Why Is Abu Dhabi Imposing Enormous Fines?

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00


UAE put best foot forward become environmentally

The UAE has put its best foot forward to become an environmentally conscious country of late. Recently, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) issued fines worth AED 328,000 for environmental violations. The fines were imposed for polluting soil, water, and air.

The primary goal of the UAE's development policies is environmental protection. These policies are primarily focused on increasing green space, developing water resources, enhancing, and protecting the marine environment from pollution, preserving fisheries and livestock, and creating strategies to protect biodiversity.

The decision of imposing such fines was made to enhance and regulate the supervisory and regulatory role of the EAD, and to support mechanisms for looking into activities and actions that play a negative role in affecting the environment. 

The EAD is in charge of monitoring damaging activities that are not covered by environmental legislation and improving compliance with the law.

They have the power to impose administrative fines with this decision. These fines were for violating the provisions of the law, i.e., the environmental legislations, executive and organizational regulations, circulars, decisions, and policies.

3 categories of administrative fines

  1.   Fishing violations and discharges into the marine environment
  2.   Violations concerning hunting, biodiversity, and reserves
  3.   Violations regarding development and industrial activities

Till now, 32 administrative fines have been imposed for violating environmental legislation in the UAE. The highest one being for AED 50,000, for discharging harmful materials into the marine environment that caused unpleasant odours, unnatural colours, and a noticeable change in the temperature and turbulence of the Emirate’s waters, while the total amount of the fines added up to be AED 328,000. 

The other violations involved submitting incorrect data to EAD, changing data contained in licenses, or indulging in soil or water pollution in protected areas. The EAD then went ahead with ensuring that the establishments guilty of the violations took corrective measures to remove or mitigate the causes.

The administrative violations table lists a total of 99 infractions, 46 of which cannot be reconciled, and offers a reconciliation discount of 25% if the fine is paid within 60 days of the day the violation was issued. The penalty can range from AED 1,000 to AED 1 million depending on the type of violation, how much environmental harm it causes, and how frequently it occurs.

87.5 % of the total violations have been due to development and industrial operations. While the remaining 12.5% have been related to hunting, biodiversity, and protected areas. No penalties were imposed for transgressions involving the marine fisheries industry or emissions into the ocean.

The EAD is working with partners and utilizing the most advanced electronic tools and systems to keep up with the rapid development seen in the UAE. This makes it possible for inspectors to carry out environmental inspections with a high degree of precision and effectiveness and to guarantee the degree to which approved projects, facilities, and activities comply with environmental requirements.

These tools help the authority to prepare assessment reports for various industrial sectors, as well as evaluate risks and improve the implementation of the integrated environmental compliance system. These tools also give a complete picture of the UAE's environmental status, facilitating effective decision-making that benefits society and the environment.

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