A research team from the Arabian Gulf University (AGU) recently held a meeting with a number of Representatives Council members to discuss the environmental conditions in several areas in the Southern Governorate. The meeting was attended by Urban Planning Professor in the Natural Resources and Environment Department in AGU Dr. Ahmed Al Kholei, Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee Head in the Council MP Mohammed Al Sisi Al Buainain, and a number of MPs and professors from AGU. The attendees discussed a study of integrated environmental assessment of Askar and Jau areas in the Southern Governorate, where the research team gave a presentation on the methodology of work and the most important results and proposals.
The research began back in 2017, when Dr. Al Kholei proposed conducting a study on an integrated environmental assessment of Askar and Jau areas, in the frame of Bahrain’s economic vision 2030, taking into consideration the need of urban expansion and investing in lands in the eastern parts of the Kingdom to reduce the existing pressure on public utilities in highly populated areas such as Manama and Muharraq.
Since then, the research team, led by Dr. Al Kholei, conducted an integrated environmental assessment of the area through the collection of field data and assessment of the current environmental situation. This resulted in the identification of causes and implications, which subsequently led to formulating future scenarios and submitting proposals that are integrated with the State’s development plans, while also taking the views of Government officials and decision makers into consideration. Dr. Al Kholei explained that the efforts dedicated by the team have attracted the attention of the Council of Representatives, stating that the meeting came to discuss the means of cooperation between both parties and to provide the Council with environmental consultations from AGU.
The main research, Dr. Al Kholei said, included sub researches that were published by leading scientific journals in the United States and Europe. Dr. Al Kholei clarified that the sub researches addressed several topics, such as the problems faced by the residents of Jau and Askar, including sandstorms, stench and the impacts of dredging and sand-washing processes that are carried out by the industrial plants in the area on the marine environment. In addition to Dr. Al Khlolei, the research team consisted of Dr. Asmaa Abahussain, Dr. Waleed Zubari, Dr. Thamer Al Dawood, Dr. Maha Al Sabbagh, Dr. Nader Abdulhameed and Researcher Fadiya Tashtoosh.
The team called for utilising the area to promote ecotourism, archaeological tourism, handicrafts, expansion of fishing areas, diversification of economic activities and investment portfolios in the area. For his part, MP Al Buainain said the Council requested the results of this research to assist parliamentarians in standing on the environmental conditions of some of the areas in the Southern Governorate, and to find swift solutions for the challenges it is facing, in addition to studying the impacts of the existence of industrial plants, landfills and sewage plants in the area on residents, the environment and development.
He also explained that the meeting comes to exchange expertise between the different institutions in the Kingdom and uniting their efforts to preserve and maintain a healthy environment. MP Al Buainain stressed on the keenness of the Council of Representatives on supporting such studies, which aim to protect the environment, and create social awareness that contribute to the reduction of the different forms of pollution, in line with the sustainable development goals and Bahrain’s economic vision 2030.