Al-Ahram Weekly Online   7 - 13 June 2012
Issue No. 1101
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Sharm turning green

For a city to call itself green, it must have a certain lifestyle and regulations in place, writes Mahmoud Bakr

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Some cities boast of their greenness because they have bicycle lanes, others have large pedestrian areas, and others still are designed with mixed residential and commercial areas, where everything is within walking distance. Even cities which depend on transportation can claim a certain level of greenness if they rely on public transport rather than private cars.

It is all about the carbon footprint or the amount of emissions a certain activity produces. The smaller your carbon footprint, the more green you are and the more sustainable your lifestyle is. This is what green architecture is all about. When you design a city with environmental sustainability in mind, the city looks and feels different.

Hossam Hegazy, Head of the Environment, says that the MOE is attempting to introduce green architecture as an integral component of national policy. For this to happen, the government has to come up with incentives to make it more profitable for business to be green, while making its own development plans more environment friendly.

And so, government experts are currently working on turning both Sharm El-Sheikh and Luxor into green cities. The MOE has signed a five-year contract with the South Sinai governorate starting 2012, to reduce harmful emissions in Sharm El-Sheikh, reduce the consumption of water, recycle solid and liquid refuse, and protect biological diversity.

A committee of representatives of the MOE, the Ministry of Tourism, and the South Sinai governarte is meeting regularly to discuss the nuts and bolts of turning Sharm el-Sheikh into an environment-friendly place. Experts believe that Sharm El-Sheikh stands to gain from a green future, both in environmental and economic terms.

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