As this is the first year of operations for the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, what lines will delineate your strategy in both areas?
Municipal and environmental affairs are closely related. The Ministry of Municipality and Environment wants to beautify our cities, provide services to the population, and oversee land use and urban and infrastructure planning. At the same time, we have to reflect environmental and agricultural considerations in our activities. This means making sure land is used correctly without damaging Qatar's natural resources. Moreover, the environment and green practices are important for keeping the city clean, for example through recycling, building, and industrial waste. Environmental controls for emissions standards and diseases are also under our jurisdiction. We have a laboratory for monitoring the factories' emissions, as Qatar is a strong producer of petrochemicals
What are the ministry's plans for developing the concept of smart cities across Qatar?
Parks should be vibrant places for their surrounding community areas. Within this approach, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment is working on the development of 60 public smart parks. We are installing electronic services, such as free internet access and special smart colored lighting, while some of them will even have cinemas. The parks will host festivities, celebrations, and social events where families and friends can gather. Additionally, we have chosen some of the parks to host traditional Qatari houses to preserve our heritage. All in all, the parks will be designed in such a way that they serve the population. In terms of wider smart cities initiatives, we are working on more advanced navigation systems that give information while driving, and there will be more direct information sent by public bodies to individuals about issues affecting daily life.
How are you cooperating with private developers on the urban planning of new areas built to cater to the demands of a growing population?
Besides the residential and commercial areas, there will be 20 civic centers within the city of Doha. These quarters will be equipped with gardens, markets, and other public services. They will include residential developments for Qataris and expatriates built around metro exits. In addition, there are the Msheireb and Al Dafna downtown areas as well as Lusail City. Our inspectors and engineers ensure developers respect the urban plan and the environment, as well as install the facilities that every neighborhood needs. Furthermore, we have the intention to develop three new cities outside Doha with their own administrative services, industrial areas, schools, hospitals, and other public services: Al Khor, Al-Shahaniya, and Al Wakrah. We need to take the pressure off Doha's residential and commercial areas; therefore, each new city will have its own downtown with a different focus. Al Wakrah will be more industrial because it is near the port and airport. Al Khor will have some sea and land developments and will feature more agricultural projects. Finally, Al-Shahaniya will be connected with livestock activities.
What role does the ministry play in promoting sustainable and green developments?
The ministry is responsible for waste management and we intend to create energy from waste. Our target is to have approximately 400MW from waste treatment and recycling. Our other responsibility, together with Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) and Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC), is to allocate land for solar plants to produce 200MW of solar energy. Qatar already has fertilizer-generated energy, and we are creating new farms for energy created underground by tree roots. We focus on how Qatar can deal with its waste products through 100% recycling and 100% energy reuse while minimizing its emissions. We request companies that come here to operate with zero waste and zero emissions. We are also working on improving our waste collection methods to be underground in the new development quarters. We will implement a special collection program that includes advanced sorting of various types of waste products so that it is easier to recycle these materials.