| Share facebook | RSS


ambassador Report View

Water Pollution in UAE

by Aaditya Singh | 21-04-2017 20:56 recommendations 0

Water is essential for all biological and industrial processes, and no living being (animal or plant) can survive without water. It is the most essential component in the structure of the cell. Water is either mediator, catalyst, or an input/output in the chemical reactions in bodies of living beings. Water Pollution thus directly affects all living beings including humans.

Sources of water contamination

Water is contaminated when its natural features are changed or spoiled due to being exposed to chemical, physical or bacteriological contaminants. In this case, it becomes unfit for human beings, animals, plants or aquatic life. Some common sources of water pollution are:

1. Rain Water Contamination due to air pollution

2. Sewage and Waste Water

3. Industrial waste and effluents

4. Oil Spills

5. Eutrophication due to run off of chemical fertilizers into ground water


Water Pollution in UAE

Though a desert region, UAE has a long sea coast with sandy beaches. There negligible rain water contamination in UAE as air pollution is controlled with strict regulations and monitoring of vehicles and industries. Sewage and Waste Treatment plants duly take care of waste from homes and commercial areas. Industrial waste is also managed and treated according to regulations. Oil spills from ships etc and Eutrophication through farming is also monitored and controlled adequately. Furthermore, the government exercises a strict control on the quality of drinking water.

However there are still instances of water pollution that come to light and these are promptly dealt with.

UAE coasts are rife with mangroves. There have been various instances of these mangroves being polluted with litter. The same was the case with some public beeches. This is being controlled through imposing fines and penalties, as also through nation-wide clean up and awareness campaigns to educate the masses.

Late in 2016, scientists at UAE University had discovered that some metals were several times more common in water samples collected from coastal areas close to Mussaffah Industrial area, as compared with those taken from farther away. This indicated some industrial effluent discharge. To combat such cases, the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EAD) collects and tests seawater and sediment samples on a monthly basis from industrial areas as well as public beaches.


Plastic junk is littering the UAE's waters and killing its marine life. Aluminium cans, plastic bottles and paper plates are also a familiar sight on sea beaches.  "For a lot of people, they see that the sea looks clean on the surface, but the debris is actually underwater, where it has the most negative impact," as quoted by Kathleen Russell, committee coordinator for Emirates Diving Association (EDA). Ms. Russel has been working with the Abu Dhabi's environment agency (EAD) for the last decade to bring awareness about marine litter - a problem she described as being emirate-wide. Together, they have held several underwater clean-up campaigns. "Taking divers down and doing clean-ups reiterates why we need to be responsible for our actions and really identify where the debris is coming from," she said in a report in The National.



Plastic pollution is also a cause of frequent concern causing damage to fish from tiny pieces of plastic pollution clogging the oceans. Micro-plastic particles measuring no more than 5mm come from large plastic waste that has fragmented into smaller pieces or from manufactured plastics of microscopic size, such as micro-beads in products such as facial soap and toothpaste. The UAE government has employed various sewage and waste water treatment plants. However the micro-beads are small enough to pass through municipality filtration systems. These petrochemical beads are ingested by marine life causing, more so if they are micro-plastics. They can then end up on our plates when we eat seafood.

USA, UK and Canada have regulations with respect of use of micro-beads in consumer products, but UAE as yet has no legislation governing the use of micro-beads.



According to researchers, physical deformities found in sharks common to the waters off Abu Dhabi could be an indicator of increased pollution in the Arabian Gulf. According to a report in The National, Dr Alec Moore, Indian Ocean vice chairman of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, said that while abnormalities naturally occur, they also raised questions. "Even without humans around, the Gulf is naturally a biologically stressful environment because of high temperature and salinity. It is possible that further increases – from climate change, the daily discharges from desalination plants, and the reduction of freshwater river flow – could be biologically harmful," he said.


The National had also reported that human activities and pollution are compromising efforts being made to protect and conserve Gulf coastal areas. A report has indicated that despite there being 173 marine protected areas in the Gulf, many are ineffective and offer little protection to the endangered species. Such findings have lead scientists to warn against the disappearance of coral reefs in our lifetime unless action is taken soon. The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) plans to increase the percentage of protected marine areas in the capital to 14 per cent by 2019, in attempts to combat depleting natural habitats and species.


UAE is promoting reduced use of plastic by promoting reusable bags and also by encouraging recycling of bottles and other plastic items. Besides controlling plastic waste, the municipality also acts to halt practice of washing harmful chemicals directing down drain "Most of the illegal discharge of oil that seeps into the sea through sewerage happens at auto workshops, when mechanics carry out oil changes, do not clean up the area properly afterwards, and then drain the residue into drains and manholes," said Khalid Sulaiteen, head of the Environmental Emergency Office (EEO) at Dubai Municipality, according to a report published in Gulf News. Such Illegal car workshops which pump oil into Dubai Creek are being targeted in a municipality crackdown. EEO is the task force behind cleaning up the city's Creek and beaches, which are at times contaminated with oil, chemicals, and solid waste, in addition to contaminants discharged from dhows (Small Arabian Boats) and their engines. The municipality has clear-cut guidelines on how to dump industrial waste and any violators are reprimanded.


Efforts are also on to ensure that kitchen oil from homes and restaurants is not thrown in drains. It is being converted into biodiesel. My school was also involved in a campaign that collected used kitchen oil from students' homes. This oil was recycled by The Blue Company.


All in all, government agencies, waste management agencies and many NGOs in UAE are working towards curbing water pollution and stringent regulations are enforced to control the menace. It is also up to every individual to work towards a cleaner and healthier environment.



  • Austria E-gen Ambassador Aaditya Singh
  • recommend


  • Mukhammaddiyor Kurbonov says :
    Wow! Amazing report! I am also working on the UAE's report as an ambassador.
    Posted 31-03-2022 19:35

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 06-02-2018 22:46

  • says :
    good report
    Posted 06-02-2018 22:45

Aaditya Singh

  • Aaditya Singh says :
    Thank you Han for the encouragement. I will keep track of the efforts and post any updates that I come across with respect to success of these efforts.
    Posted 23-04-2017 15:33

  • says :
    Aaditya, thank you for your report. This was a report with details. It seems like UAE has some issue with water pollution, but at the same time the government is making some efforts. You introduced us lots of problems and measures. If you happen to write more about water pollution, please tell us how successful the efforts are.
    Posted 23-04-2017 15:10

Aaditya Singh

  • Aaditya Singh says :
    Thanks Daon for the encouragement. The government is taking alot of steps for water management and control of water pollution. One aspect that needs to be considered is ensuring the cleanliness of water tanks in buildings. The municipal supply water in UAE is potable but most people end up using bottled water as the water tanks in buildings are not cleaned regularly. The government needs to strictly enforce rules in this regard.
    Posted 23-04-2017 04:48

  • says :
    Hi Aaditya, thanks for sharing great report on water pollution in UAE!
    I really enjoyed reading your article, which is very informative and interesting.
    Based on your report, I think UAE goverment is well aware of envrionemental issues and trying to fight against them.
    Do you have any other suggestions for the government regarding controlling water pollution?
    Thanks for sharing again!
    Posted 22-04-2017 11:24

Post a comment

Please sign in