QU MARKS WORLD WATER DAY

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As over 2 billion people in the world do not have access to safe water, the importance of water conservation has never been more important. For this reason, scientists worldwide are working on research and innovation to find the best way to conserve water, which is exactly what Qatar University’s (QU) Environmental Science Center (ESC) is working on today.

On the occasion of World Water Day this month, which seeks to raise awareness on the importance of freshwater, Director of the ESC, Prof. Hamad Al-Saad Al-Kuwari, commented on the importance of researching ways to preserve this natural resource saying, “The Arabian Gulf with its water and natural resources is a gift that we inherited from our ancestors. The hope is that we can gift the next generation a developed country with a prosperous natural environment.”

“Our mission at ESC is to protect this precious natural resource for the country, restore damaged systems and reduce various environmental impacts. Thanks to our researchers and advanced capabilities, the ESC plays a key role in achieving Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Prof. Fadhil Sadooni, Research Professor in the ESC, said, “While the water cycle ensures the stability of the amount of water in our planet, we have noticed in recent decades, due to climate change, wide changes in the way that water is distributed on earth’s surface. In some parts of the world, we see scarcity of rainfall, in other places floods are destroying infrastructure and causing significant human loss. Water is the most visible and influential consequence of climate change, and the impact will only increase in the future.”

Prof. Ponnumony Vethamony, Research Professor, UNESCO Chair Professor and Team Leader of Physical and Chemical Oceanography at the ESC, explained the importance of the ESC and the UNESCO Chair, saying it represents an initiative that contributes to taking care of marine waters, the Arabian Gulf region and Qatari waters.

He adds, “The center aims to mobilize a global effort led by the University for scientists and researchers worldwide to study marine natural resources. Similarly, the UNESCO chair seeks to work on conserving the Arabian Gulfs’ natural resources and reducing environmental pollution in its water and coasts.”

Dr. Alexandra Leitao-Ben Hamadou, Research Assistant Professor in Marine Sciences at the ESC, commented on the human impact on Qatar’s marine ecosystem, saying, “In light of the steady increase in human impact, a range of initiatives must be adopted to prevent or at least mitigate the damage.”

She adds, “Such initiatives must be designed according to precise scientific knowledge. Researchers at the ESC have developed a monitoring system using pearl oysters called Pinktada Raditia. Through this program, we study the environmental effects pollutants have through various levels, from genes to chromosomes, to single cell, to the entire biological group. This is the first time this integrated method has been used in the study of Qatar’s marine environment.”

Dr. Bruno Welter Giraldess, Research Assistant Professor in Marine Sciences at the ESC spoke about the Coral Reef Project, which is an artificial reef made from environmentally friendly materials and a design that contributes significantly to the restoration of endangered coral reefs. This project ensures the preservation of the unique and fragile ecosystem found in Gulf waters.

Source: Qatar University