Hala Al Khayyat (Abu Dhabi)
The past year witnessed a high rate of compliance with environmental standards and requirements by establishments and projects, which amounted to 93.5%, which was monitored during 1,300 inspection visits carried out by inspection teams at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, in its capacity as the competent authority in the emirate, has developed modern technological tools and mechanisms that ensure compliance of the industrial and development sector with environmental laws, and the application of the highest standards for environmental protection, health and public safety, in light of the tremendous development witnessed by the emirate in the fields of industrial and urban development.
The authority explained that the tasks and responsibilities of the authority’s inspectors are to monitor periodically to limit and reduce harmful environmental effects, ensure that facilities and projects comply with environmental requirements, conduct environmental awareness campaigns to raise the level of environmental performance, respond to environmental complaints received from the public, and assess environmental risks.
The Environment Agency is currently evaluating and licensing many development projects, infrastructure projects, and important industrial and commercial facilities in the Emirate. The environmental assessment and licensing processes aim to reduce the environmental impacts resulting from project operations, and to ensure that projects comply with local and international laws and legislation, through the application of best global environmental practices, in line with the environmental, economic and social situation in the Emirate.
The authority indicated that one of the most important challenges it faces is maintaining a balance between economic and social growth in the emirate and protecting the environment. With the different nature of projects in the Emirate (industrial, commercial, development and infrastructure projects), and the different stages related to these projects (construction, operational, demolition and removal), and the negative effects that may result on the environmental components, including air, noise, groundwater, soil, sea water, and wildlife and marine life, In addition to the depletion of natural resources, the Authority must keep pace with technological and legislative developments and the best environmental practices to ensure the protection and development of the environment.
The authority has prepared an integrated system for environmental assessment, licensing and inspection procedures in accordance with international best practices, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of projects in their various stages from planning and design through implementation and construction to operation. This is done by adopting a sequential methodology that prioritizes setting the necessary measures to prevent or attempt Avoiding the environmental impact, by studying the possible alternatives to project designs and methods of implementation, and if this is not possible, the Authority will review the corrective measures, set the necessary environmental conditions to reduce and treat the effects of the environment, and finally compensate in the absence of the ability to avoid or reduce the environmental impact .
The authority pointed out that it is updating environmental licensing procedures in line with economic and social growth in the emirate and technological developments to ensure the application of international best practices for project evaluation, licensing and inspection. Among the most prominent of these updates is the transformation of licensing and environmental inspection systems into electronic systems to facilitate the procedures for submitting and reviewing environmental licensing applications and issuing licenses, and facilitating and standardizing environmental inspection procedures.
The authority has also built a geographical environmental database for projects and facilities in the emirate, facilitating procedures for evaluating the cumulative environmental impacts of projects and providing the necessary data to decision makers. In addition to designing a database of special environmental conditions for various sectors in the emirate, which contributed to ensuring the application of international best environmental practices and reducing the time required to set environmental conditions.
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi has set monitoring and control stations for various environmental components, aiming to constantly monitor the quality of groundwater, sea and air to ensure that they comply with the permissible standards and limits on the one hand, and to monitor the cumulative impact of projects and economic facilities early on the other hand, and to maintain an appropriate healthy and sound environment for living organisms and humans, and the data extracted from these stations contribute to the development of effective plans and informed decisions when planning major projects and programmes.