater life. Here there are gems to be discovered that would satisfy even the most sceptical of visitors who felt that such an intensively developed country has little left to offer nature-lovers. And finally, beyond its mainland coastline are Kuwait's islands: Bubiyan, Failaka, Mishan, Umm al-Nammel, Auhhah, Kubbar, Qaruh and Umm al-Maradim.

Gulf War Aftermath
Kuwait is one of the most polluted countries in the Gulf region, with its marine life, atmosphere and soil degrading to alarming levels, said Dr Hamad Al-Mutar, Head of Kuwait's Green Peace Organization and a Chemistry professor at the Kuwait University. He added that the Cabinet's failure to address this issue and devise an effective mechanism to resolve it.

Among other reasons, he cited the aftermath of burning more than 700 oil wells during the 1991 Iraqi invasion. A thick, black cloud was formed that contained several hydrocarbon substances which harmed all aspects of the environment for at least five months.

Dr. Al-Mutar was speaking during a seminar organized by the Socialists Association titled, 'Our Environment Is In Danger.' He added that the United Nations has recommended that these hydrocarbon substances be treated biologically instead of thermally. This is because in this method, substances are burnt at 1,500 degree Centigrade.

However, he said that the Kuwaiti government has neglected this issue, clarifying that the UN had contacted four countries (Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and provide them with compensations for eco-reform at a value of $5 billion. While all the three other countries replied to the UN within two weeks of receiving the notice, Dr. Al-Mutar said that Kuwait sent its reply after a year and a half.

Furthermore, Dr. Al-Mutar said that this inactivity on the Kuwaiti government's behalf has forced the UN to issue warnings to Kuwait. He also noted that Kuwait's soil has been almost completely polluted (ninety million square meters contaminated), adding that this has a detrimental effect on Kuwait's agriculture, making produce unfit for consumption.

Dr. Al-Mutar pointed out that Umm Al-Haiman...
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