Date: 15th August, 2021
A research paper published by the Bahrain Center for Strategic, International and Energy Studies (Derasat) on the “COVID-19 Environmental Impact in the Kingdom of Bahrain” revealed that the decline in air and land transport during the pandemic had a positive impact on the decrease in air pollutants and rise in air quality in the Kingdom, besides the appearance of indicators of decreased local noise pollution and the carbon footprint.
The research paper – prepared in partnership between Derasat Center and the United Nations Development Programme to study the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 virus in Bahrain – presented indicators of a slight and occasional improvement in local biodiversity. The study also monitored a relative increase in medical and non-medical waste related to personal protection equipment (PPE) and single-use materials in Bahrain. This raises concerns regarding the long-term impact of waste increase on biodiversity, and in turn on human health.
The paper also cited a slight increase in local energy consumption, which required an equally slight increase in producing and consuming natural gas. Coincidingly, there was an increase in the appeal of renewable energy, which saw a drop in costs compared to fossil fuels.
Additionally, there were indicators on the increase of environmental awareness in Bahrain, albeit without a big impact on green practices, besides a drop in waste sorting and recycling due to logistic challenges imposed by the pandemic.
Notably, the study on which the research paper relied was prepared by a group of researchers from Derasat and the UNDP: Ghada Abdulla, Abdulaziz Al-Doseri, Deema Al-Moayyed, and Dr. Omar Al-Ubaydli. Views and opinions were extracted from qualitative data acquired from interview sessions with 14 environmental experts from the public and private sectors, as well as academics and staff from non-profit organizations.