UAE Employs AI To Address Climate Change Impact on Environment

The United Arab Emirates has implemented technological and digital solutions across sectors to improve the quality of life for individuals, society, and the environment.

It also aims to make a positive impact on future opportunities. The UAE achieved many accomplishments in the field of artificial intelligence, confirming its commitment to keeping pace with global variables, accelerating the pace of digital transformation and benefiting from these technologies in building a sustainable economy and ensuring a better future for generations to come.

One key issue the UAE has proactively addressed through government initiatives is environmental challenges.

Using innovative technologies including AI, these initiatives enabled the UAE to overcome these challenges and use AI to provide solutions capable of preserving natural resources and mitigating the repercussions of climate change.

The UAE’s 2017 Strategy for Artificial Intelligence aimed to establish an integrated smart system to address environmental challenges, positioning the UAE as a leader in this area.

The UAE’s efforts to employ modern technology to mitigate the repercussions of climate change are in line with the Road to Climate Neutrality pillar of the recently launched “National Sustainability” campaign.

This coincides with the UAE’s preparations to host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) to be held from November 30 to December 12 this year at Expo Dubai.

Scientific Methods

UAE federal and local environment, climate, and natural resource authorities have taken proactive measures aligned with their commitment to mitigate climate change impacts and optimize natural resource use. They employ the best scientific methods and leverage modern technologies including AI.

Artificial intelligence has made tangible contributions to monitoring variables in soil, air and water. It has also been key in finding the best means to preserve these elements and reduce damage.

It also focused on providing solutions that would enhance the agricultural sector to achieve self-sufficiency in food security at the state level, while diversifying waste management methods using modern technologies, and benefiting from recycling them into clean environmental projects.

In addition, it provides this sector with recent innovations that meet environmental requirements, and intensifying studies and research to establish databases that can be used to develop renewable and sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.

A Global Leader

Environmental monitoring has been critical in confronting environmental challenges using artificial intelligence and modern technologies. The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency has implemented the world’s first project of its kind to monitor soil using the latest remote sensing technologies via satellites and drones.

The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency was also one of the first entities to use artificial intelligence to monitor and detect emissions of harmful pollutants and their levels through an advanced network of 20 fixed stations and two mobile stations to monitor air quality in Abu Dhabi.

Each of these stations continuously measures 17 elements including pollutants and meteorology through electronic sensors so that the information obtained is shared with the public through the agency’s website.

Dubai Municipality has implemented many programmes and projects that contribute to protecting the soil, including a soil quality monitoring programme in different parts of the emirate for different land uses, which allows for identifying the soil status using the best international practices.

Moreover, Ajman has a network of accredited stations for measuring air quality consisting of 7 stations distributed across the emirate, and there are plans to increase the number to 10 stations over the coming years. According to a report issued by the Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, the air quality index reached 93.48%.

As for solutions to the water scarcity challenge, the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency succeeded in 2009 in building the world’s largest strategic water reservoir using the latest technological techniques.

In 2016, it built the first solar-powered desalination centre in the region.

In 2020, the agency launched the first environmental observatory in the UAE and the first methodology for environmental accelerators in Abu Dhabi.

In 2021, it succeeded in assessing soil quality using artificial intelligence techniques.

Additionally, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, in cooperation with Khalifa University of Science and Technology and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), launched the Artificial Intelligence Lab, which works to identify solar energy concentration sites and monitor and analyze pollutant levels and sources and air quality and determine water quality levels, as well as monitoring the marine environment based on daily data from NASA satellites and the European Space Agency.

Sustainable Agriculture

The UAE has prioritized developing plans to advance the agriculture sector, launching the first-of-its-kind national sustainable agriculture system to enhance food security in the UAE and the use of technology to increase the productivity of the sector.

Moreover, it aimed to enhance investment in new areas and mechanisms for agriculture using modern technologies, making proactive changes in food and agricultural systems and increasing the rate of self-sufficiency in crops in the country while increasing the workforce in the agricultural field.

Furthermore, there have been various federal and local initiatives that focus on sustainability in the agricultural sector. In 2021, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment implemented an agriculture project using advanced technology and artificial intelligence to employ AI in developing a modern agricultural system with the help of young people from national service members.

In 2015, the ministry built the first centre for saline agriculture in Abu Dhabi and inaugurated the world’s largest indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi.

Moreover, the Bustanica farm in Dubai is the largest hydroponic agriculture-based vertical farm in the world, using advanced techniques including artificial intelligence and advanced applications.

Saving The Environment

In the field of waste management, the UAE issued Cabinet Resolution No. (42) of 2018 on Integrated Waste Management, which aims to organize the waste management process and unify mechanisms and methods of safe disposal, based on best available practices and techniques, to protect the environment and reduce harm to human health.

The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency has designed and developed electronic systems, tools for licensing, risk assessment and compliance, and environmental rescue to analyze the environmental situation, prioritize, and maximize the use of available resources.

In July 2023, Dubai inaugurated its first operational phase of the Waste-to-Energy project, the world’s largest and most efficient facility, using state-of-the-art technology systems with zero environmental impact, in Warsan.

In October 2022, BEEAH Recycling Group in Sharjah inaugurated a new facility to recycle commercial and industrial waste, the first of its kind in the region to use artificial intelligence-powered robots.

Meanwhile, BEEAH Tandeef in Sharjah employed the “City Vision” system to enhance city and street cleanliness using 360-degree cameras mounted on AI-powered waste collection vehicles.

The implementation of the Solid Waste Treatment Plant and Alternative Fuel Production project continues in Umm Al Quwain, with a total cost of around AED 132 million.

The project aims to build and operate an effective model for integrated waste management operations in the emirates of Ajman and Umm Al Quwain and exploit them in the production of alternative fuels.

Research and Innovation

In the field of environmental research, the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency has conducted many studies and research to understand biodiversity and monitor ecosystems, species, and environmental indicators.

It relies on the best science and modern technologies and innovative solutions and technical skills, benefiting from its vast archive of environmental data spanning over 25 years, using AI-powered data analytics to connect data and develop plans and initiatives.

The UAE’s commitment to investing in technical innovation and creativity to reach the best smart solutions to environmental challenges is reflected through its Innovation Month initiatives.

This highlights its commitment to adopting an innovative approach to address environmental challenges, employing the latest technologies and conducting comprehensive research and studies to understand biodiversity and monitor ecosystems, species and environmental indicators.

It also shows that the UAE is relying on artificial intelligence techniques to produce accurate, concise data that can be used more broadly to develop relevant policies and projects to better protect and preserve the environment.

Al Jundi

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