The environment of Qatar plays a big role in shaping the people's way of life. Similarly, people play a major role in influencing or preserving the environment. Qatar is located in the Arabian Gulf and has some beautiful beaches and warm water, which attracts swimmers and tourists from all over the world. Qatari sea is one of the most important features for tourism and recreation today. The undersea life is valued and respected, but because of the growth in population, sea life is endangered. Many people from all over the world come to Qatar to work and live, yet there are no awareness programs about sea life protection to assist their connection to the environment. Likewise, the desert of Qatar has many different wild trees and other plant species. Trees and wild plants were one day used as an important source of food and medicine. Some of the wild animals living in the desert are also part of the ecosystem. Nonetheless, the past few decades have seen a major imbalance of environment structure, due to the scarcity of rain, and human intervention in nature. This caused great damage to the environment in the country of Qatar and some neighboring countries, as well. These environmental problems and damages call for serious urgency to provide up-to-date studies and researches on the importance of preserving the environment in Qatar.

Background Information

The waters of the Arabian Gulf surround Qatar on three sides, whereas the country’s south is connected to Saudi Arabia by land. The landscape is more or less flat to wavy with a number of prominent hills. The country’s land elevation varies from about 6 to 103 meters above the sea level. The southern part of the country features sand dunes and rocky hills. The coastal areas have mud flats that are saline and swampy. As a consequence of the country’s climate and geographical location, Qatar is categorized as a sub-tropical desert.

From June to August, the weather is hot and muggy; whereas between November and February, it is pleasant. Annually, the country receives about 81mm of rainfall. The average, maximum temperature in Qatar is 31 degrees Celsius, whereas the minimum is 22 degrees Celsius. Occasionally, the country is hit by sandstorms, but wind-blown dust is more common. Qatar has neither rivers nor lakes, and other than rainfall ground water is the main source of water. Surface water is limited, and it can only be seen after the winter rains; water may accumulate in wadis, runnels and depressions for a short time (Qatar).

The global energy demands, on one hand, have played a major role in what is seen as the deterioration of the environment. The country has seen a huge influx of expatriates and other people, who have come to work on the oil industry, as well as other sectors of the economy. The huge profits that the country get from its huge oil reserves has seen the country develop at an astronomical pace, and the environment, unfortunately, has borne the brunt of these changes.

The need for coming up with policies and programs to improve the management of environmental resources cannot be overstated, because failure to take care of the surrounding environment can have disastrous consequences. The Qatari government has seen the need to put in time, as well as commit resources for this noble endeavor. Given the changes that the globe is experiencing, as a result of global warming, many environments are vulnerable, and the environment in this country is no exception. Because many of the causes of the degradation of the Qatari environment are a result of human activities, it is only fair for all the people in this country to take proactive steps that are aimed at preserving this delicate eco system not only for themselves but the future generations, as well (Qatar).

Objectives of the research and Technology Center

The main objective of the research and technology center will be to work to preserve the environment of Qatar.

  • It will also provide a database that can offer valid information about the Qatari environment for institutions, universities, schools, and individuals inside and outside Qatar.
  •  The center should prepare questionnaires, reports, researches and studies on the changes and developments of the environment in Qatar on monthly and yearly basis. This will aid agencies and institutions concerned to get a clear picture of the progress made, if any, and any negative changes that may require urgent attention.
  • Initiate environment information centers to direct people, distribute knowledge and attract tourists to these centers; this will also play a critical role in coordinating all efforts that may be geared at environmental preservation.
  • Discover new methods and ways, as far as contributing in preserving the Qatari environment is concerned. These methods may include carrying out exchange programs to see and learn how different countries are tackling the issue of environmental preservation.
  • Raise awareness among people about the importance of preserving the environment; this will go a long way, inculcating the feeling of responsibility for the environmental conservation concerns.
  • Motivate individuals and encourage their participation in the preservation of the environment.
  • Attract students in schools and universities to participate in supporting an environmental research and preparation of reports and studies on Qatari environment.
  • Provide training and education to members, schools, universities and institutions.

Area of Interests, Concerns and Development

  • Marine Biology are divided into many groups, which are marine plankton (microscopic organisms), fish (small, medium, and large), and sea birds. The presence of a number of islands makes Qatar a destination locality for birds that are migrating. The lives of these birds have, however, been positively and negatively impacted by a combination of civil and industrial life. As a result of effluents that cause pollution, some species, for instance the sturthio camelus, have become extinct. On the flip side, areas that are cultivated, for example, public gardens and palm farms, and the presence of sewerage ponds have worked to attract even more migratory birds into the country. (Qatar).
  • Genuine efforts, aimed at the preservation of the delicate eco systems, Marine plants and fungi, are numerous and have multiple forms. A survey conducted in 2002 by UNESCO found that there were 402 species of marine flora and 142 species of marine fauna in Qatar (Discover Qatar); they are the main source of food for many species of fish and other marine life. The delicate marine eco system can be significantly affected by industrial and domestic effluent that may find its way into the sea.
  • Seabed is the bottom of the Sea or the floor of the sea. This presents the platform, on which plankton grow and is also a serene habitat for a number of marine life. Experts have recorded close to 150 species of fish in Qatar in the north eastern part of the country, providing one of the best fishing grounds. Some of the fish found include sweet lips, rabbit fish, thread fins, lizard fins, sharks, snappers and emperors, as well as a number of carangids (Qatar). The green sea turtles, which are endangered, are also found in Qatar, and they mostly nest in the north east coast and the off shore islands nearby.
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The Desert Environment (Land Environment)

A number of protected areas have been set up in Qatar to breed species that are endangered for the purposes of re-introduction into the wild. The Qatar Arabian Oryx Breeding Center has been successful in breeding Oryx in captivity, and the population was later relocated to three reserves. The Arabian Fox can also be seen on occasion; these animals live in burrows that have been dug in the desert sand. The cape hare resides in Qatar’s small islands. The Ethiopian hedgehog, as well as a number of bat species, can be spotted at night. Scorpions and lizards can also be found in the desert sand.

  • Wild plants and fungi: being part of the Arabian dwarf woody perennials, peninsula, perennial grasses annuals, ephemerals and a few tree species are the most common types of vegetation.
  • Land and soil: the soil in Qatar has a coarse texture, is low of soluble substances, has a low retention rate and has a shallow depth. The country has depression soils (Rowda), saline soil deposits (Sabkha), rocky soil (Lithosol) and sandy soil. These areas all form part of delicate eco systems and have to be adequately protected to save these plants and animals from extinction.

Attractions and recreations: marine tourist sites, land-based tourist sites, historical monuments and archaeological sites.

  • Marine sites for tourism are a great way not only of generating revenue, but they also play an integral role in the preservation efforts of marine life. The presence of premium hotels adjacent to the beach provides an excellent place for visitors to relax.
  • Desert wilderness sites for tourism also help in preserving the environment through eco system. In addition to the sand dunes, the tourists can also see the various species of Oryx, hares and other small mammals in the reserves that have been established.
  • Being part of Mesopotamia, where agriculture is said to have started, there are numerous archeology sites that historians, as well as archeologists, will find useful. These areas also need to be preserved, as, in addition to enhancing knowledge on past agricultural practices; they are also part of the heritage of Qatar (Qatar Tourism).

Qatar Environment Today

Today, there is a great need to preserve the environment of the country. The environment has suffered many changes and direct damage that caused the extinction of many of the natural plants and species. The Qatar Sea has been dramatically affected over the last few decades. In addition, some sea plants, some fish and species have become rare or even extinct. Qatari Desert is also damaged in many parts of the country. The damages include the soil, desert animals, and desert trees and plants. The population of Qatar used these plans and trees for their food and medicine in the past, and their dwindling numbers have become an issue of great concern.

The government of Qatar has taken some steps to conserve the environment; in fact, February 26th has officially been set aside as the country’s environment day. The environment faces a myriad of challenges, ranging from greenhouse gases, which are a result of the country’s industrialization process, to rapid population growth with occupation of lands, which were bare previously and inhabited by wild plants and animals; these lands being converted into residential, farming and even industrial areas. Such a center will go a long way in ensuring that the damage that has been inflicted on the environment can be stopped and, if possible, reversed. The success witnessed by the Qatar Oryx Breeding Center is testament to the fact that environmental conservation is not only necessary, but also possible.

The Qatari government has shown tremendous commitment towards environmental conservation by setting up award schemes that seek to recognize institutions, as well as individuals, who play a role in this field. The delicate balance in the environment of Qatar needs to be adequately protected, so as to ensure that people can continue to reap maximum benefits from the area around them. The government has also taken steps to ensure that the hunting of endangered species is done away with; thus, saving them from extinction. Such a center will provide a great opportunity to address the issue of environmental conservation.

For these reasons, environmental studies and researches are crucial to the country. The studies must include/present all important aspects, such as new projects and constructions. In addition, researches must take into account awareness among people about the importance of preserving the environment. The reports and studies must attract students in schools and universities to participate in supporting environmental research and preparation of reports and studies on Qatari environment. This is vital so as to ensure that the country does not lose the environment in the process of trying to achieve industrialization and modernization. No country has to sacrifice its environment for the purpose of being industrialized; Qatar is no exception because this is too high a price to pay.

Apart from providing research and other related materials and opportunity, the research and technology center should also facilitate civic education on the importance of environmental conservation. The center may also be tasked with the responsibility of formulating guidelines that can form part of the curriculum in schools and other learning institutions. This is important because innovations and advances in technology can play a critical part in environmental conservation. This center will also empower the youth, who will be the future custodians of the environment with the necessary skills and experience that is necessary for them, to be able to handle this issue later into the future. The success of the research and technology center will not only positively impact the environment of Qatar, but also that of her neighbors and the entire Arabian Peninsula. It may also inspire other countries to do the same. When this happens on a global scale, humanity as well as the biotic environment will be the greatest beneficiaries. So far, the government, as well as the people of Qatar, are taking steps and placing their efforts in the direction of utilizing the resources in their environment, and even though this is commendable, more still has to be done.

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