The purpose of this post is to ensure the difference between environmental components.


First I will introduce my audience to three terms and how they intertwine with one another. The terms are environmental ethics, environmental justice, and environmental economics.

Next I will discuss the environmental ethics and justice of the United Arab Emirates.

Then I will give examples of the environmental justice that the UAE has taken.


Figure 1: Picture of Camel after consuming trash in Abu Dhabi(1)

Environmental ethics, justice, and economics:


Environmental ethics involve the relationship between humans and their environment. Environmental ethics are primarily dependent on a person’s own ethical standards and their personal area of concern. People who believe that everything in their whole ecological system including nonhuman entities are called ‘ecocentrists.’ Environmental scientists and governments are frequently approached with the concept of preservation or conservation when it comes to environmental ethics.

Environmental justice involves the fair and equitable treatment of all people with respect to environmental issues. Positive environmental justice is not projected in the right way in almost every government worldwide. There is always at least one area of a country where the poor are exposed to a more polluted environment and don’t have access to luxuries (if any) within the city center.

Environmental economies or ecological economies are individual economies that primarily depend on the environment. Based on environmental economist’s theories, they believe that unstable economies, or less economically developed countries (LEDC’s), tend to have high population growth and are inefficient in the allocation and extraction of their provided resources. Ecological economists believe that it is nearly impossible for the world to.  They wish for revolutionary change in the consumption of earth’s natural resources so that economic growth slows down and eventually stabilizes[i]

All three of these components intertwine with one another because in order for an ecological economy to survive, the essential factors of justice and ethics need to be in place. The government needs to have policies regarding an equal treatment of the environment and that the idea of ceteris paribus remains constant. Or in other words, a stable green economy will remain the same if environmental justice and ethics remain equally



UAE’s Environmental Ethics and Justice

In Abu Dhabi in the UAE, there is a primary industrial zone, called ‘Mussafah’, a majority of where the construction workers and other foreigners in the lower working class live. This area is very polluted in comparison to the rest of the city of Abu Dhabi because the incentive to clean this location of the city is much lower than the rest.  Its location is right next to the desert so there is a constant haze of sand. Thanks to the amount of factories and workshops releasing this air pollution, it worsens the. In Figure 2 you can see how the city of Abu Dhabi to left is filled with greenery and nice homes, while to the right, Mussafah is strictly. The UAE does not dump their trash or intentionally pollute in this zone, it is just an area where factories and large projects are conducted because theirs space to do so, in the short run at least. The open plant for dumping garbage is the desert. This harms wildlife and is horrible because it is open to the environment.

Figure 2: Map of Mussafah and City of Abu Dhabi (2)


What makes my land any different?

I believe that a few environmental justice advocates do get their word across in Abu Dhabi. For example, a student named Cameron Oliver that went to a rivalry school of mine, actually raised a campaign to prevent littering in the desert. It was primarily a foundation to raise awareness about pollution killing camels in the desert through the consumption of our trash.[ii] For the case of Mussafah, the only way that the reduction of pollution could occur, is if the government set caps on the amount of pollution an industry can emit. For example, using alternative fossil fuels, or even having the government provide loans for technological advances.


Where do you stand as a environmentalist…if you are one

– A Preservationist would most likely ask:

Since there is a problem with the air pollution in Mussafah and the waste in the desert, why hasn’t the UAE forced a law that completely prevents further acts of this pollution (Ex. Replacing industries technology with greener and more sustainable substitutes)?

– A Conservationist would most likely ask:

Since the expansion of the industrial zone is increasing at such a high rate, why hasn’t the UAE set stricter limits on which industries can begin construction and ?

– An Environmental justice advocate would most likely ask:

Knowing that Mussafah is considered the poorest part of Abu Dhabi, why hasn’t the UAE been committed to maintaining Mussafah so that it looks just as nice as the rest of the city?

– A Neoclassical economist would most likely ask:

Since only a few people are aware that the UAE dumps their trash in the desert, would the government change their methods if the entire country knew?

– An Ecological economist would most likely ask: Why hasn’t the UAE made it a mission to switch their factories in Mussafah to more sustainable and less pollutant, and how come there is no recycling?



My Personal Opinion

My personal opinion about the pollution in Mussafah and poorer areas of the United Arab Emirates is that there should be more attention put forth upon the maintenance and development. The government should get more involved in setting a foundation for these underdeveloped areas so that the UAE will not have these unethical environmental injustices.


 Figure 3: Recycle

In conclusion, in the long run, there will be no space for expansion in the Mussafah area. This just means that industries will have to expand to other areas and pollute more environments. The only way that these poorer environments will be sustainable is if recycle or at least conceal the environment so that no pollutant fumes enter the atmosphere.

[i] Grekinis, D. “Lab PP Presentation.” Anatolia / ACT On-line Courses. Web. 09 Oct. 2011. <;.

[ii] Fulton, Laura. “Clean up for Camels with Cameron.” Abu Dhabi Week. 12 Jan. 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2011.