Will Dubai go green after utility bills soar?
Will seeing red over bigger utility bills really encourage UAE residents to go green?
Mark Summers says:
Pain in the pocket will give us a rocket
If you want to make someone change their habits - don’t appeal to their better nature, hit them in the wallet. That wisdom was once again borne out this week, as 7DAYS reported that the imposing of tariffs on water use has seen consumption rates nosedive. However well-intentioned, few people actually have the discipline to limit their use of precious resources just out of the kindness of their heart.
We all mean to make that trip to the recycling facility, or ease off on the air-conditioning in the evenings but it’s too easy to put it off for another week or year. Only the sharp wince that accompanies another high utility bill is enough to instill a sense of urgency in most of us - that’s life. The majority find that they can easily make savings in their use of water, electricity, or petrol if they have to put their mind to it. That’s why a call made yesterday by a committee of the Federal National Council for lower fuel prices is misjudged.
We’d all like lower bills - but we should commit to cutting consumption to get them. Most of us are convinced of the logic that we need to sensibly use the planet’s finite resources. But actually acting on that thought is something entirely. A fairly implemented system of tariffs is the best way of making sure we close those taps, flick those switches, and preserve that petrol.
Duncan Hare says:
Increase our knowledge, not our bills
The cost of a cubic metre of water in Dubai, where I stay, is nearly double that of the average price in the UK, where I’m from. Water’s the fountain of life and trust me - I should know. I guzzle gallons of the stuff on a daily basis. I drink neither tea nor coffee (yuck!) but can easily glug my way through a six-pack of Masafi every single day.
Yes, the wet stuff’s an oh-so-precious commodity - but it really does not need to be so expensive. Those of us in Dubai today are being punished for the water-wasters of the past. Even now - the amount of times you see people leaving hose pipes running in their gardens out here is galling. And that’s a crying shame. The key to conserving water isn’t higher tariffs, but that old mantra ‘education, education, education’.
People will take bigger steps if they are inspired than if they are acting under duress. We can’t afford to turn people off the cause with sharp spikes in tariffs - time is running out. Water expert Christopher Gasson, in Dubai this week for a conference, warned that dwindling reserves will have drastic effects.
“Yemen will need to look for a new capital city in five years,” he said. What we need to be doing out here is recycling water - particularly in industry - as many times as possible, not needlessly wasting it. That way saving the planet won’t cost the earth.