Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Muhammed Azam calibrates a hydrocarbon sensor at a workshop hosted by the Norwegian Institute of Air Research. Christopher Pike / The National
Muhammed Azam calibrates a hydrocarbon sensor at a workshop hosted by the Norwegian Institute of Air Research. Christopher Pike / The National

Norwegian research institute helps clear the air in UAE

In collaboration with Abu Dhabi University, the Norwegian Institute of Air Research is helping to tackle problems of noise and air pollution in the UAE.

ABU DHABI // New research laboratories are tackling the problems of air and sound pollution in some of the emirate’s noisiest, smelliest areas.

The Norwegian Institute of Air Research (Nilu) has set up labs at Abu Dhabi University, and the two are collaborating on research projects across the UAE.

Nilu has been in the emirate since 2006, working with the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. Since then, it has completed projects for the likes of Abu Dhabi Municipality, looking at indoor air quality.

The institute runs 12 air-quality stations across the emirate for environment agency, four for the municipality, and two at the newly opened Khalifa Port. Nilu also has two of its own at ADU.

It is discussing the possibility of future projects with companies such as Emirates Aluminium and Khalifa Port.

Nilu has also worked with the agency on noise, helping it to identify problem areas such as those around building sites and set standards for how much noise is allowed at various times of day.

“There are different times when there should be different noise levels and standards in place to regulate that,” said Dr Naser Tibi, regional director for Nilu.

There should also be limits on how much noise workers can be exposed to, said Prof Abdel Mohsen Mohamed, dean of research and graduate studies at ADU.

For all of these projects, the priority is public health.

“It’s not just about air pollutants and noise, but more about environmental health and safety, such as toxicology,” said Dr Alena Bartonova, research director at Nilu.

“These are all things we can collaborate with the university on. There could be environmental issues but the people side is more important.”

Most models for air and noise quality are based on western research.

“In order to protect public health, you need local information both about the environment and its effects,” said Dr Bartonova.

“We can use what we know about Europe and see how much of this we can utilise to get to the same level of information here.”

Air quality is a particular concern in industrial areas such as Mussaffah.

“Air pollution is very important for the development of these industrial areas,” said Prof Mohamed.

“You need to see the impact on public health such as how many people are coming down with asthma, going to hospital, then you can moderate and regulate.”

He said the UAE’s naturally dusty air “affects everyone”.

That and high levels of emissions in some areas are a drag on the economy, said Dr Bartonova.

“Health effects can have social effects,” she said.

“To be able to protect the population, you need to be able to know about lots of things.”

“Now we have some consistent data over the years we can go forward, but we don’t know nearly enough yet to do protection management.”

Nilu is hoping to work with the Health Authority Abu Dhabi to build a better picture of how air quality is affecting the emirate’s health.

The lab’s work will feed into the university’s degree courses, which include public health, environmental health and safety and environmental science.

“ADU’s education programme fits very much with what we’re doing, especially the engineering and public-health parts,” said Dr Bartonova.

Nilu’s experts will give lectures at the university and help develop existing courses and new ones.

The labs, which opened in November, will help students to receive hands-on experience.

Last summer, two ADU students became the first to complete work-experience placements there.

The labs should also help ADU develop its strength in research. There are plans for several academics to work with Nilu on research projects.

That should help the university to rise up international league tables.

Last year, it made the QS World Rankings for the first time as one of the 500 best universities in the world.

mswan@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Marina Square apartments Reem Island: Q1 2% rise. Studio - Dh65-68,000. 1BR - Dh75-95,000. 2BR - Dh110-145,000. 3BR - Dh170-190,000. Q1 2013-Q1 2014 no change. Sammy Dallal / The National

In pictures: Where Abu Dhabi rents have risen and fallen, Q1 2014

Find out how rental prices in the prime locations in Abu Dhabi have altered during the first three months of the year and the current rates you will pay according to data provided by Asteco.

 This comparison image shown on Reddit annotated the objects with vehicles from the movies.

What Star Wars fans say is going on in Abu Dhabi’s desert

We may still not know exactly what The National caught pictures of in the Abu Dhabi desert last week, but the online community has had plenty to say. Here are some of the best bits.

 Courtesy Al Ittihad

Time frame: It’s all going swimmingly

Built on what was originally a public park, Ain Al Faida - the flowing source - became one of the country’s first resort hotels when it opened in the mid 1970s.

 The iconic Kingdom Tower project in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Above ground work is set to begin on the tower which is expected to be taller than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. Rendering courtesy EC Harris/Mace

Saudi’s Kingdom Tower set to go skywards as it aims for world’s tallest building tag

Above ground construction work due to start next week in Jeddah, after months of testing and preparation work.

 Jia Ruhan sings as a guest artist during a concert by the pianist Robert Wells concert in 2012. The Chinese soprano is being groomed by the government to become an international pop star as a way of increasing its global influence through ‘soft power’.

In pictures: Meet China’s Jia Ruhan, no ordinary pop star

Jia Ruhan is being groomed by Chinese authorities to become a global pop star as a way of expand its cultural influence worldwide.

 Screen shot from Vin Deisel's facebook page of he and Michelle Rodriguez in Abu Dhabi for the filming of Fast & Furious 7. April 2014

Fast & Furious in Abu Dhabi, a social media frenzy

Fast & Furious 7 wraps up an eventful and much-anticipated week of filming in the capital. Let's take a look at what went on via the key players' social media, while they were enjoying the delights of the desert.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National