The Gulf nation has been taking steps to move down in the ‘worst sustainability, air quality’ ranks, and the stations are among the latest.
To enhance the country’s ‘worrying’ air quality, Qatar has added six new stations to the national air quality monitoring network, bringing the total number of stations up to 26.
The stations were added by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, represented by the Environmental Monitoring and Laboratory Department, in coordination with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute at Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
The preliminary link to the stations has been completed, the ministry announced.
This enables broader monitoring of the nation’s air quality, reflecting the accomplishments and efforts authorities have taken to ensure its role in environmental protection is fulfilled.
The sustainable move comes as part of Qatar’s second national strategy for air quality management, which contributes to maintaining ambient air quality in accordance with international standards.
Qatar’s ‘worrying’ air quality figures
Statistics from several organisations have shed light on Qatar’s substandard air quality figures.
According to 2017 statistics by the World Bank, the Gulf state ranks third amongst five countries globally by the share of the population exposed to contaminated air, with over 91% of the breathable air being classified as polluted.
Nepal is at the top of the list with 99.7%, followed by Niger (94.1%), Qatar (91%), India (90.9%), Saudi Arabia (87.9%) and Egypt (87.9%).
As per the World Health Organisation, air with PM2.5 concentrations of more than 10 micrograms per cubic metre is considered harmful and toxic. Given the Gulf country’s exposure to unclean air, the proportion is much higher in comparison to other countries.
Another 2017 report by Earth Overshoot Day recorded Qatar as the top country with the poorest sustainability scores, stating that if everybody on the planet lived like Qatar’s population, 9.2 earths would be required to sustain life.
What is Qatar doing?
Following the emergence of the global warming statistics, Qatar has been actively working on improving conditions across the country over recent years.
The Gulf nation has engaged in major efforts to boost sustainability and environment preservation with several policies and plans ahead of the much-anticipated World Cup 2022.
In the last decade, major projects in infrastructure and transportation that follow the highest international standards have been executed by authorities, with the new stations opening coming last.
The ministry have also collaborated with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) to install air quality monitoring stations at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 tournament venues.
Five stations have already been installed around Qatar University training sites to improve air quality, in line with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Sustainability Strategy. Stations around Al Thumama and Education City stadiums are expected to follow shortly.
Authorities are also working towards establishing an integrated network of electric car chargers to provide cleaner and more sustainable transportation alternatives, and support the ministry’s plan to gradually transform the electric transport system.
Such efforts are crucial to Qatar, especially as the country works towards tackling the “worst sustainability, air quality” ranks.
The country announced plans last year to minimise emissions from Qatar’s LNG facilities by 25% and its upstream facilities by at least 15%.
“Qatar is the world’s largest LNG producer and, by implementing our Sustainability Strategy, we will play a decisive role in helping reduce the impact of climate change by implementing measures to curb emissions, produce LNG using the latest proven carbon reduction technologies, and compensating for residual emissions where necessary,” said the Minister of State for Energy Affairs Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi.
A 75% reduction in flare intensity across upstream facilities is also expected to take place.