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Dubai 2016 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, on the achievements of the munipality and the advancement of the smart city concept.

Hussain Nasser Lootah,
BIOGRAPHY
Husain Nasser Lootah has plenty of achievements he can be proud of in the history of his eventful career and professional life. With a US Civil Engineering degree and over 30 years' experience with Dubai Municipality, he represents the face of the civic body, one of the largest government organizations in the UAE as well as in the region. Lootah has painstakingly inched his way up to the post he currently holds; Director General of Dubai Municipality.

How is Dubai Municipality advancing toward its e-transformation and building an integrated knowledge-based economy?

Dubai Municipality is one of the most important government entities in the drive for a knowledge-based economy. We have designed and shaped our strategy to align it with the Dubai government's strategies in order achieve the government strategic objectives and goals with high rate of added value. Dubai municipality has fully transformed its services for G2C, G2B, and G2G to over 300 smart integrated services. This has been achieved by incorporating advanced information and communication technology into city infrastructure and city operations. Consequently, Dubai municipality has become a center for excellence and innovation and it continues to drive sustainable development without losing touch with the traditions of society and continues to enhance the Emirate's image as a good place to live. Dubai Municipality's directives will increase the success rate of its implementation of the Dubai development strategy.

What sustainable solutions is Dubai Municipality adopting to overcome growing environmental challenges?

Dubai Municipality has, over the course of 30 years, steered the transformation of the Emirate of Dubai into a “sustainable city” during its ongoing period of rapid urban development. The municipality has ensured the continuous implementation of climate change action within the Emirate. Dubai Municipality has introduced a range of environmental programs to tackle the challenges. Some of them include the Air Quality Management Program, which includes the state-of-the-art air quality and noise monitoring system. Another is the Soil Protection Management Program, which covers classification and regulations for soil use. There is the Ground Water Protection Program, including groundwater monitoring and permitting system. Then the Marine Environment Management Program, which introduced a marine water quality monitoring network. There was also the Wildlife and Sanctuaries Management Plan, including biodiversity conservation program for six new sanctuaries in Dubai, the Coastal Zone Management Program, a state-of-the-art real-time coastal zone monitoring and forecasting system, the Environmental Awareness Program, which includes the successful Annual Car Free Day, Earth Day Celebrations and various environmental awareness summer campaigns, the Climate Change Program, including GHG reduction from landfill and adaptation program, the Waste Management Program, which covered the establishment of a large scale waste to energy plant, and first-of-its-kind E-waste rehabilitation plant, segregation at source and recycling center; and finally the Greenery Management Program, which combats desertification through the establishment of 15 public parks, and a large scale nursery and plant research facility.

Which have been the most iconic environmentally sustainability projects?

The Dubai Fisheries Research and Development Center, the Blue Flag Award for Dubai's public beaches, the expansion of Dubai Air Quality and Noise Monitoring Network, the Dubai Wetland Center in Ras Al Khor Sanctuary, the Dubai Blue Carbon Project, the Green Buildings and Green Concrete for Dubai, the landfill gas recovery from the Methane Gas Capture Project, and the Municipal Solid and Organic Waste to Energy Project.

What are the projects lined up for 2016 in Dubai?

Around 35 projects are expected to be completed in 2016, including 10 complete projects and 25 remaining projects. The total cost of the projects is around AED1.3 billion.

What are Dubai Municipality's prospects for the year ahead?

Dubai Municipality works every year for the development of the city by means of numerous projects that keep pace with the advancement and expansion of Dubai in all fields through annual comprehensive plans for the services that a modern city requires. In 2016, the municipality is working on a number of projects, such as Dubai Safari, Dubai Frame, the observatory, and other projects of residential parks, public squares, and utilities in the city, not to mention the agricultural projects.