Dubai Municipality Role in Environmental Education and Awareness in Dubai

Environmental Awareness Section
Environment Department, Dubai Municipality, Dubai – UAE

Environmental Awareness Section in the Environmental Department of Dubai Municipality seeks achieving the highest environmental awareness level among various society segments through cultural programs and activities introduced in the environmental national and international events, Environmental lectures, and workshops in addition to exhibitions and Environmental awareness brochures aiming to promote the environmental awareness and ethics in Dubai regarding the different environmental issues which enhance the opportunities of achieving social responsibility towards the environment in Dubai. The Environmental Awareness Section regularly carries out a study to measure the public awareness and ethics towards the environmental issues in Dubai in line with Dubai Municipality strategic plan and with the constant development that Dubai witnesses in all life fields. Public environmental awareness level reached 73% in Dubai in 2013, while public environmental ethics reached 82%.

These high percentages result from the various efforts and programs implemented by the Environmental Awareness Section; the efforts paid by the Municipality in the awareness field in 2013 are shown below:

In 2013, environmental events celebrations were held. The most notable environment events are: National Environmental Day, Wetlands International Day, Earth Day, World Migratory Bird Day, International Day for Biological Diversity, World Environment Day, World Day to Combat Desertification, International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer and World Fisheries Day. During these celebrations, activities varied between environmental exhibitions, cultural activities, distributing brochures, giving lectures, workshops, specialized seminars, environmental competitions and other public awareness activities.

Moreover, the Section supervises several environmental initiatives including Car Free Day which is considered one of the leading Dubai Municipality initiatives aiming to contribute in reducing carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, spreading the culture of public transit and enhancing the collaboration and strategic partnerships with the government departments and the private sector in the environmental preservation field. On 2013, 5000 of the department employees and 27 ministries, governmental bodies, institutions and private corporates contributed in such initiative which has effectively helped in reducing 14 tons of carbon dioxide.

The Section has also conducted a forum for the customers served by the Environmental Awareness Section - governmental and private schools category in order to strengthen the cooperation between Dubai Municipality and all the segments of the customers served by the Environmental Awareness Section and to improve the environmental awareness services and events provided for the clients. (55) coordinators from (47) public and private schools in Dubai have attended the forum where the Section services were presented to the audience; their suggestions and developmental feedbacks were reviewed for the purpose of improving the services provided to them in the future.

The Section in collaboration with the Environmental Center for Arab Towns held the first environmental awareness forum on 25/11/2013 at InterContinental hotel, Dubai. Many bodies concerned with the environmental awareness issues contributed in such forum in the presence of governmental departments and public and private schools representatives. A group of specialists carried out the environmental awareness work, by enriching the knowledge exchange through sharing and exchanging experiences in such field, and through the direct contribution in enhancing the forum works. Purposeful awareness work sustainability could be achieved to promote the environmental awareness among all society segments; in addition to enhancing the environmental gains in various environmental work areas.

During the forum, important topics were highlighted including the environmental education and its role in developing the environmental curriculums and programs in schools and universities and the environmental media, being a key element in establishing the environmental awareness and spreading the sustainable development concept, in addition to the community partnership role in achieving sustainability. These topics were illustrated by various experiences and projects in practice.

The Section has participated in the specialized environmental exhibitions, such as the 15th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment Exhibition (WETEX) April 13-15th, 2013 at Dubai World Trade Centre for conferences and exhibitions, upon an invitation from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority – the exhibition main organizer. Dubai Municipality contribution in such exhibitions is an important and vital one for identifying the audience with its role in supporting the environmental, energy and water conservation issues. It has also contributed in the Water Future Energy Summit 2013 exhibition, held in Abu Dhabi during January 15-17th, 2013. In addition, such Section has also contributed in the What Works Science Forum Exhibition, held at Zayed University Conference Center, Dubai on 15/01/2013 upon an invitation from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai; such forum is the third of its kind to be held among a series of forums sponsored by the Authority in which many educational experts and educational affairs concerned figures in Dubai have contributed. It includes a show on the different educational experiences in order to take advantage from them in the educational field. The Section has also contributed in many seminars, conferences and workshops, including attending the Future Cities Conference at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre during October 8-10th, 2013, which represents the main forum connecting between the strategic parties experienced in the environmental and developmental affairs on the governmental and business sector around the world for the research on and discussion of sustainable modern strategies, exchange of the best practices and provision of practical solution for the world cities.

In order to instill environmental awareness among the future generations and identify them with the urgent environmental issues, nationally and internationally, the Section has conducted (140) lectures and workshops in the public and private schools, public libraries, summer centers and clubs in Dubai from which more than (3000) male and female students have benefited, as the lectures were presented in an interesting educational template.

The Section is also working on contributing in the environmental school exhibitions through the provision of brochures and stickers in addition to coordination of school cleaning events. University students are provided with various information available at the Section library, including books, booklets and cultural magazines. In addition, the Section library provides Department-approved websites in order to help university students in conducting research and projects.

For the preparation of a strong generation that has the ability on making the right decisions contributing in environmental conservation, the environmental awareness course for employees relatives. The course program was prepared to suit the age group (11-16 years) as it includes environmental awareness lectures within an interesting educational template and various environmental workshops. The program also included visits and journeys to different national environmental sites in order to provide the audience with the necessary life skills and to fulfill the discovery needs in them.

The Section also published an electronic newsletter entitled “environmental windows” in 2013 within its development plans in order to enhance its services provided for employees and clients. It’s a monthly publication aiming at spreading the environmental awareness and culture among employees together with identifying them with the Environment Section services and regulations. In addition, it aims at encouraging employees on contribution and interaction with different environmental issues. The Section has also published and distributed 5 environmental awareness publications: an educational poster depicting the water cycle in nature, English environmental story “Soil Life”,environmental short story “I Promise”, awareness publication "environmental advices" and awareness publication on the green schools. 21471 various Section publications were distributed in 2013 during the events and exhibitions organized by the Department and through lectures and workshops.

Moreover, the Section evaluates the environmental researches submitted under Sheikha Latifa Award for Childhood Creativity. 17 environmental researches submitted by national participants and 22 environmental researches submitted from the Gulf Countries were evaluated.

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