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Ashghal

Public Works Authority (Ashghal) is taking up new infrastructural projects to meet expanding need to urbanise the country’s landscape.

Euromonitor International reported, population of Qatar is to see an addition of 2.3 million people by the year 2030, with migration being the major driving factor. Hence, the existing infrastructure will not suffice to accommodate the additional population for which Qatar is preparing itself.

Infrastructural projects are also undertaken to increase Qatar’s capability to effectively host 2022 FIFA World Cup and further achieve its developmental objectives streamlined by Qatar National Vision 2030 by creating a sustainable infrastructure.

Since, traffic congestion is a major problem in Qatar, Ashghal has announced two road projects under its Infrastructure development valued $27 billion.

The  first road project, the Expressway Programme, expected to deliver approximately 800km of safe and efficient roads through the implementation of over 30 projects divided into 46 contracts, includes integrated infrastructure network equipped with state-of-the-art, reliable underground utilities, including storm water networks, electrical services and intelligent transport systems. The programme currently has 10 projects under construction with a total value of over $13 billion.

The second is the nationwide local area infrastructure programme to develop and upgrade local roads, drainage and new infrastructure across the country’s four regions namely BaniHajer North (Rawdat Egdaim), the Al Gharrafa Sewage Scheme and Rawdat AbalHeeran.

Ashghal is also planning to upgrade its existing infrastructure towards sustainability after receiving two sustainability awards, three-star GSAS certification in design and construction in MENA region by the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD). It will  be focussed on educational buildings, including schools and kindergartens, and health buildings, embodying the principle of conservation of natural resources, encouraging the use of recycled materials, and promoting the efficient use of water and renewable energy.

Ashghal has also announced plans to build 60-70 healthcare centres over the span of next 10 years of which, ongoing projects include four health centres in Muaither, Al Waab, Al Wajba and Al Jamaa, all of whom are achieving steady progress on schedule.

However, such infrastructural development planned to achieve long term goals, are bound to attract a lot of public inconvenience during the implementation process. Hence, it is important that Ashghal simultaneously plans to cause minimal public inconvenience and ensure that the project of sustainable infrastructure development is in sync with protection of labour rights too.

your health first

In last few years the country has witnesses increase in modernisation and economic development. This further led to change in eating habits with increased unhealthy and unhygienic eating is considered as “epidemiological transition”.

In the past, obesity and diabetes were a big problem, WHO World Health Survey for Qatar (2006) recorded that residents of Qatar suffer from high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, due the changed unhealthy eating habits and patterns. The survey indicated that almost 40% of the population is currently was obese and diabetes prevalence in the country., However, in the last 5 years people in Qatar have taken a turn of healthy living with a rise in gyms, diet and healthy restaurants, and more healthy options in supermarkets.

In the similar direction Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MEE) has now associated with Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) to promote sustainable living and healthy eating habits with its strategic program Sahtak Awalan – ‘Your Health First’.

Under this association MEE will extend all expertise and support to its program ‘Your Health First’. ‘Project Greenhouse’ is an important project that runs under WCM-Q programme ‘Your Health First.’ Which has already gifted greenhouses, seeds, and gardening equipment to 130 schools across Qatar to teach students how to grow a wide variety of fruit, vegetables, and herbs.

The project aims at connecting young children with the environment at the same time making them feel the importance of eating fresh produce for good health, and valuable lessons about environmental sustainability.

The association will now expand to project to more schools and make greenhouses is them with technical, material and scientific assistance for its next five year phase. The produce from these greenhouses will be offered for general sale to the community in Qatar at specially created market stalls, at good value prices, with all revenues from sales to be reinvested in the project to expand further.

The programme is much appreciated by various government authorities as this partnership will actively involve the community in the project and it is expected to create the required awareness and desired impact on a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in the country.

 

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Jun Ong/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

An inaugural index by Dutch firm Arcadis has ranked Qatar among the least sustainable countries in the world, though the Gulf state fared slighly better among its regional peers, coming in third.

The ARCADIS Sustainable Cities Index, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, a British third-party analysis and forecasting firm, examined 50 cities from 31 countries.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Summerbl4ck / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

To arrive at the findings, the survey ranked cities on the basis of three sub-categories – people, planet and profit – which corresponded to three dimensions of sustainability (social, environmental and economic).

Doha was ranked 41st out of the 50 cities overall. For two of the categories, its scores were relatively average.

In terms of social sustainability, including measures such as transportation infrastructure, health, education, income equality and green spaces, it came in 34th.

And it ranked 30th in economic sustainability, based on factors such as public transportation, commuting time, ease of doing business, property and living costs, GDP per capita and energy efficiency.

Environmental woes

But what appears to have pulled down its ranking is the environmental category, where Qatar came in dead last, based on its energy consumption, renewable energy, recycling rates, greenhouse gas consumption, drinking water, pollution, and sanitation.

ARCADIS Sustainable Cities IndexAccording to the report, despite Qatar’s 2030 vision to cut its carbon dioxide emissions, improve energy efficiency, minimize water wastage and invest in renewable energy solutions and environmental science and technology, the country still has the highest per capita carbon footprint in the world.

Other Gulf cities in the region also fared poorly in the index, with Dubai ranking 33rd, Abu Dhabi 34th, and Jeddah and Riyadh coming in at 43rd and 44th, respectively.

Several European cities came in the top 10, including Frankfurt, London, and Copenhagen. Hong Kong was 8th, Paris 16th and New York 20th.

The survey also noted that the trade-off between planet and profit was most starkly seen in the Middle East, where Dubai and Doha scored much lower on environmental factors than on economic ones.

Meeting demand

Notably, cities in the MENA region have also seen the highest real-term population growth over the past five years, with Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi experiencing a rise of over 30 percent.

The increase has put considerable strain on Qatar’s local infrastructure, with the government instituting numerous projects to broaden roads, revamp its public transportation system and open new hospitals.

In an attempt to beef up its food security, Qatar has opened several farmer’s markets, a poultry farm, its first organic farm, and has heavily invested in food production companies.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Lars Hammar/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Meanwhile, on the environmental front, Kahramaa announced plans in November to build Qatar’s first major solar power station in Duhail within two years, with a capacity of up to 15 MW of energy.

The station is expected to be one of many such upcoming projects, as Qatar aims to reach a national target of generating 200 MW of solar energy in the next five years.

The announcement came as Kahramaa noted a 12 percent increase in energy demand from September 2013 to 2014, and continued to project rising energy needs due to population growth.

The nation has also pledged to generate 2 percent of the country’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2020.

Kahramaa has since said that reducing the nation’s energy and water consumption would be one of its main priorities for a new five-year plan under its existing 2014-18 strategy.

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