Much of Qatar’s coastal area are littered with inter-tidals – areas of low wave action that harbour extensive mangrove formations. Istabraq Janabi, marine and coastal projects director at UrbaCon Trading & Contracting (UCC), examines the measures employed in marine construction in Qatar to safeguard these ecosystems.
“The marine environment plays a very crucial role in the sustainability of existing mangrove habitats environments and species, and we conduct studies prior to the execution of any works, to determine whatever is required to ensure these ecosystems are sustained,” explains Janabi.
Moutaz Khayyat, CEO of UCC, said: “We make sure to never approach the limits of preserved areas during the process of construction unless there is an extraordinary need to develop that area, in which case we will proceed with the utmost sensitivity to minimise the environmental impact.”
However, in the instance of immitigable socioeconomic demands for development, notes Janabi, there are a range of deployable measures, including the temporary relocation of mangrove trees, and the erection of pre-fabricated siltscreens that block contaminants from reaching the roots of the trees.
As the alternative risks of leaving the natural environment exposed to manmade developments and failing to mitigate their impacts can have staggering consequences, Qatar has strict requirements in place moderated by a number of authorities for any contractor operating at coastal interfaces.
Ramez Khayyat, MD of UCC, highlights: “We are an ISO-approved design-build company, and we make good use of our sister company International Design & Consultancy Company (IDCC) to develop designs that abide by the requirements of the Qatari government, the ministry of environment, and the Qatar Foundation, as well as the marine LEED and QSAS requirements and regulations.”
This strict approach to coastal engagements ensures that Qataris will be able to enjoy particularly the country’s extensive mangrove populations for the foreseeable future, and allow these rare ecosystems to continue to play their vital role in the Gulf of delivering oxygen to coastal waters and providing a sheltered habitat for smaller species.
UrbaCon Trading & Contracting is involved with work on a range of coastal projects including artificial harbours, beaches and navigation channels and floats a fleet of 60 technical marine vessels in Qatar.