Doha in green drive ahead of climate meet

 22 Nov 2012 - 4:13


DOHA: With preparations for the forthcoming UN Climate Change Conference — COP 18/CMP8 — in full swing, the organisers have introduced innovative “information pods” to educate the public on environmental issues and answer queries about the biggest-ever conference in Qatar.

The conference is expected to bring together more than 17,000 participants from 194 countries, including 7,000 members of civil society groups and about 1,500 local, regional and international journalists.

The information pods are the latest of a number of green initiatives launched by the organising committee in the lead up to the conference.  In the next two weeks, thirteen such structures - with archways of rubber tyres, walls of water bottles, and roofs of reused shipping pallets - will crop up around Doha, catching the eye of residents and visitors. 

Each pod is staffed by a supervisor and a team of up to three volunteers, who are trained to provide information on everything from logistical questions such as, “will there be a lot of traffic?” (Answer: Buses will be provided to transport all participants), to general advice about how to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“The biggest question has been, ‘Where can I recycle in Doha?’ said Alex Bryant, the supervisor of the City Centre information pod, said.   Many expatriate workers living in Qatar come to the booth under the impression that recycling in the country is not possible. They have been told where they can take waste for recycling and how to organise a collective recycling programme for businesses and other organisations. 

The pallets and tyres of the information pods reflect a larger commitment on the part of COP18/CMP8 to employ recycled and reused materials.  

Volunteers at the conference are equipped with water bottles made out of a substance derived from corn starch, iPad cases, pens, and memory sticks derived from bamboo, and they give away sunglasses made of recycled wood to visitors.

A fleet of “green” buses will be running throughout COP18/CMP8 to ensure that the event minimises the impact on the environment. A total of 100 buses will run on gas-to-liquids fuel, a cleaner form of fuel.

Throughout the Conference, which runs from November 26 to December 27, two buses that run on compressed natural gas and six hybrid buses will operate on a “green route” between the QNCC and Doha Exhibition Centre.

The buses have been supplied by Mowasalat which is currently undertaking a study with Qatar Petroleum and WOQOD, the state fuel distribution company, to look at updating its fleet with compressed natural gas buses.  With its environmentally friendly design and solar-powered energy system the QNCC is the ideal venue to host COP18/CMP8 Doha. 

Besides its solar panels that provide 12.5 percent of the building’s energy needs, and water conservation systems including recycling water for irrigation, the QNCC uses LED lighting that is not only eco-friendly, but adds to the spectacular ambience of the main hall.  

The food courts will be as environmentally friendly as possible. They will use 37,500 bowls made from sugar cane residue; 20,200 salad bowls and 30,000 cold drink cups produced from natural starch; 120,000 pieces of cutlery and 150,000 coffee cups made from natural cellulose. In addition, 6,500 recyclable pens will be given to participants.  The Peninsula