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Report outlines main environmental challenges facing Jordan

By Hana Namrouqa - May 18,2017 - Last updated at May 18,2017

AMMAN — Energy, water, desertification, waste management and the loss of biodiversity are the main environmental challenges facing Jordan, a second report on the state of the environment, released on Thursday, said. 

The report, issued by the Ministry of Environment, indicated that the environmental and sustainable development of Jordan and other Arab countries has been greatly affected by current regional conflicts.

It pointed out that the Syrian conflict has resulted in the migration of some 1.4 million Syrian refugees to Jordan, which has placed “a heavy and increasing load on the infrastructure and drained the limited resources”.

The report also indicated that climate change is among the Kingdom’s main challenges, as it is directly affects the water and agricultural sectors.

Meanwhile, the country is witnessing higher rates of desertification due to soil degradation, which is only accelerated by urban expansion at the expense of agricultural land on one hand, and the scarcity of water resources on the other, according to the report.

Compiled by a technical committee from the ministry in cooperation with experts from different fields, the report also pointed to increasing levels of pollution due to the growth of the transportation and energy sectors, as well as the failure by some industries to abide by environmental regulations.

With waste management listed among the ministry’s main concerns, the report said that there is a lack of a comprehensive system for the management of hazardous solid waste, including industrial and medical waste.

Improving inspection processes, environmental monitoring and law enforcement is the way forward to protect the country’s environment and improve its situation, the report suggested.

It also recommended a wiser disposal of solid waste in designated landfills and the creation of a system for waste separation and recycling, as well as the adoption of an integrated system to manage hazardous industrial and medical waste which meets international standards.

Speaking at the launch of the report and the ministry’s 2017-2019 strategy, Minister of Environment Yaseen Khayyat said that Jordan’s second state of the environment report scientifically outlines the country’s environmental situation.

The report explains the environmental challenges facing the Kingdom and presents solutions, Kayyat said.

The minister underscored that the report also serves as a reference for policymakers and specialists to ultimately ensure a balance between socio-economic policies and plans, and the sustainable use of natural resources and ecological systems.

 

Khayyat, who was deputising for Prime Minister Hani Mulki, also highlighted the importance of the ministry’s 2017-2019 strategy, which he said was put forward by a team of experts in strategic planning.

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