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Average environmental awareness in the emirate of Dubai is 61%

A recent study conducted by Dubai Municipality has found that the average environmental awareness in the emirate of Dubai is 61%. The highest degree of awareness among the community is on the issues related to consumption of electricity. It was found that 95% were aware about them, whereas the issues related to visiting nature reserves in the emirate of Dubai was the found to be having the least awareness (39%). The study, conducted by the Environmental Awareness Section in the Environment Department of Dubai Municipality, was aimed at measuring the level of environmental awareness in the emirate of Dubai for 2009. Sarah Al Sayegh, Head of Environmental Awareness Section in the Environment Department in the Municipality, said that the level of awareness in Dubai is good compared with the average environmental awareness in a similar study carried out in one of the emirates of the UAE. She said the study, conducted in cooperation with a consulting firm, was in line with the strategic plan of the Municipality and the Emirate of Dubai, which has been witnessing continuous development in all spheres of life. "It also comes as part of the continued efforts of the civic body to raise the level of awareness of the environmental community in the emirate. The move is to measure the level of awareness and the environmental behaviour of different groups of society in the Emirate of Dubai on environmental issues and the implications of this awareness on their behaviour," said Al Sayegh. "During the study, we focused on the level of awareness among members of the community on issues that concern the environment (water, waste, energy, biodiversity, global warming, pollution, climate change...). We also measured the behaviour levels of the members of society with regard to all environmental issues and also tried to determine the proportion of positive and negative behaviours," she said. "In addition, we measured the level of awareness among the influential categories of the society such as the media and teachers and their contribution in raising awareness and behavioural change among different groups of the society. We also tried to know how to contact and communicate with the people who should be followed up by the Environmental Awareness Section for reaching the environmental messages to community members as well as the preferred method of contact and communication with them, "said Al Sayegh. She said the project aimed at community groups that represent various segments of society of all nationalities: the citizens, Arab expatriates, Asian expatriates and Western expatriates, taking into account the ratio distribution in the emirate, based on statistical data obtained from the census of the Emirate of Dubai in 2008 from the Dubai Statistics Centre. "The sample size was calculated so as not to exceed the acceptable margin of error of 5%. The study was carried out through computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI)," said Al Sayegh. She explained that when compared to the average environmental awareness among sectors, we found that the environmental awareness among them was equal and this shows that the community in the Emirate of Dubai has the same level of awareness in all sectors. "Another interesting factor is that the average environmental awareness among females was found to be 64% whereas in males it was 59% only. This shows that females have more environmental awareness than males," she said. The study also showed that the Western expatriates have the highest proportion of environmental awareness (82%) among all the nationalities due to the fact that their home countries are more concerned with environmental issues than the rest. They were followed by UAE nationals (77%), which is a high percentage compared with other nationalities. The study also noted the rate of participation in environmental activities ranged from 9% to 23% and the activities related to the consumption of electricity ranked first, which was due to the awareness campaigns and competitions organized by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) for all members of the community to reduce power consumption, and 46% of the participants in the activities on environmental issues focused their attention on reducing their use of electric power. The average positive environmental behaviour in the Emirate of Dubai is 67%, that means the society contributes effectively and clearly to preserve the environment by supporting the activities relating thereto. Among the people who were surveyed, 16% of the respondents have previously participated in volunteer environmental campaigns in the Emirate of Dubai, and 35% want campaigns and awareness programs in the community to be increased through media campaigns and direct campaigns in shopping malls and organizing competitions that encourage the society to participate in such activities, and that 49% of respondents wish to conduct awareness campaigns through the media, while 12% of them would like to carry out the campaign through lectures at schools and universities.

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