DUBAI, The Dubai Municipality has recorded a 47 percent decrease in environmental violations committed by industrial establishments in the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.

Alia Al Harmoudi, Director of the Environment Department in the municipality, said that most of these violations were related to obtaining environmental permits and protection of air from pollution.

She said the percentage of violations with regards to obtaining environmental permits was 55 percent from January to June 2018 compared to the same period last year, while violations related to the protection of air from pollution decreased by 24 percent between January and June 2018 compared to the same period last year.

Al Harmoudi stated that 444 environmental permits have been issued for industrial and service projects in the first half of this year. "As for the infrastructure projects, the number of environmental permits issued in the first half of this year increased up to 60 percent compared to the same period in 2017. There has been a 140 percent increase in the number of permits for storage of dangerous goods for the first half of this year, which amounted to 397 compared to 164 of 2017," she added.

She further revealed that the department has implemented a series of effective policies and procedures during the current year, which reflects positively in the different sectors of the environment, through which the municipality had many environmental achievements related to enhancing environmental performance in the emirate. She added that these are in line with the objectives of the department aimed at achieving environmental sustainability and supporting all environmental policy areas included in the UAE Vision 2021.

Explaining that the Environment Department is keen to employ the latest technologies and follow the best international practices in the field of environmental monitoring, she said, "We have expanded the scope of the use of drones to include environmental monitoring and control in all industrial areas in the emirate, in addition to the development projects, to monitor and control any pollution cases emanating from industrial activities and projects in order to enhance the environmental protection opportunities in the emirate."

She said that the drones are characterised by high-quality specifications, which enable users to shorten the time and effort and obtain accurate results, in addition to the ability to carry weights and flying to heights of up to 500 meters. They are equipped with professional cameras capable of night and panoramic photography accurately.

Al Harmoudi pointed out that the effective use of drones contributes to shortening the time taken by the inspection team, reducing the need to move to different locations, especially in environmental emergencies. "This technology also contributes to achieving sustainability standards by rationalising fuel consumption by reducing vehicle movements of the inspection team, thus contributing to the reduction of carbon emission and environmental protection," she added.

She explained that the department has achieved a 14 percent increase in the number of requests for agricultural soils for individuals, companies and government agencies within the period of service from January to June 2018, compared to the same period of last year, with 334 applications completed during the first half of 2018 compared to 293 in the same period of 2017. As for the protection of fisheries, the number of permits granted in the field of recreational fishing until the end of the first half of this year was 686, while the percentage of commitment to environmental requirements in recreational fishing was 91.50 percent, Al Harmoudi said in conclusion.

Source: Emirates News Agency