An Issue Overlooked: Environmental Concerns in the Middle East

With all of the political strife and unrest in the Middle East, it is easy for people to overlook other problems in the area. That can come at a great cost to the people of this region, who rely on natural resources for all aspects of life.

Some of the most prominent environmental concerns are the massive water shortages experienced in multiple parts of the Middle East. There are also more localized concerns, such as desertification and deforestation in Jordan, marshland drainage in Iraq, and a variety of environmental concerns and conflicts in Palestine.

The Middle East is known for its dry climate, which has always provided many challenges for the region. As The Water Project explains, 85% of the region’s water supply goes toward agriculture, where overuse of water and heavy irrigation is a troubling norm. Shortage of water leads to malnutrition and a general low standard of living for the population.

Even in regions where the standard of living is high, water shortage issues lurk beneath the surface. The United Arab Emirates is known for extravagant cities, where people from all over the world go to enjoy luxury hotels, restaurants, and entertainment. However, water scarcity is prevalent, and according to The Water Project, at their current rate of usage, “the UAE will deplete its natural freshwater resources in about fifty years.”

Deforestation has also been an increasing concern in recent years, specifically in Jordan. A development plan for the region of the Ajloun Forest, which is home to many species of plant and animal life, sparked protests in 2011. Aside from destroying the habitats of wildlife, the deforestation in Jordan is furthering desertification and contributing to the regional water crisis, as trees aid in keeping water in the soil.

It is imperative for the global community to pay more attention to the environmental issues of the Middle East, along with the political issues. In fact, many of the political troubles of the region have roots in land and resource disputes, and as resources and water become more scarce and the population suffers, more fighting is likely to ensue.



Green Prophet

The Water Project


3 thoughts on “An Issue Overlooked: Environmental Concerns in the Middle East

  1. As a health communication major, I have a passion for environmental concerns and public health. Water is such a valuable resource and I feel that it is primarily taken for granted, especially in more Westernized countries. It would be interesting to see if there are any nonprofit or environment-based service programs that are geared towards Middle Eastern health and environmental problems. Great awareness post!

  2. This is one of those posts that sort of restores your faith in humanity and that’s awesome! So, thanks for writing it! I honestly had no clue this existed and find it really interesting. However, I wonder what the qualifications have to be in order to Beatle to be a part of the camp including faculty and staff requirements.

    1. For some reason the wrong comment was posted!

      I agree with Danielle, it would be really interesting to see the current efforts established in renewing resources and resource sustainability in the Middle East. Perhaps a follow-up post? Regardless, this was great information that I certainly knew nothing about prior to reading it. Interested in learning more!

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