At least 10,000 liters of water will be used for each soccer field per day during the World Cup in Qatar. This will occur at the expense of one of the most polluting maritime water purification processes in the world. Qatar uses it as the main source for obtaining fresh water; and facing a problem of excessive consumption.
What is Desalination?
According to science direct, Desalination is the process of removing salts or other minerals and contaminants from seawater, brackish water, and wastewater effluent and it is an increasingly common solution to obtain fresh water for human consumption and for domestic/industrial utilization.
It sounds like a good solution, but the problem is that desalination, which is projected to increase 37% across the entire Gulf region in the next five years, has huge environmental costs, in terms of the fossil fuels used to power out the process, and the marine environment. But without it, how can the arid region quench its thirst?
How desalination Impacts environment?
Will Le Quesne, director of the Middle East program at the UK Center for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture, said this will devastate the Gulf’s marine ecosystem.
Desalination produces brine, a concentration of very salty hot water that ends up being toxic. The chemicals it contains, such as chlorine, heavy metals and defoamers, damage coral reefs and various marine organisms. Still, others are at risk of being sucked into the system, causing serious injury or death.
“Microscopic plants in the sea, things like fish eggs, will be washed into the system and experience very high levels of mortality. Most are destroyed on their way through the system,” Le Quesne explained.
43% of the world’s desalination capacity comes from the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Despite water scarcity, the GCC is one of the world’s largest water consumers and is heavily dependent on desalination plants.
Despite the scarcity of water, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will use large amounts of this essential liquid for the irrigation of fields during the matches of the next World Cup in 2022.
Qatar world cup is not carbon neutral
Claims of “carbon neutrality” by the organizers of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar are unlikely and will mislead players, sponsors and fans into believing that the event will have a negligible net impact on the climate of the earth, according to a new report.
Climate activists are sceptical about the carbon neutral event especially in light of recent findings on 2,600 gallons of water to be used per field, daily for the world cup.
The organizers claim that 438,000 tons of CO₂ were emitted during the construction of a temporary stadium that can be completely dismantled after the championship. But as for the other six new stadiums to be used after the World Cup, they only attributed a fraction of the emissions to the tournament: some 206,000 tons of CO₂.
According to Carbon Market Watch, this amount was allocated on a “usage quota” basis, i.e. dividing the number of tournament days by the estimated lifetime of the stadiums to arrive at the total emissions quota.
True price of water in Qatar
Weather conditions push gardeners to “mimic winter” inside the delicate turf of Qatar’s stadiums that will be used during the day. There are at least 144 pitches in eight stadiums, and another 130 for training. The lawn will have to be irrigated with at least 10,000 litres of desalination water daily.
Despite national commitments to reduce carbon emissions and meet net-zero emissions targets, the region hopes to do more desalination. An increase in this process of 37% is expected by 2027.
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