Abstract

The state of the environment in urban settings is subject to processes and conditions within cities, on the one hand, and has a strong bearing on the overall conditions and the quality of life of the cities’ inhabitants, on the other. The built environment, in general, and buildings and infrastructure, in particular, play a major role in shaping the urban environment in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East (EMME).
Given the steady growth of EMME cities, the demise of environmental quality adds to the challenges faced by their inhabitants. Of the many factors contributing to these threats, climate change and its amplification in urban structures, the increasing load of pollutants in air and water, the rising number of dust storms and the growing amount of solid and liquid waste stand out.

The marked increase in the number of cars and the growing quantity of energy production has contributed to ever-worsening air quality in EMME cities. Consequently, urban road transport represents one of the major sources of air-borne pollutants in many of the EMME countries.

The EMME region represents a major source of desert dust storms, which strongly affect cities and their air quality. In addition, they carry suspended bacteria and viruses, which pose serious health threats to urban communities. Increasing aridity as a result of climate change is expected to lead to a higher frequency and wider geographical spread of desert dust storms in the region.

Future changes in climate conditions will have numerous adverse effects on the EMME, in general, and on EMME cities, in particular. This is largely due to the heat island effect, which exacerbates warming trends in urban settings. Main impacts of this effect include:

  • Enhanced temperature of up to three degrees compared to the surrounding rural areas
  • Extended heat waves
  • Enhanced water scarcity for inhabitants and green spaces
  • Amplification of poor air quality and
  • In combination with atmospheric pollution severe health risks for urban population as well as
  • The need for increased and extended periods of space cooling in private, commercial and municipal buildings

The high population growth, ever-increasing urbanization, major changes in lifestyles and economic expansion result in steadily increasing volumes of solid and liquid waste in the EMME cities/countries. The quantity of gross urban waste generation from Middle Eastern countries alone is estimated at more than 150 Mill. Ton/year. The waste problems are exacerbated by the rising number of displaced persons and refugees in growing camps in some of the EMME countries, particularly, in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. The huge quantity of daily produced sewage sludge in Middle Eastern countries presents a serious challenge due to its high treatment costs and risks to environment and human health.
The paper aims to elucidate basic strategies to improve and maintain environmental health in EMME cities, particularly in light of climate changes.


Authors

Manfred A. Lange, Salavatore Carlucci, Georgios Artopoulos

 

Poster Session 1 (Water/Energy), Room 2 - 27th September, 15:45-16:45

 

 


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