With Perennial Water Concerns, The Gulf Must Ditch Annual Flowers
With all the talk about sustainability within the Gulf, water is an ongoing concern. Desalination has had its role in transforming the Arabian Region from harsh desert to favored business and tourist destination. But with that plentiful supply of water comes waste in how this resource is abused and the massive amounts of energy required to desalinate the water for human and business use. I type this from the Dubai Mall Food Court as I pass the time to visit another example of Dubai's excess, the Burj Khalifa. In front of me is the food court's waterfall, which does a nice job of cooling the air and enhancing what is already a pleasant February. Naturally the ice rinks, aquariums, igloo bars and ski hills would not thrive here without desalination. But landscaping also consumes massive amounts of water, despite the drip irrigation systems that are becoming more common in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The most absurd beneficiaries of desalination are the annual flowers that color the road medians and office park entrances throughout the Gulf and Middle East region. Yes, petunias may make for great pops of color along Dubai's roads, but they are also hugely unpractical in a climate that approaches 50 degrees Centigrade in the summer. Local vegetation may not always be the best alternative, but surely drought resisting plants of all colors and stripes are preferable to the pastel colors found throughout Dubai and other Gulf cities. The Gulf states should celebrate their desert environment, instead of trying to become something that it is not: a land hospitable to most forms of vegetation. Talk about water stewardship and sustainability would have a great start buy adopting plants better suited to the cool desert winter nights and harsh summer days.
Read about how Dubai’s sustainability agenda
must start with public health on Triple Pundit.