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Economic Aspects | Natural Resource Aspects | Institutional Aspects | Social Aspects | Bahrain

NATURAL RESOURCE ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN BAHRAIN

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AGRICULTURE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status

Land is being protected by preventing indiscriminate waste dumping throughout Bahrain. Agricultural development has adopted a policy on the use of agricultural chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides) that is governed by the international regulations on safe use depending on their chemical, natural and biological properties to curb environmental pollution and control its impact. Bahrain is working toward enlarging the arable area, upgrade productivity, optimize utilization of available water resources and increase yield per hectare through soil conservation. There are projects for land reclamation, development of land drainage schemes, desertification control and organic fertilizer use.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information was provided by the Government of Lithuania to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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ATMOSPHERE

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Subsequent to the signing of the Framework Convention on Climate Change in Brazil in June 1992, a sub-committee was established in Bahrain to study and formulate a Country Action Plan to combat the threat to global warming and to promote sustainable development.

A national committee was set up to prepare a national strategy to execute the Agenda 21 program. Many meetings were held to define the priorities, and committees were formed to consider five environmental issues, one of which is protection of the atmosphere. This committee is chaired by Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research, with members representing the Ministry of Health, University of Bahrain, Ministry of Oil and Industry, Ministry of Works and Agriculture, Meteorological Office , Directorate of Electricity, Public Transportation Organization and the Bahrain Medical Society.

The main tasks of this committee are (1) To prepare a database about the atmosphere to support decision-makers; (2) to prepare a strategy for protecting ozone; (3) to suggest a procedure to protect the environment from the transboundary movement of pollutants; (4) to determine pollution effects on health from stationary sources; and (5) to suggest an action plan to protect the atmosphere.

In the sustainable development policy that results from these consultations, Climate Change is one of the six main priority issues.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

Bahrain being a low lying island and also oil-producing country is facing the impact of climate change both directly and indirectly. Since the early nineties great consideration has been given to climate change issues and representatives from Bahrain have participated in international meetings relating to this subject. Bahrain signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro in 1993 and verified it in December 1994.

The following lists main activities undertaken or in progress by Bahrain at various levels:

National

Regional

International

Environmental Affairs operates and maintains four automatic air quality monitoring stations around Bahrain. These sites are located at Manama, Askar, BATELCO earth station ( Ras Abu Jarjur) and Zallaq. The parameters monitored are sulfur dioxide, total reduce sulfur, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, ozone, methane, non-methane hydrocarbons and inhalable particulate(PM10) in the air. In addition, wind direction, wind speed, temperature, humidity and solar radiation are also measured.

The ranges of parameter found during the monitoring period did not exceed the international Ambient Air Quality Standard (AAQS) with exception of ozone and particulate which occur during the dust episodes. However, the concentrations of the pollutants shows a little spatial variation across Bahrain.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising  

No information is available

Information

Currently, Bahrain is preparing the first National Communication Report for the Secretariat of the Convention. This report will constitute the GHG Inventory and other related activities that address the mitigation of GHG and assess the impact and vulnerability to climate change on the environment.

Air pollution concentrations vary in time and place. The main pollutants are monitored continuously in order to meet the objective of air pollution management and control strategies. In order to assess the potential impact of the various air pollutants on human health and environment, it is necessary to have reliable information regarding pollution sources and their location, and this requires especially designed equipment. Thus, air quality monitoring programs are of fundamental importance in determining the air pollution, its sources, and provide the best prevention method.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  
No information is available

Cooperation

Bahrain ratified and acceded to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone layer and supports the endeavour of the international community to reduce the consumption of fully halogenated CFCs and Halons. It expressed its firm commitment to strengthen ozone layer protection by ratifying the Montreal Protocol on 27 April 1990 and the London Amendment on 23 December 1992. Bahrain's per capita consumption is <0.3 kg, and it is categorized as a developing country operating under Article-5 of the Protocol.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

Click here for national information from the Web Site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
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BIODIVERSITY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies  

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Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations  

At the National level the Bahrain Government has given considerable attention to the protection of Biodiversity. This has been translated into issuing regulations and informing institutions who are responsible for these issues. There is an ambitious plan to protect its rich Biodiversity for national and global good.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans

Bahrain's sustainable development policy contains six main priority issues, one of which is Biodiversity.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement 

The Environmental Affairs Agency has strengthened its relation with Governmental and non-Governmental organizations in order to facilitate executing its assignments. It has maintained its distinguished and goodwill ties with many establishments and companies from the private sector including non-governmental societies.

Programmes and Projects   

The Sustainable Development Policy contains the following project proposal:

1) to formulate a National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) for Bahrain for subsequent implementation which will ensure the protection; and 2) sustainable use of its Biodiversity in accordance with article 6 and 8 of the Convention.

The above two project proposals are in line with the SIDS and the Barbados Plan of Action. These proposals are as per the objectives of the UNCED 1992 and 1994 Global Conference for the Sustainable Development for SIDS. These projects highlight the priority areas and have strategic importance to the country as they address the core issues and major aspects, which are part of our national environmental agenda. Furthermore, the materialization of these projects will build and strengthen our existing capabilities and will integrate the diversified environmental activities already in progress. The projects will assist Bahrain in fulfilling itsr national duties, commitments and obligations towards Agenda 21.

These projects aim at conserving the ecologically fragile and finite environmental resources of the country which are already under great stress mainly due to population explosion, varied economical and commercial activities and industrial expansion. Both the projects proposed are complimentary to each other and supports the inter-disciplinary and integrated management approaches on environmental conservation, resources management and controlling activities on biodiversity.

The materialization of these projects will pave the way for better networking and development of new mechanism for planning and implementing projects on environmental conservation and activities related to biodiversity. The outcome and results will be coordinated and shared with other SID States and neighboring GCC countries.

The implementation of these projects are expected to yield quantification results in terms of pollution reduction, waste minimization, conservation of land and marine resources leading to economic benefits, improved public health, development and training of human resources, improved quality of life and enhanced environmental awareness among the people.

Status

Bahrain is very rich in Biodiversity. It possesses hundreds of species of flora and birdlife. Indeed one of its small islands is famous for having the world's largest colony of Cormorants.

Conservation of Biodiversity is therefore one of the most pressing issues at the national level

The following highlights actions undertaken or in progress:

National

Regional

International

State of Flora and Fauna in Bahrain

Vegetation covers most of the island, with over 200 species of flora so far identified, although the southern areas are certainly less well covered than the others. The northern and western coastal areas are heavily cultivated with date palm and alfalfa plantations and have been so for thousands of years. Artificial irrigation channels for the plantations have created a more diverse habitat, although the salinity of the irrigation water and very poor soil drainage restricts the diversity of the plant life to some extent. Typical of arid or semi-arid climates, the soils are known as pedocals. Water amounts are not sufficient to allow complete leaching, so sulfate and calcium carbonate (soluble salts) are found as a distinct layer in the profile of the soil.

The vegetation of the non-irrigated areas is made up of typical desert plants, in the main comprised of four different types, each with its own adaptation to survive in a desert environment. These are: Halophytes, with high salinity tolerance; Xerophytes, with tolerance to drought conditions; Phreatophytes, which utilize the underlying water-table; and Ephemerals, which are opportunistic plants that capitalize on infrequent favourable conditions by a very short life cycle and bypass extended adverse conditions by producing seeds that are able to lie dormant for many years, awaiting rain. However, all plants of arid and semi-arid regions can loosely and simply be termed Xerophytes.

Although fifty species of mammal occur on the mainland of Arabia, Bahrain can only boast thirteen terrestrial species confirmed as extant on the island.

Twenty-six avian species actually breed on the archipelago, but over 265 different species of birds have been recorded in recent years. This is a very high figure for such a small desert type of island and shows the attractiveness of the habitats for migrating birds. The coastal areas, extensive plantations, desert habitats and smaller islands attract enormous numbers of birds on their spring and autumn migration routes, which pass close by Bahrain. Between central Eurasia and Africa an estimated 2-3 thousand million birds are thought to pass through the Gulf during their migration.

It is difficult to estimate correctly the number of species of reptile and amphibian occurring in Bahrain, but Gallagher established a definite 25 species and another 12 possibilities.

The butterflies of Bahrain are estimated by Torben & Harsen 1990 at 21 species. They attributed this low species diversity to the harsh climate (high temperatures) that affects the adaptive behaviour of butterflies.

The results of the most recent study on the benthic marine algae have indicated that there are 88 marine algae species in Bahrain and these are distributed as 21 chlorophyta, 17 phaeophyta, 13 cyanophyta and 37 rhodophyta. (Basson & Mohammed 1990). The authors reasoned that the low number of reported species is due to the environmental stress created by the high salinity and high water temperature found in Bahrain's marine environment.

Wildlife

A wildlife sanctuary, "Al Areen," was established on 1976 and has been managed through H.H. The Crown Prince Court. This Park is perhaps the first project in the region oriented to preserving the natural heritage of the Arabian countries.

A National Committee for the Protection of Wildlife attached to H.H. The Crown Prince Court was established to protect the wildlife in coordination with all relevant authorities.

Many species from Arabia and Africa have been introduced successfully to the park. Breeding programs have been undertaken with good results, particularly in the case of endangered and rare species. Species of particular interest are several species of gazelles, Arabian Northern bald ibis, oryx, Arabian bustard, Dalmatian pelican and others. Several species have also just recently been introduced, including the Arabian wolf, Syrian wild ass, and Arabian leopard.

Mangrove Swamps

Environmental Affairs intends to develop forty-three hectares of mangrove swamp into a wetland conservation area. There are plans for a museum, walkways, and bird watch towers, ultimately aiming to convert it into a tourist spot. Also planned is an education centre which will publicize the importance of the reserve as nursery grounds to fisheries. The Cabinet of Ministers, in the session No. 1341 of 16 April 1995 and by Ministerial Order No. 1 of 13 June 1995 further declared full protection for the mengal and a ban on coastal landfill.

The development will allow the public to experience and enjoy the natural history of Bahrain's coastline.

Coastal Zone Management

Several studies conducted locally confirmed that reclamation and coastal activities have adversely affected the intertidal habitats, and mangroves were also found on the verge of destruction. An integrated coastal zone management approach was identified and adopted as the most effective mechanism that could manage the marine environment and achieve sustainability. A procedure for identifying, minimizing, and mitigating the negative consequences of the development of the coastal environment has been established with the help of UNDP.

Sensitive Natural Coastal Zone Areas

Based on a program identifying their degree of sensitivity, the following coastal areas have been categorised:

Full Protection:

These areas are considered to be bird-feeding and roosting zones so they need to be fully protected.

Conservation Status:

- East Coast Reef and Seagrass Zone.

- Northern Edge of Fasht Adhm.

- Inner, Northern and Eastern Tubli Bay.

- The Outer Reefs, Jarada and Fasht Dibal.

These areas represent zones of major commercial and scientific importance due to the presence of a number of unique and rare habitat types, namely, coral reefs and seagrass beds. The reefs are important because of the rich diversity of marine life, while the seagrass beds are an important habitat both for commercial species of fish and shrimp and for endangered species such as turtles and dugong. Consequently, those areas require some measure of conservation, monitoring and general supervision.

Seasonal Management Status:

- South Western Coastal strip of main islands.

- East Coastal strip - Sitra to Askar.

- Island Nesting sites.

These are mainly nesting or migratory feeding sites for sea birds. Due to a variety of factors, including development of the coastal strip and disturbance by humans, these areas receive some seasonal protection and management to prevent such interference.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

No information is available

Information   
No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

In an attempt to address environmental problems in an international context, Bahrain signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in Brazil on 9 June 1992. An Amiri decree-law No. 18 (1996) stated that the convention was ratified on 19 June 1996. Bahrain also ratified the Ramsar Convention, on 26 February 1997 by Amiri decree No. 3 (1997). Attempts are made to ensure that wildlife and other national resources are protected and managed in harmony with other forms of development.

In fulfilling its international obligations, Bahrain has ratified the Convention of Biodiversity and Ramsar conventions and seriously studied the requirements to be party to other related international agreements.

At the regional and international levels, Environmental Affairs has participated more actively and effectively in many aspects to strengthen coordination and cooperation with specialized national institutions of many countries for the implementation of joint projects, exchange of expertise and data transfer.

The eight coastal States of the region (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) have coordinated a common action to protect the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Consequently ROPME was established on 24 April 1978 to be the governing body to fulfill this goal. Several protocols have been adopted to facilitate coordination between member states to implement the regional programs and activities. For more details, please see the section on Oceans and Coastal Areas.

In 1985, the head of States of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) adopted general principles on the protection of the environment in the region to form the basic guidelines and Code of Conduct toward the individual and collective programmes and activities in the various disciplines of the environment.

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This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

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DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

Bahrain is considering signing the International Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Drought and/or Desertification (CCD). The State of Bahrain, with the Gulf Cooperation Council, Islamic Bank for Development, UNEP/ROWA and Arabian Gulf University, organized a Symposium dealing with the desertification and land reclamation in the GCC countries (22-25 Nov., 1993).

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This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For access to the Web Site of the Convention to Combat Desertification and Drought, click here:

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ENERGY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

Oil production and refining contribute 56.4% of state revenue. In the last few years dependence on oil has decreased, and revenue from the non-oil sectors is gradually increasing. However, revenue from oil will dominate for years to come.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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FORESTS

No information is available.

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FRESHWATER

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

A national committee was formulated to prepare a National Strategy to execute the Agenda 21 program. Many meetings were held to define the priorities, and committees were formed to consider environmental issues, one of which was the Protection of Freshwater Resources Committee, chaired by the Arabian Gulf University. Members represent the Ministry of Oil and Industry, Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO), Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), Ministry of Works and Agriculture, Directorate of Water Distribution, Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research (BCSR), Municipalities Affairs, and Bahrain Girl Renaissance Society.

The main tasks of this committee were (1) To define and evaluate freshwater resources; (2) To protect freshwater quality, ecosystems and prevent underground water pollution; (3) To integrate development and management of water resources; and (4) To study climate change effects on water resources.

In the resulting sustainable development policy for Bahrain,Water Resources comprises one of the six main priority issues.

An Action Plan was prepared, which included revision of the available studies in this field and the general policies related to water resources management, awareness programs, and rationalization of water consumption. It was agreed that a mechanism for supporting and monitoring the comprehensive national strategy on water resources, that has been submitted by BCSR, is required.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Bahrain suffers from a scarcity of water resources. There is no surface water in Bahrain and the ground water level is declining in both quality and quantity. A high percentage of the water supply comes from the desalination of seawater. This situation has caused deep concern over the sound management of water resources in Bahrain. Indeed a strategy in this respect is being formulated."

Groundwater resources are depleting due to an increased abstraction that, at times, exceeds the recharge. The Directorate of Water Resources under the Ministry of Works and Agriculture is making every effort to control excess water use. An Amiri Decree has been enacted to stop the drilling of new wells and control water use for agriculture by introducing drip irrigation practices. Re-use of waste water is practised for municipal gardens, hedges and for fodder crops. Artificial recharge of treated water is being studied.

The water distribution network is being modernized; the latest state of the art equipment is being installed with a view to control excess waste by leakage; and a tariff system is in use to control household demands.

Bahrain has no surface water resources. Ground water is the only source of fresh water supply. During the past decade, the water supply of Bahrain has moved from least effective management to almost total management, from natural ground water to desalinated water and from a declining natural resource to a stabilizing and potentially improving situation. It is anticipated to be more effective after the Government's plan to re-use treated water is successfully implemented.

However, several sources of ground water pollution such as septic tanks and cesspools, deep well injection of oily water from oil fields and intrusion of sea-water have contributed to the deterioration of the quality of ground water.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

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LAND MANAGEMENT

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Bahrain has formulated a Land Use Plan for the year 2000 and beyond. There is a clear management policy in allocating land for industries, housing development, oil and gas processing, recreational and cultural activities, agriculture, public utilities, communications, ports and airports, road network and quarry activities.

In addition, Bahrain's sustainable development policy contains six main priority issues, one of which is Terrestrial and Marine Resources.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

A proposed project on Integrated Planning and Management for Environmental Resources will ensure that conservation of Bahrain's Biodiversity becomes an integral part of its development strategy thus ensuring the provision of institutional, human and financial resources through both public and private sources.

Status

Bahrain, being a small island developing State suffers tremendously of small land areas. Therefore great attention is being given to this issue to enable a sound utilization of coastal areas and resources. Expansion of land at the expense of coastal areas constitutes a major concern. There is a pressing need to develop an integrated approach to the protection and management of land and marine resources, taking into account the opportunities of tourism and much needed coastal and off-shore development.

Main actions undertaken or in progress at various levels can be highlighted as follows:

National

-- Residential

-- Industrial

-- Commercial and Agricultural

Regional

International

Bahrain is limited on geographical space and area, and the policy is to expand the development on reclaimed area gained from the intertidal zone. There is definitely a need for an integrated approach for land reclamation procedures. Such an approach will provide a full, comprehensive picture to ensure the best and wisest use of land, water and other resources, with the minimum of conflict and the sustainability of the Bahrain environment.

To develop an integrated approach to the protection and management of Bahrain's environmental resources, on land and in its coastal and marine waters. It will also address Environmental Quality Standards, the Environmental Impact Assessment Process, ecotourism opportunities, species at risk and threatened habitats.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

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MOUNTAINS

No information is available.

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OCEANS AND COASTAL AREAS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

Bahrain signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil in 1985.

A national committee was formulated to prepare a national strategy to execute the Agenda 21 program. Many meetings were held to define the priorities, and committees were formed to consider five environmental issues, one of which is the Protection of the Marine Environment. This committee is chaired by the National Committee for the Protection of Wildlife, with members representing the Directorate of Fisheries, Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research, University of Bahrain, Ministry of Housing, Municipalities and Environment, Ministry of Education, Bahrain National History Society.

The main tasks of this committee were (1) To prepare guidelines to protect coastal zones, and especially those which are economically important; (2) To prepare an action plan to protect marine resources , with an emphasis on those which are nationally and internationally important; (3) To study the climate change effects on coastal zones; and (4) To prepare a plan to encourage research related to marine environment and effecting factors.

In the sustainable development policy that results from these consultations, there are six main priority issues, one of which is Terrestrial and Marine Resources.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Bahrain is limited on geographical space and area, and the policy is to expand the development on reclaimed area gained from the intertidal zone. There is definitely a need for an integrated approach for land reclamation procedures. Such an approach will provide a full, comprehensive picture to ensure the best and wisest use of land, water and other resources, with the minimum of conflict and the sustainability of the Bahrain environment. The proposed project will also ensure that conservation of Bahrain's Biodiversity becomes an integral part of its development strategy thus ensuring the provision of institutional, human and financial resources through both public and private sources.

To develop an integrated approach to the protection and management of Bahrain's environmental resources, on land and in its coastal and marine waters. It will also address Environmental Quality Standards, the Environmental Impact Assessment Process, ecotourism opportunities, species at risk and threatened habitats.

The Environmental Affairs Agency has initiated a monitoring program with the ultimate goal of establishing sound management of effluent discharge into the marine environment. The following strategies were adopted to achieve the goal: (1) Establish a data base; (2) Assess stress on the marine environment; (3) Establish national standards on effluent discharge into the marine environment; and (4) Implement periodical monitoring and evaluation programs.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

Bahrain, being a small island developing State suffers tremendously of small land areas. Therefore great attention is being given to this issue to enable a sound utilization of coastal areas and resources. Expansion of land at the expense of coastal areas constitutes a major concern. There is a pressing need to develop an integrated approach to the protection and management of land and marine resources, taking into account the opportunities of tourism and much needed coastal and off-shore development.

Actions undertaken or in progress at various levels are given below:

National

-- Residential

-- Industrial

-- Commercial and Agricultural

Regional

International

Marine Water Quality

There are many factors affecting marine water quality. Urban centres along the coast cause tremendous stress to the vulnerable coastal environment by discharging treated and untreated sewage into the shallow coastal waters, together with industrial effluents and irrigation drainage water.

Shortage of land for development has prompted Bahrain to reclaim more land from the sea by dredging. In the early years of reclamation and dredging activities, only low cost considerations were studied and environmental constraints were not given high priority. Unfortunately most of these reclamation activities have caused an increase in the turbidity of sea water, induced siltation and destroyed benthic communities of these areas. This dredging and reclamation activity has to continue as part of developmental activities.

Land-based sources of Pollution

The main guiding principle of the Environmental Affairs Agency (EA) is to balance development objectives with environmental protection. Sustainable industrial development and protection and conservation of Bahrain's natural resources are the ultimate goals. Industry is being asked to promote cleaner technology, minimize waste, install pollution control equipment, increase efficiency and recycling. New development projects are carefully analysed by the EA and, where necessary, the developer is requested to submit environmental impact statements.

As a result of Government efforts and EA policy to mitigate and minimize stress and hazards to the environment, the discharge of untreated and insufficiently treated waste water into the sea has been reduced through the expansion of the sewerage system, the installation of treatment plants among large industries, environmentally oriented industries and the improvement of some treatment facilities in various plants.

Furthermore, Environmental Affairs has requested all industries through the Ministry of Oil and Industry (MoOI) to perform self-monitoring for their effluence and to report the result periodically to EA. This strategy is to ensure the involvement of all sectors in minimizing emission to the environment and hence to conserve it. The role of EA in this regard would be to collect random samples to ensure the quality and compliance with discharge guidelines of the analysis.

Effluent guidelines are mandatory to all existing plants discharging their effluent into the marine environment. This is meant to ensure that the high potential hazardous chemicals are not being discharged to the marine environment. Moreover, EA and MoOI have realized the importance of incorporating Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for new industries, whereby both parties have signed "A memorandum of Understanding" which provides a flexible system to promote both industrial investment and sustainable development. This has been re-stated in the Amiri decree-law No. 21 (1996), where the industry and the development -in general- shall get the approval and the consent of EA, before the start of the project. The EA has prepared the EIA procedures for development projects and will be ordered by H.E. the Minister.

Waste water is generally classified as one of either domestic or industrial origin. Domestic waste water is derived principally from residential, business and institutional uses. The domestic waste water of communities tends to be uniform in character. Industrial waste water may be thought of as waste flow not originating from domestic sources. Each type of waste water is unique. It generally reflects the raw material components, the intermediate products, the end products and by-products of a particular manufacturing or production process.

The major sources of coastal pollution in Bahrain are the domestic sewage and industrial effluents, discharged from urban, rural and industrial areas. The effluents are discharged into the marine environment through numerous outfall located along the coast. The quality of the effluent and their pollution strength vary from one area to another and from one outfall to another depending on the degree and type of treatment. However, most industrial effluents and the domestic sewerage outfalls are located along the east coast of Sitra extending about 10 km, which causes immense stress to the vulnerable coastal environment and, as a result, requires monitoring.

The impact on the marine environment of effluents from major industries has been investigated and monitored since 1983. Thirty-seven physical and chemical parameters were measured for each industrial effluent. The results indicate that most of the industrial effluents are within the acceptable limits in accordance with EA interim effluent guidelines as well as USEPA and Saudi Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA) effluent standards. Therefore, there is no major impact on overall marine environment.

Regulate marine dredging and land reclamation activities

Proper management and control is needed to regulate the coastal activities in order to minimize the adverse effects of dredging and land reclamation on the marine environment. Hence, in coordination with other relevant Governmental authorities, an assessment of the impact of dredging and land reclamation on the environment was undertaken. Appropriate alternative approaches concerning environmentally sound management of such activities has been formulated through the involvement of all authorities concerned with the process and impact of reclamation and land dredging to ensure sound decisions and reduced impacts.

Sustainable Fisheries Development

Fish catch has been reduced due to the number of boats and fishermen, to indiscriminate land reclamation and excavation activities, and to destruction of coral reefs. An artificial reef development program has been undertaken by the Fisheries Directorate and has been succeeding in breeding juvenile fish in the reefs.

A commercial pilot project is underway to keep artificial reefs in various areas. This could enhance the marine ecosystems in a manner that maintains productivity and preservation for future generations.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

Coastal Zone Management and Marine Habitat Survey: Using Landsat-V a study was conducted to determine marine ecology in Bahrain's coastal water. This study of 312 sites mapped the ecology of all the shorelines and coastal areas. The final product was a set of 17 maps depicting the distribution of marine habitats, coastal ecology and areas recommended for protection, as well as a comprehensive volume describing the habitats of the marine environment including the physical, chemical and biological influences. After an interim of ten years, the survey will be repeated, in June 1997, to determine the changes that might have occurred to the habitats cover.

Among other things, the studies confirmed that reclamation and coastal activities have adversely affected the intertidal habitats, and mangroves were also found on the verge of destruction. An integrated coastal zone management approach has since been adopted as the most effective mechanism that could manage the marine environment and achieve sustainability.

Included in this approach is the designation of "Sensitive Natural Areas." Details can be found in the section on Biodiversity, above.

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation

The eight coastal States of the region (Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE) have coordinated a common action to protect the Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Consequently ROPME was established on 24 April 1978 to be the governing body to fulfill this goal. Several protocols have been adopted to facilitate coordination between member states to implement the regional programs and activities. Accordingly, Bahrain has signed and ratified the following protocols:

Kuwait Regional convention for the cooperation on the protection of marine environment from pollution - Signed in Kuwait on 23 April, 1978 and ratified on 1 April, 1979.

Protocol concerning regional cooperation in combatting pollution by oil and other harmful substances in case of emergency - Signed in Kuwait on 23 April, 1978 and ratified on 1 April, 1979.

Protocol for the protection of the marine environment against pollution from land based sources, Kuwait - Signed 21 February, 1989 and ratified on 16 May, 1990.

Protocol concerning marine pollution resulting from exploration and exploitation of the continental shelf - Signed in Kuwait 29 March, 1989 and ratified on 16 May, 1990.

In addition, in 1985, the head of States of the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) adopted the general principles on the protection of the environment in the region to form the basic guidelines and Code of Conduct towards the individual and collective programs and activities in the various disciplines of the environment.

On the regional scale, an attempt has been made to describe the kind of pollutants expected from industrial activities, the danger posed to the marine environment and to human health by pollution from land-based sources and the serious problems resulting in coastal waters of many regional states, principally due to the release of untreated, insufficiently treated and/or inadequately disposed of domestic or industrial discharge. Noting that the existing measures to prevent, abate and combat pollution caused by discharge from these activities were not available, a protocol has been signed by all countries in 1990, and ratified by Bahrain in April 1990 entitled Protocol From the Protection of the Marine Environment Against Pollution From Land Based Sources. Accordingly, all member states are obliged to report periodically, their effluent analysis to the ROPME. This should ultimately lead to sound management with control on all land-based effluent discharge into the marine environment.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999

To access the Web Site of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, click here:

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TOXIC CHEMICALS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Committee for Environmentally-Sound Management of Waste and Chemicals was established as one of the five issue-specific committees by the national committee responsible for preparing a national strategy for Agenda 21. This Committee is chaired by the Ministry of Oil and Industry, with members representing Bahrain Aluminum Extrusion Company (BALEXCO), Al-Zamil Coating Factory, Bahrain Aluminum (Alba), Environmental Health Directorate, Bahrain Chemical Society, Ministry of Commerce, and Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research.

The main tasks of this committee are (1) To prepare a mechanism to control industrial chemicals and their daily usage; (2) To propose an appropriate legal mechanism and to increase awareness in controlling waste and chemicals; (3) To prepare a documentary system for the packing and storage of chemicals; (4) To prepare a mechanism to prevent the transboundary transportation of hazardous waste ; (5) To suggest effective procedures to encourage the reduction of waste through recycling; (6) To study a proper location for the disposal of industrial waste; (7) To study the choice of regional treatment of waste; and (8) To suggest a mechanism to disseminate the available studies in the field of waste and chemical materials.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status

World-wide, millions of chemical compounds have been manufactured and a few thousands more are added every year. However, several events, internationally and regionally, indicate that chemicals could be a threat to human health and the environment. Bahrain utilizes large volumes of chemical compounds and materials that are based on chemicals that have the potential to be harmful in this manner. A joint effort between relevant authorities has led to sound procedures dealing with the safe handling and disposal of chemicals including those of toxic, hazardous and radioactive nature. There is a close follow-up and coordination between all authorities concerned with chemical production, transport, recycling, treatment, storage, and finally disposal to ensure sound management of such potentially harmful products.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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WASTE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Solid Waste and Sanitation

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

No information is available

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Committee for Environmentally-Sound Management of Waste and Chemicals was established as one of the five issue-specific committees by the national committee responsible for preparing a national strategy for Agenda 21. This Committee was chaired by the Ministry of Oil and Industry, with members representing Bahrain Aluminum Extrusion Company (BALEXCO), Al-Zamil Coating Factory, Bahrain Aluminum (Alba), Environmental Health Directorate, Bahrain Chemical Society, Ministry of Commerce, and Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research.

The main tasks of this committee were (1) To prepare a mechanism to control industrial chemicals and their daily usage; (2) To propose an appropriate legal mechanism and to increase awareness in controlling waste and chemicals; (3) To prepare a documentary system for the packing and storage of chemicals; (4) To prepare a mechanism to prevent the transboundary transportation of hazardous waste ; (5) To suggest effective procedures to encourage the reduction of waste through recycling; (6) To study a proper location for the disposal of industrial waste; (7) To study the choice of regional treatment of waste; and (8) To suggest a mechanism to disseminate the available studies in the field of waste and chemical materials.

Strategies, policies and plans

Municipalities Affairs has introduced a strategy for treatment of solid waste which is currently under study and evaluation

The sustainable development policy that results from these consultations contains six main priority issues, one of which is Waste Management. The following is taken from that policy.

Bahrain is a small country with limited natural resources, high population growth rate and restricted space. The Country's fragile resources are under immense threat mainly due to population explosion and rapid industrialization. The waste generation from domestic, industrial and healthcare facilities and their uncontrolled and inappropriate disposal is causing major threat to the country's ecosystem creating adverse impacts on public health, land, water and air resources. Waste management has become our priority issue to be solved on war footings in environmental friendly manner by utilizing appropriate technologies to restrict the pollution and conserve the finite and fragile environmental resources of the country.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Industrial and hazardous waste represents considerable risk to the environment in Bahrain. This is due to the fact that Bahrain as a land is small. Investors in industrial projects are encouraged to reduce the amount of waste and to utilize part of their premises for waste disposal.

Actions undertaken or in progress at various levels are given below:

National

Regional

International

Nearly 65 % of the total residential areas and part of the industrial areas of Bahrain are connected to the sewerage network, and 90 % of the population will be connected by 2010. There are 12 sewage treatment units in Bahrain.

The disposal of industrial and domestic waste can be regarded as the most pronounced environmental problem in Bahrain. The generation of both industrial and domestic types of wastes is relatively high, as indicated in the Table, below.

Amount of waste by categories generated in tones in 1996 (source: Municipalities Affairs, 1997)

Type Amount
Domestic 213758
Commercial 66254.31
Construction waste 28558.2
Agriculture 8642.22
Industrial non-hazardous 3388.24
Industrial hazardous 24000
Carcasses 6386.93
Grand Total 350987.9

Generally speaking, there is a need to change the consumption pattern and habits in the region. The average composition of waste contains more than 50% food (left over), 4-10% papers, plastics, food and drinks packaging, and about 0.6 - 4% cans and glass.

Due to the absence of appropriate facilities for recycling, handling, separation and treatment of domestic waste, landfill is the major method in use so far. There is no sound control to dumping activity. However, the Municipalities Affairs is studying seriously the installation of facilities that would separate, incinerate and/or reduce waste size. There is an effort to encourage the private sector to invest in the recycling business and at the same time, plans are being made to encourage the public to sort its garbage at home, schools, and place of business.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

The domestic waste problem has become a big issue at both national and regional levels. It became apparent that regional coordination is required to utilize the best available technology on recycling, separation, compost and residual incineration of domestic waste. However, the concept of recycling is still new, and investors are reluctant to invest in this line of business. There are many small companies involved in collection and segregation of waste paper, car batteries, glass, plastic, aluminum cans, metals, and wood. Some of these wastes, like aluminum, are being recycled in Bahrain. These activities have reduced the amount of waste that needs to be incinerated or put in landfill. Oily waste and lubricants from automobiles is collected and exported.

The limited incineration and separation facilities in the region are neither sufficient nor efficient.

For information on problems of waste in coastal areas, please refer to the section on Oceans and Coastal Areas, above.

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

No information is available

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

 

 Hazardous Wastes

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies    

The Committee for Environmentally-Sound Management of Waste and Chemicals was established as one of the five issue-specific committees by the national committee responsible for preparing a national strategy for Agenda 21. This Committee was chaired by the Ministry of Oil and Industry, with members representing Bahrain Aluminum Extrusion Company (BALEXCO), Al-Zamil Coating Factory, Bahrain Aluminum (Alba), Environmental Health Directorate, Bahrain Chemical Society, Ministry of Commerce, and Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research.

The main tasks of this committee were (1) To prepare a mechanism to control industrial chemicals and their daily usage; (2) To propose an appropriate legal mechanism and to increase awareness in controlling waste and chemicals; (3) To prepare a documentary system for the packing and storage of chemicals; (4) To prepare a mechanism to prevent the transboundary transportation of hazardous waste ; (5) To suggest effective procedures to encourage the reduction of waste through recycling; (6) To study a proper location for the disposal of industrial waste; (7) To study the choice of regional treatment of waste; and (8) To suggest a mechanism to disseminate the available studies in the field of waste and chemical materials.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The State of Bahrain ratified the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal in 1992, and it entered into force in 1993. No waste classified under Basel Convention's annexes are exported from Bahrain. The secretariat of the convention is kept informed on the steps undertaken toward the implementation of the articles.

The Regional Organization for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME) is in the process of finalizing a regional protocol complementing the Basel Convention on the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes across borders, and the Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) countries are also working on unified rules to deal with industrial waste.

An Amiri Decree No. 13, 1995 was issued on 3 May 1996 to accede to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC), 1996 and its protocols of 1976 and 1992, and the International Convention on the Establishment of An International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (FC), 1971 and its protocols of 1976 and 1992. CLC 1969 and its protocol 1976 and Fund 1971 and its protocol 1976 entered into force for Bahrain on 1 August 1996, whereas protocols for both Conventions (CLC & FC) entered into force for Bahrain on 3 May 1997.

CLC forms the basic structure on which the regimes of liability and compensation for Oil Pollution Damage from ships are based, and the aim or function of the Fund Convention is to provide supplementary compensation to those who cannot obtain full and adequate compensation for Oil Pollution damage under the CLC.

Effluent guidelines are mandatory to all existing plants discharging their effluent into the marine environment. This is meant to ensure that the high potential hazardous chemicals are not being discharged to the marine environment. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is required for new industries, and both the Government and industries have signed A Memorandum of Understanding which provides a flexible system to promote both industrial investment and sustainable development.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The sustainable development policy that resulted from these consultations contains

six main priority issues, one of which is Waste Management. The following is taken from that policy.

A National Contingency Plan took effect in February 1993.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

Bahrain is a small country with limited natural resources, high population growth rate and restricted space. The Country's fragile resources are under immense threat mainly due to population explosion and rapid industrialization. The waste generation from domestic, industrial and healthcare facilities and their uncontrolled and inappropriate disposal is causing major threat to the country's ecosystem creating adverse impacts on public health, land, water and air resources. Waste management has become our priority issue to be solved on war footings in environmental friendly manner by utilizing appropriate technologies to restrict the pollution and conserve the finite and fragile environmental resources of the country.

Industrial and hazardous waste represents considerable risk to the environment in Bahrain. This is due to the fact that Bahrain as a land is small. Investors in industrial projects are encouraged to reduce the amount of waste and to utilize part of their premises for waste disposal.

Actions undertaken or in progress at various levels are given below:

National

Regional

International

Oil spillage is a recurrent phenomenon not only in Bahrain territorial waters but also widespread in many parts of the Arabian Gulf. The disposal of industrial and domestic waste can be regarded as the most pronounced environmental problems in Bahrain. The generation of both types of wastes is relatively high, as indicated in the Table, below.  

Amount of waste by categories generated in tones in 1996 (source: Municipalities Affairs, 1997)

Type Amount
Domestic 213758
Commercial 66254.31
Construction waste 28558.2
Agriculture 8642.22
Industrial non-hazardous 3388.24
Industrial hazardous 24000
Carcasses 6386.93
Grand Total 350987.9

The Environmental Affairs Agency has quantified and analysed the wastes, and it is concurrently studying the appropriate means to tackle the waste problems. The EA has been participating in several international and regional meetings to discuss protocols and to formulate a unified system for waste management in compliance with the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

Currently domestic waste is landfilled without any treatment at the site, which is away from urban areas. Waste management practices, and especially the handling, collection and transportation, has been improved. Landfill sites are regularly monitored to control risk associated with it and to protect the health of the citizens.

The impact on the marine environment of effluents from major industries has been investigated and monitored since 1983. Thirty-seven physical and chemical parameters were measured for each industrial effluent. The results indicate that most of the industrial effluents are within the acceptable limits in accordance with EA interim effluent guidelines as well as USEPA and Saudi Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration (MEPA) effluent standards. Therefore, there is no major impact on overall marine environment.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies  

No information is available

Financing  

No information is available

Cooperation  

On the regional scale, an attempt has been made to describe the kind of pollutants expected from industrial activities, the danger posed to the marine environment and to human health by pollution from land-based sources and the serious problem resulting in coastal waters of many regional states, principally due to the release of untreated, insufficiently treated and/or inadequately disposed of domestic or industrial discharge. Noting that the existing measures to prevent, abate and combat pollution caused by discharge from these activities were not available, a protocol has been signed by all countries in 1990, and ratified by Bahrain in April 1990 entitled Protocol From the Protection of the Marine Environment Against Pollution From Land Based Sources. All member states are obliged to report periodically to ROPME on their effluent analysis. This should ultimately lead to sound management with control on all land-based effluent discharge into the marine environment.

* * *

This information was provided by the Government of Bahrain to the fifth and seventh sessions of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: February 1999.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:

 

Radioactive Waste

No information is available.

For direct link to the Web Site of the Basel Convention, click here:


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