EGYPT mapping

Document Sample
EGYPT mapping Powered By Docstoc
					Wadi Environmental Science Centre

      DEMENA Youth Climate

           Presenting Egypt's Case
Wadi Environmental Science Centre

Table of Contents

1. Setting a background for Egypt

2. Sea Level rise

3. Climate change and Food Security

4. Water Resources Agriculture and land usage

5. Ecosystems Imbalance

6. Effects of Climate Change on Public Health

7. Air Quality in Cairo

8. Energy and transportation

9. Policies, regulations & Awareness campaigns
Wadi Environmental Science Centre

Setting a background for Egypt

Egypt is located in the north-eastern corner of the African continent with an area
about 1 million square kilometers. It is considered a developing country burdened
by the scarcity of natural resources associated with extreme population growth
(over 80 million people in total).

The coastal zone of Egypt extends for more than 3,500 km and 40% of the
population live there. Most of these people live in and around a number of major
industrial and commercial cities: Alexandria, Port Said, Damietta, Rosetta, and
Suez (El-Raey, 1999). Furthermore, the Nile delta covers the area from Cairo to
the shoreline of the Mediterranean Sea, between the cities of Damietta in the east
and Rashid in the west. Hot dry summers and mild winters prevail with relatively
low, irregular, and unpredictable rainfall

The inhabited area of the country constitutes only 4% of the total area of the
country which is confined to the narrow strip of the Nile valley,from Aswan in the
south to Cairo in the north. Its only source of water -the River Nile- provides
more than 95% of all water available to the country.

The Nile delta is one of the oldest intensely cultivated areas on earth. It is very
densely inhabited, with population densities up to 1,600 inhabitants per square
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
kilometre; only (2.5%) of Egypt's land area, the Nile delta and the Nile valley, is
suitable for intensive agriculture. Most of the 50 km wide land strip along the
coast is less than 2 m above sea-level and is protected from flooding by a 1 to 10
km wide coastal sand belt only, shaped by discharge of the Rosetta and Damietta
branches of the Nile.

This protective sand belt is facing rapid erosion, which has been a serious
problem since the construction of the Aswan dam. Rising sea level is expected to
destroy weak parts of the sand belt, which is essential for the protection of lakes
and the low-lying reclaimed lands. The impacts will be very serious as one third of
Egypt's fish catches are made in these lakes. SLR will change the water quality
and affect most fresh water fish, flood valuable agricultural land, and salinate
essential groundwater resources. Egypt is potentially one of the countries most at
risk from the effects of SLR, as will be discussed.

Climate Change: Impacts of sea level rise in Egypt

Sea level changes are caused by several natural phenomenon; the three primary
contributing ones are:

1. Ocean thermal expansion

2. Glacial melt from Greenland and Antarctica - in addition to a smaller
contribution from other ice sheets-

3. Change in terrestrial storage.

It is predicted that, with global warming, global average sea levels may rise by
between 7 and 36 cm by the 2050s, by between 9 and 69 cm by the 2080s and
30–80 cm by 2100. The majority of this change will occur due to the expansion of
the warmer ocean water (Roaf, et al., 2005). Since the Greenland and Antarctic ice
sheets contain enough water to raise the sea level by almost 70 m, people will be
directly affected by rising sea levels in several ways.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
As seas rise many areas of the coasts will be submerged, with increasingly severe
and frequent storms and wave damage, shoreline retreat will be accelerated. In
addition to expected disastrous flooding events caused by severe climate events
such as heavy flooding, high tides, windstorms in combination with higher seas
(Dasgupta, et al., 2007).

Developing countries are certainly identified mainly at risk. The consequences of
SLR for population location and infrastructure planning in developing countries
should definitely be reviewed by the developing world.

The research aims to discuss the dilemma which may arise in Egypt with the
diverse effects of SLR; environmentally and socio-economically. It will examine a
number of environmental features affected; water resources and coastal zones. As
well as highlighting the socioeconomic dimensions influenced; population,
agriculture, urban areas and gross domestic product (GDP).

Since it is necessary to have an in-depth understanding of vulnerability for
decision-making with regard to adaptation, we consider the results of vulnerability
assessments in 2 case studies.

Vulnerability of developing countries to climate change

Vulnerability to climate change is considered to be high in developing countries
due to social, economic, and environmental conditions that amplify susceptibility
to negative impacts and contribute to low capacity to cope with and adapt to
climate hazards. Moreover, projected impacts of climate change generally are
more adverse for lower latitudes, where most developing countries are located,
than for higher latitudes. Because of the high level of vulnerability, there is an
urgent need in the developing world to understand the threats from climate
change, formulate policies that will lessen the risks and to take action.

First: Environmental aspects affected by SLR

Water resources
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Egypt is one of the African countries that has proved vulnerable to water stress
caused by climate change. The water used in 2000 was estimated at about 70
km3 which is already far greater than the available resources.

Both water supply and demand are expected to be affected by climate change
and SLR. A combination of salt water intrusion due to SLR and increased soil
salinity due to increased evaporation are expected to reduce the quality of
shallow groundwater supplies in the coastal areas. Rainfall measurements in
coastal areas are unpredictable and it is difficult to expect whether rainfall is
increasing or decreasing. The demand for water in Egypt is dominated by three
major user groups: agricultural irrigation, domestic use, and industry. The
agricultural sector consumes about 85% of the annual total water resource. It is
therefore likely that any effects of climate change on water supply and demand
will be dwarfed by a much larger increase in demand due to population growth.

One of the most outstanding impacts of SLR on the water resources is that it will
increase the occurrence of saline intrusion with contamination of groundwater
resources in the coastal zone. The eastern part of Lake Manzala appears to
subside at a rate of 4.5 mm yr–1, faster than any other region along the Nile
delta coast. SLR is expected to cause a landward shift of the salt wedge and to
increase the rate of saline seepage to the topsoil of the delta. This may have a
serious impact on agriculture and drainage conditions, and potentially on
available groundwater resources in the upper Nile delta. In addition, the salinity in
Lake Manzala may increase because of the stronger influence of tidal flows
penetrating the lake. Changes in the salinity conditions of the lake may affect its
ecology and fisheries and the accelerated SLR will enhance the increase in salinity.

As for the Nile Basin, it was found that there is no clear indication of how the Nile
river flow will be affected by SLR, due to uncertainty in projected rainfall patterns
in the basin and the influence of complex water management and water
governance structures.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Coastal Zones

Egypt's coastal zones constitute particularly important regions economically,
industrially, socially and culturally. In addition to increased tourism activities, a
tremendous move towards building new industrial complexes has always been in
progress, particularly in the coastal zones.

The coastal zones of Egypt extend for over 3500 km in length along both, the
Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea coasts. The Mediterranean shoreline is most
vulnerable to SLR due to its relatively low elevation. The coastal zone of Egypt is
therefore particularly vulnerable to the impact of SLR, salt water intrusion, the
deterioration of coastal tourism and the impact of extreme dust storms. This in
turn will directly affect the agricultural productivity and human settlements in
coastal zones.

During the last decades, after the construction of the High Aswan dam, sediment
input in the delta has been strongly reduced. This resulted in serious shore
erosion and salt-water intrusion which changed the delta from river- to wave-
dominated. Currently, the Nile delta experiences erosion waves driven by the
currents of the east Mediterranean gyre that sweep across the shallow shelf with
speeds up to 1 m/s., Moreover, the construction of human-made waterways for
irrigation and transportation has trapped an already depleted sediment supply to
the Nile delta. This entrapment of sediment is a key contributor to coastal erosion
and land loss occurring in the Nile delta and the Nile’s two projections, Rosetta
and Damietta.

At present, erosion is a significant environmental problem affecting Damietta
city’s coastal zone, which has retreated more than 500m in over 10 years. Erosion
along the tip of the Damietta projection has adversely affected homes to the east
at Ras El Bar. However, a number of protective structures have been constructed
along this projection to reduce shoaling in the river entrance. Continuous SLR is
expected to enhance rates of erosion of the northern coast and Nile delta.

Second: Socio-economic effects of SLR
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
The coastal zone of Egypt suffers from a number of serious problems, including
rapid demographic growth, land subsidence, excessive erosion rates, water
logging, soil salination, land use interference ecosystem pollution and
degradation, and lack of appropriate institutional management systems. In turn,
this will affect the management and access to archaeological sites; reduce
tourism, and result in socio-economic impacts on the inhabitants of these areas.


Egyptian coastal population are undeniably exposed to the effects of SLR, with its
accompanying flooding as the population is expected to double before the year
2050, if the present growth rate is maintained. SLR is expected to affect Egypt in
many ways; with just a one-meter rise in the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile delta
stands to suffer tremendously; 6.1 million people are predicted to be displaced
and 4,500 square kilometres of cropland will be lost. A correspondingly rapid
growth in agricultural and industrial output will be required to sustain this
population. Loss of beaches will reduce the number of tourists in coastal areas,
forcing tourism dependent individuals and communities to abandon their
settlements and look for jobs elsewhere. This may probably lead to increased
unemployment inducing political and civil unrest. Moreover, increased water
logging and salinity may catalyse insect and pest problems causing health

Reducing vulnerability to such threats is a major challenge to sustainable
development and land use strategies. Coastal defence engineering is costly, while
managed coastal retreat implies sacrificing private property and usable natural

It was noted in the world bank report that Egypt’s population would be most
severely impacted by SLR within the Middle East and North Africa region. With a
1m SLR, approximately 10% of Egypt’s population would be impacted. Most of
this impact takes place in the Nile delta which will have 20% of it affected with a
5m SLR
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Agriculture and food resources

Expected climatic change, population increase, urbanization and industrial
development as well as irrigation intensification constantly increase water demand
and can intensify the vulnerability of agriculture in Egypt. Also, the increase of
temperature and frequency of extreme events will reduce crop yield as well as
causing changes in the agricultural distribution of crops. Furthermore, it will
negatively affect marginal land and force farmers to abandon them increasing
desertification and unemployment associated with loss of income consequently
political unrest

Urban areas

As for the urban areas affected; Egypt is ranked the fifth in the world concerning
the biggest impact of SLR on the total urban areas, scientists predict the
Mediterranean will rise by a range of 30 centimetres to one meter by the end of
the century but still a one-meter rise in the level will possibly submerge
Alexandria. This highlights the potentially deadly exposure of its inhabitants, since
storm water drainage infrastructure is often outdated and inadequate in such low-
income urban centres. The risks may be particularly severe in poor
neighbourhoods and slums, where infrastructure is often nonexistent or poorly
designed and ill-maintained. Generally, fundamental and low-lying installations in
Alexandria and Port Said are threatened by SLR and the recreational tourism
beach facilities are endangered of partial and even full loss.

Vulnerability assessment of Alexandria Governorate

Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt. It has the largest harbor in the
country, and about 40% of Egypt’s industrial activities are based there. Its
waterfront beach is located along the northwestern border of the Nile Delta coast.
It extends for over 63 km and is considered the principal seaside summer resort
on the Mediterranean. The resident population exceeds 4.0 million, and more
than 1 million local summer visitors enjoy the summer season at Alexandria every
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
year. The city is built on a narrow coastal plain extending from Marakia to the
west to Abu Quir to the east and Lake Marioute to the south.

Alexandria’s coastal plain is composed of a series of shore-parallel carbonate
ridges (about 35 m elevation), which are separated by depressions of shallow
lagoons and sabkha. Beach erosion, rip currents, pollution, and SLR are the main
problems affecting coastal management at Alexandria

(El Raey et al. 1995, Frihy et al. 1996).

A multi-band LANDSAT TM image (September 1995) of the city was analyzed to
identify and map land use classes. A geographic information system was built in
an ARC/INFO environment including layers of city district boundaries, topographic
maps, land use classes, population and employment of each district, and
archaeological sites (El Raey et al. 1995, 1997).

Scenarios of 0.2, 0.5, and 1.0 m SLR over the next century were assumed, taking
current land subsidence (2.5 mm yr–1) into consideration. Percentage population
and land use areas at risk for each scenario were identified and quantified. Table
1 shows results of the risk of inundation due to each scenario ‘if no action is
taken’, over the coastal strip of the waterfront (about 63 km).

The first column (SL = 0.0 m) represents the percentage of each sector currently
located at an elevation below sea level. These sectors are currently protected from
inundation, either naturally or by hard structures. If sea level rises by 0.25 m, the
second column of the table shows the percentages of these sectors that will be
inundated. In this case, inundation will affect areas above sea level in all sectors
since there is no protection; this is also the case for the other amounts of SLR.
These results were used to assess potential losses of employment for each sector.

Analysis of the results indicate that, if no action is taken, an area representing the
difference between SLR = 0.5 m and SL = 0.0 m will at least be lost due to a SLR
of 0.5 m. This amounts to 45% of the beaches, 13% of the residential area, 12%
of the industrial area.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Table 1. Percentages of the population and the areas of different land use
currently existing below sea level (SL = 0.0 m) and percentages that will be
affected under different sea level rise (SLR) scenarios for the city of Alexandria (El
Raey et al. 1999)

    Sector           SL = 0.0 m            0.25              SLR (m)              1.0

Population          45              60                  67                 76
Beaches             1.3             11                  47.8               64
Residential         26.2            27.5                39.3               52
Industrial          53.9            56.1                65.9               72.2
Services            45.1            55.2                75.9               82.2
Tourism             28              31                  49                 62
Restricted area 20                  21                  25                 27
Urban               38              44                  56                 67
Vegetation          55              59                  63                 75
Wetland             47              49                  58                 98
Bare soil           15              24                  29                 31

Table 2. Area loss, population displaced and loss of employment in each sector
due to different SLR scenarios in Alexandria Governorate, assuming a scenario of
1 m SLR by 2100 (El Raey et al. 1997)

      SLR (cm)             18 (2010)        30 (2025)          50 (2050)

   Area loss (km2)           11.4             19.0               31.7
Population displaced
                             252              545                1512
Loss of Employment
     Agriculture             1370             3205               8812
        Tourism              5737            12323              33919
        Industry            24400            54936              151200
    Total loss of           32507            70465              195443
Wadi Environmental Science Centre

30% of the services, 21% of tourism, and 14% of the bare soil. At least 1.5 million
people in addition to their dependants will have to abandon their homeland, 195
000 jobs will be lost, and an economic loss of over US $35.0 billion is expected
over the next century. The analysis shown in Table 2 indicates that the most
severely affected employment sector will be industry, followed by tourism and
agriculture. A detailed assessment of the impact on each district of the city has
also been recently carried out (El Raey et al. 1995, 1999).

Vulnerability assessment of Port Said Governorate

Port Said Governorate is located in the northeastern part of the Nile Delta (30°
50’ N to 31° 00’ N, 32° 00’ E to 32° 30’ E).

The Governorate has a total area of about 1351 km2 and is divided into 5
districts: El Shark,

El Monakh, El Arab, El Dawahi, and Port Fouad. The population of Port Said
Governorate is about 0.5 million, the average population density is 391 persons
km–2, and the rate of population growth is 1.45%. The actual cultivated land in
Port Said Governorate is about 483 km2. This area supports about 2.38% of
Egypt’s agricultural activities. The total reclaimed area for agriculture is about 567
km2. The main income of this Governorate depends on revenue from the Suez
Canal, tourism, free trade zones and industrial activities.

The industrial activities include food canning, cloth making, carpet weaving, and
the leather industry (IDSC 1995). The city assumes strategic importance because
of its location on the inlet/outlet of the Suez Canal and because it is the largest
economic center close to Sinai on the Mediterranean.

The coastal zone of Port Said area is socioeconomically important to most of the
population in this area. Tourism is primarily oriented toward swimming and
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
sunbathing. Therefore, the coast, its slope, and the quality of beach and sea are
of prime importance to this industry.

Most tourist facilities such as hotels and youth camps are located within 200 to
300 m of the coast. There are also important archaeological sites along the
northern part of the Suez Canal. Many environmental problems exist in the
coastal zone of Port Said. Of particular importance are problems of beach erosion,
pollution, subsidence, and SLR.

These are detailed in the following sections.

Beach erosion

The projections of the Nile Delta, Rosetta and Damietta are currently undergoing
extensive change from both natural and anthropogenic pressures. The highest
rate of erosion occurs along the outer margins of these projections. This erosion
is a result of the combined effects of cut-off of River Nile sediment discharge by
the Aswan High Dam and prevailing coastal processes.

Erosion along the tip of the Damietta projection has adversely affected homes
and condominiums to the east at Ras El Bar, and it has destroyed the old coastal
road from Damietta to Port Said and the lighthouse west of the river (Frihy et al.
1996). However, a number of protective structures have been constructed along
this projection to reduce shoaling in the river entrance. These structures are
described in detail by Fanos et al. (1995). SLR is expected to enhance rates of

Pollution problems

The western and southern sectors of Lake Manzala are supplied by drainage
water from 7 main sources.

Water from these drains enriches the lake with nutrients, including phosphate,
nitrate, and silicate. In addition, some of these drains discharge considerable
amounts of sewage and industrial wastes directly into the lake. The Ginka
subbasin in the southeast sector of the lake is identified as a ‘black spot’. SLR is
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
expected to enhance diffusion in the coastal area and magnify the adverse effects
of this pollution.

Subsidence and SLR

The eastern part of Lake Manzala (Port Said and the northern part of the Suez
Canal) appears to subside at a rate of 4.5 mm yr–1 (e.g. Stanley & Warne 1993),
faster than any other region along the Nile Delta coast. SLR is expected to cause
a landward shift of the salt wedge and to increase the rate of saline seepage to
the topsoil of the delta. This may have a serious impact on agriculture and
drainage conditions, and potentially on available groundwater resources in the
upper Nile.

Delta. In addition, the salinity in Lake Manzala may increase because of a stronger
influence of tidal flows penetrating the lake. Changes in the salinity conditions of
Lake Manzala may lead to impacts on lake ecology and fisheries. Accelerated SLR
will enhance the increase in salinity. Combined with the notion that it is unlikely
that the lake will expand inland (as protection measures will be taken), this leads
to the general prediction that shallow wetland areas will decrease and that the
reed beds will become less abundant (due to higher salinity).

Socioeconomic impacts

The most serious impact of SLR on Port Said Governorate would be the threat to
recreational beach communities as well as to other activities in the coastal zone.
Based on the adopted local SLR scenarios of 0.50, 0.75 and 1.25 m, losses of land
area, urban areas, industrial areas, vegetation areas, population, and employment
were estimated. Estimates of losses were carried out by overlying Bruun’s
horizontal retreat distances over land use areas obtained from satellite images
and ground surveys (El Raey et al. 1998).

Results indicate that beach areas (hence tourism) are most severely affected,
followed by urban areas. The agriculture sector is the least affected sector.
Percentages as well as expected economic losses for each case are shown in
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Table 3, in which the estimates used for an area of 1 km2 are about US $100
million for beach and agricultural areas and US $500 million for industrial areas.

Even though the affected beach areas are large, the percentage losses in
industrial areas, transportation network, and urban areas are the most serious. It is
estimated that the economic loss is over US $2.0 billion for a 0.5 m SLR and may
exceed US $4.4 billion for a 1.0 m SLR. About 28 000 to 70 000 people are
expected to be displaced, and at least 6700 to 16 700 jobs are expected to be
lost for the scenarios adopted. Thesocioeconomic impacts of excessive beach
erosion are dramatic. Industry plays an important role for employment income in
Port Said Governorate, due to the existence of the Suez Canal. SLR will affect this
sector; its loss is about 12.5% in the case of a 0.50 m SLR.


The Egyptian government is taking several actions in cooperation with global
communities to protect the risked areas and to decrease the effects of the climate
change by serious research work and setting new environmental regulations
(Fahmy, 2007). It has been stated that the Egyptian government had been
working for the past 30 years on sea erosion reduction and shore protection
measures, particularly by constructing dams in the Nile delta.

Furthermore, institutional water bodies in Egypt are working to achieve targets by
2017 through the National Improvement Plan which aims to impede some of the
negative impacts of SLR on water resources. It has planned to improve water
sanitation coverage for urban and rural areas, develop wastewater management,
and optimise the use of water resources by improving irrigation efficiency and
agriculture drainage-water reuse (Bates, 2008).

To develop an adaptation strategy, the current activities and policy of coastal
protection should be quantified.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
A review of the coastal protection activities in progress, as well as of the
durability of structures, design, and costs of implementation along the Nile Delta
coast, are presented in this section.

4.1. Recent coastal protection activities Fanos et al. (1995) presented a review for
all the protection works along the Nile Delta coast, which can be summarized as

(1)West of Alexandria. The new drain at the western Nobariya drain outlet is
about 20 km to the west of Alexandria. Two jetties of 65 m length were
constructed in 1986 to protect the exit from siltation, and they are functioning

(2) Eastern harbor of Alexandria. A 180 m extension of the existing west
breakwater would narrow the gap between the west and central breakwaters from
its existing 300 m width to 100 m (Tetratech 1986). This decrease in gap width
would reduce wave heights along the critical area of the Corniche.

(3) Alexandria beaches. Five beaches, El Shatby, Stanley, Sidi Bishr, El Asafra, and
El Mandra, were nourished by medium to coarse sand transported from the
desert near Cairo.

(4) Abu Quir Bay. The Abu Quir Sea wall was built in 1780 and has been
maintained by placement of additional large concrete blocks. This wall was
modified and reinforced in 1980 by constructing a sloping face (2:1) and placing
0.5 ton modified cubes as a layer of protection.

(5) West of El Gamil regulator and inform of El Fardos village. In 1994,
construction of 4 detached breakwaters was begun in the area to protect it from
erosion. Each breakwater is 250 m long and is constructed from a barge-
mounted plant at a water depth of 4 m. The cost of these 4 breakwaters is US
$3.5 million (Delft Hydraulics 1991). These are still under construction.

(6) El Gamil outlet. Two jetties of 225 and 200 m length on the western and
eastern sides of El Gamil outlet, respectively, were constructed to protect this
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
outlet from siltation and migration. The cost of these 2 jetties was US $0.75
million (Delft Hydraulics 1991).

(7) Highway near El Gamil airport. A small bituminous dike, about 4 km in
length, was constructed to protect the low parts of the coastal road near the
airport from flooding. The cost was US $1.0 million (Delft Hydraulics 1991).

Adaptation and short-term protection methods

Beach nourishment and groins

Beach nourishment includes depositing sand onto the open beach as well as
beach scraping, building artificial dunes as storm buffers and beach sand
reservoirs, and laying pipes underneath the beach to suck in the water and trap

Groins, which are hard structures perpendicular to the coastline, are used with
beach nourishment to trap sand.

The expense of this option is very low compared to other options. The net benefit
(direct and indirect) of this option is good because it forms new beaches for
tourism and creates employment. The environmental impact of this option is fair,
particularly for the beach. It is good for fishing due to the migration of fish to
offshore areas. The flexibility (success in the long term) of this option is good with
regard to SLR. The chance of success is judged to be good. This option needs
periodic nourishment. The public acceptance (feasibility) of this option is excellent,
and the expected environmental impact (fairness) along other coastal areas is
excellent, as long as the nourishment is carried out periodically for vulnerable
beaches. This option has no effect on fishermen, and it may increase fishing
because sand material could constitute a new source of nutrients for fish.

Beach nourishment has no adverse effects on farmers, and it protects their land
from flooding and saltwater intrusion. Also, this strategy has no adverse effects
on the industrial workers, and it protects the factories and workers from flooding.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
The best advantage of this strategy is the retainment of the beach for tourism,
the protection of hotels, and an increase of jobs in the tourism sector.


Breakwaters are hard structures used to reduce the wave energy reaching the
shoreline. They can be set up offshore as submerged breakwaters or as riprap
along the shore to absorb wave energy. This strategy is relatively very expensive.
The net benefit of this option is only along the coastline, not on the social
community or ecosystem. The environmental impact of this strategy is fair, but it
is considered to be the best available tool for protection of lowland areas. The
flexibility is good and so is the chance of success. The feasibility of
implementation of this strategy is good. People staying in the coastal area need
to protect themselves from coastal erosion. This strategy affects fishing processes,
so the fishermen need new tools and modern motor boats for fishing offshore.
Breakwaters and dikes are good tools for protecting cultivated land as well as all
the infrastructure that is located in the coastal areas; therefore, the farmers,
industrial workers and employment in the tourism sector are not affected by this

An article in the Middle East Times, by Joseph Mayton mentioned that experts
warn that Egypt could be on the receiving end of a natural disaster of substantial
proportions. Although numerous scenarios are being studied by scientists, two
things appear certain in all of them: Alexandria, Egypt's second largest city on the
Mediterranean Sea coast is expected to disappear and North Africa will be facing
trouble for years ahead. The Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs,
Maged George, stated to a parliamentary committee in Cairo that many of the
towns and urban areas in the north of the Nile delta will suffer from a rise in the
level of the Mediterranean with effect from 2020, and about 15 percent of delta
land is under threat from the rising sea level and its seepage into the ground
water. He said that joint studies by his ministry and the United Nations have
assessed the situation is urgent, adding that Egypt is planning to start an
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
international campaign to look for proper solutions (Thomas, 2008b). While a cost
assessment for contingency measures has not yet been conducted in Egypt, the
2007 IPCC report advised that adaptation costs for climate change would be
much lower than post-event expenses.

Finally: Adaptation plans are mainly focusing on increasing the adaptive capacity
of the different systems, by changes in processes, practices, or structures to
reduce climate risks (Watson,2001). In developing countries, the priority of these
plans is the high vulnerable systems to climate change. Therefore, the high
vulnerability of the agricultural sector put it on top of the priority list of
adaptation plans. Adaptation to climate change in Egypt is a major issue from the
perspectives of food production, rural population stabilization, and distribution of
water resources. Previous studies have addressed adaptation in a top-down
approach, evaluating theoretical options with little relation to current agricultural

There is a need to incorporate the value of the management knowledge for
formulating adaptation measures for agriculture in a bottom-up approach as this
is the major sector acutely skewed by SLR. However, to date, there is little
evidence that the international community has seriously considered the
implications for population location and infrastructure planning as a means of
adapting to the impacts of SLR in many developing countries including Egypt
(Dasgupta, et al., 2007).

Food Security Challenges

1. Dwindling Water Supplies and Food Insecurity

Climate change also threatens to upend the precarious balance of water
allocation between Egypt and the other states bordering the Nile.                Egypt and
Sudan currently claim the vast majority of the Nile’s water despite their location
down river from the source regions. These claims are made under the Nile Basin
Treaty of 1959.     The treaty denied the riparian states, which were still under
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
colonial rule, all but the most minimal allocation of water.       Today, states like
Ethiopia that already face severe water stress are demanding more water than the
treaty allows for.      While the variability in models prevent a conclusive
determination of whether climate change will mean more or less rain at the Nile’s
source waters, it is clear that the increased evaporation due to rising
temperatures will result in greater water stress. [ii] Increased scarcity will threaten
Egypt’s development plans. Agrawala et al point to this danger, writing that one
third of international monetary support for Egypt’s development is for projects
involving sectors threatened by climate change. [ii] As the Nile’s waters dwindle,
the survival of communities in Ethiopia and other states currently disputing water
rights with Egypt will also be placed in jeopardy.

Finally, climate change could exacerbate the food security issues that Egypt
already faces.   Egypt’s report to the UNFCCC states that “climate change may
bring about substantial reductions in the national grain production.” [i] Grain is
only one of Egypt’s food sources endangered by unmitigated climate change.
Even without climate change, by 2020 Egypt is projected to import 300-360
thousand metric tons of fish, which is a third of its projected domestic
production. [iv] However, climate change could drastically increase Egypt’s trade
imbalance in fish products while simultaneously tightening the global fish market.
As the sea level rises, salt water will infiltrate the North Egyptian lakes where 60%
of Egypt’s fisheries are located. [ii] As the lake water becomes saltier, the aquatic
plants that protect the marine life by filtering the contaminated wastewater from
Egypt’s industry will die off. [i] The shallow nature of Egypt’s lakes will provide
little protection from temperature increases that could disrupt the marine
ecosystems. [ii] As Egypt’s domestic fisheries face increased risks, Egypt will be
forced to import more fish from other nations whose own fisheries will be facing
decline.   Disruptions in Egypt’s food supply could impose starvation and
economic stress, likely leading to unrest. Food scarcity has a history of provoking
instability in Egypt: according to the Washington Post “the only mass popular
uprising in Egypt in the past half-century” occurred in 1977 when there was an
attempt to eliminate subsidies for bread. [viii] In 2008, riots broke out in Egypt
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
over the lack of food. While the riots that occurred last year eventually came to
an end, Mubarak was forced to call out the military to distribute and bake bread

2. Food security threatened by falls in production and world price rises

Livestock production would suffer due to a deterioration in the quality of
rangeland associated with higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide
and to changes in areas of rangeland as climate boundaries move northwards. In
the European Mediterranean, the area of unproductive shrubland is expected to
expand, while in North Africa and the Near East, most of the steppe rangeland
could give way to desert by 2050 or earlier.

Yields of grains and other crops could decrease substantially across the
Mediterranean region due to increased frequency of drought. While losses may
be partially offset by beneficial effects from carbon dioxide, crop production
would be further threatened by increases in competition for water and the
prevalence of pests and diseases and land losses through desertification and sea
level rise.

Climate change effects combined with wider socio-economic factors could cause
cereal production over much of southern Europe to become untenable. At
Kardista in central Greece, for example, the chance of obtaining current yields of
maize could drop to close to zero by 2050, while in Spain, irrigation problems
could force maize out of production.

In North Africa and the Near East, changes in average climate associated with a
doubling of carbon dioxide could cause yield losses of over 20% for wheat, corn
and other coarse grains - even before allowance is made for losses through other
causes. In coastal areas, large areas of productive land may be lost through
flooding, saline intrusion and waterlogging. In Egypt, for example, agricultural
production may cease altogether over an area extending 20 km inland.

World prices for many key commodities such as wheat, maize, soybean meal and
poultry could rise significantly as a result of global climate changes. Not only
might Mediterranean countries loose substantially in economic terms, but the
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
combination of higher prices and crop losses would lead to a deterioration in
levels of food security in, particularly, southern countries.

Climate Change and Agriculture


Major crops in Egypt include wheat, maize, clover, cotton, rice, sugar-cane, fava
bean, sorghum and soybean. National wheat and maize production do not meet
the current demand for these crops, and each year additional amounts have to be
imported. The rapid growth of the country’s population, the economic stress of
reliance on food imports, and the limited area for agriculture require Egyptians to
findnew ways to increase agriculture productivity.

Future climate change scenarios predict a decrease in wheat and maize yields in
Egypt threatening national grain production, which is already short of meeting
local demand. Conversely, the seed cotton yield is expected to gradually increase.
Vulnerability of crops to changes in pest infestation and plant diseases is another
potential impact of climate variability. The images below illustrate the damaged
caused by blight to potato crops in Giza resulting from little variation in
temperature and humidity.

                  Infected Fields                               Healthy Fields

Planting different wheat and maize cultivars, as well as changing crop choices in
the Egyptian agricultural product mix are among possible adaptation strategies to
climate variability. The following chart provides an estimate of the expected
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
change in major crop production in Egypt by the year 2050 due to climate

        Expected change in major crop production in Egypt by 2050

In Egypt, several studies have been undertaken to attempt to evaluate the
potential impact of climate change on the agriculture sector. For wheat and maize
production this was evaluated by simulating crop production under different
climatic scenarios.

The potential impact on cotton was evaluated by analyzing sensitivity to
temperature in three main agroclimatological regions: the Central Delta region,
represented byn 62 Sakha, the Middle Egypt region represented by Giza, and
Upper Egypt represented by Shandaweel.

Vulnerability of Agriculture Sector:

Because of the uncertainties associated with predicting climate change,
researchers commonly use climate change scenarios to estimate how climate
affects a system. Scenarios derived from the General Circulation Models (GCMs)
and arbitrary sensitive tests (e.g. +2 and +4 C temperature changes, +/- 10 –20%
precipitation changes) are recommended to estimate potential future change in
yield and other agronomically important variables.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
All climate change scenarios considered resulted in simulated decreases in wheat
and maize yields in the three sites. Thus, it is possible to conclude that climate
change may bring about substantial reductions in the national grain production.
As for cotton,it is clear that seed cotton yield will be increased gradually to arrive
at its maximum by the year 2050 due to the expected impact of climate change
(i.e. when temperatures increase +2C and +4C) under the normal CO2

If climate change as projected by atmospheric scientists (IPCC 1990, 1992a,b and
1994) adversely affected crop production, Egypt would have to increase its
reliance on costly food imports.

Early Warnings

The recent data on the dangers of climate change reaffirm the early warnings
provided by the Climate Institute and others about Egypt’s vulnerability. In the
March-April 1992 Climate Alert, the Climate Institute published a story
summarizing several reports on vulnerable countries presented at the Climate
Institute-sponsored   symposium      for   UN    missions    and   nongovernmental
organizations. The presentation on Egypt warned of drops in Nile flow, loss of
arable land, and changes in Egypt’s trade balance for critical crops. [ix] In 1995,
Dr. Stephen Leatherman, co-chairman of the Climate Institute at the time, was the
principal investigator of a 5-year EPA study on the dangers of sea level rise that
isolated Egypt as one of the nations that would suffer the most. The study not
only predicted the forced migration of 2 million people but also warned of the
disastrous effect a rising sea level would have on the Egyptian tourism sector. [x]
The evidence and consensus is overwhelming that Egypt will face serious
challenges as the climate changes.

Egypt's Response: 20% by 2020

While Egypt’s unique geography makes continued climate change extremely
dangerous, its geography also provides the potential for a strong renewable
energy sector.    Egypt is stepping up to take advantage of this potential by
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
assuming a leadership role in climate change mitigation among Middle Eastern
and North African nations. By 2020 Egypt plans to produce 20% of its energy
from renewable sources. Egypt has already received 300 million dollars from the
World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund [xii] and is planning to implement a feed-in
tariff to support the further development and proliferation of renewable energy
technologies. [v]   Egypt’s geography allows for the development of several
sources of renewable energy on a large scale.

As part of the 20% goal, Egypt plans to produce 12% of its energy from wind
power. Reaching the 12% from wind goal would involve producing 7200 MWs of
wind energy by 2020. [v]    The New Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) found
that Egypt’s Red Sea coast “is one of the windiest places in the world,” [vii] and
the Egypt National Report for Plan Bleu estimates that there is the potential for
20,000 MWs of wind power from the Red Sea coast alone. Egypt’s geography
provides great advantages for wind power development, and the Global Wind
Energy Council is optimistic about Egypt’s potential for wind energy development,
noting that there were already 356 MWs of installed capacity in 2008 with several
more projects in development. [v] As there are very few population centers along
the Red Sea coast, wind development is unlikely to face stiff competition for land.
[vi] Moreover, Egypt’s wind resources are not limited to the Red Sea coast. The
deserts to either side of the Nile Valley and the Sinai provide more land that
could potentially be developed for wind power, [vi] even though the wind speeds
are slightly lower there than along the Red Sea coast.

Egypt can also mobilize solar power to meet its 20% goal. According to a report
by the NREA, Egypt is well endowed in its solar power resources with a yearly
average of 1900-2600 Kwh of solar radiation per meter squared. [vii] On average
the US only receives 1759 KWh/m2. [xi] Egypt plans to construct a 150 MW solar
plant, which generates 30 MWs through solar thermal, and by 2020 Egypt plans
to have built two additional solar plants, each with 300 MWs of capacity. [vi] In
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
addition, Egypt could save a lot of energy through the use of solar water heaters.
Egypt’s solar water heater industry began after Egypt imported 1000 solar heaters
in 1979. [vi] In 1987, Egypt required that new buildings have solar water heating
systems. [vi] Unfortunately, Egypt’s initial foray into the use of solar water heaters
was a failure. Poor quality resulted in numerous problems that reduced public
confidence in solar water heaters, and builders began to ignore the requirement.
The problems in quality were compounded by the difficulty of providing
maintenance instruction to the more rural areas. However, the initial failure is not
cause to abandon solar water heater use in Egypt. Other states including Israel
have successfully implemented regulations requiring the use of solar water
heaters.   The solar water heaters currently functioning in Egypt already save
290,000 tons of CO2 emissions annually, [vi] and the NREA suggests that the
number of people using solar water heaters could be grown by increasing
financial incentives, establishing strict production guidelines, and providing
instruction on how maintain the systems.

Water Resources and Agriculture and Land Usage

The Egyptian freshwater supply is dependent upon Nile River flow and
underground fresh water sources, such as aquifers, that supply oases, rural
regions and farmlands throughout the country. The Nubian Sandstone aquifer is
the largest underground fresh water system in Egypt and is highly important as a
fresh water source, however, because its waters are fossil waters primarily from
the Jurassic period and the contribution groundwater’s allow is so minimal, it is
ultimately a non-renewable, finite resource. It is a groundwater system of a
complex structure which extends over a large area of 2 million kilometers
squared, encompassing Egypt, Sudan, Libya and Chad.

The Western Desert lies over the Nubian Sandstone aquifer and is composed of
three groundwater units that are related to geographical locations. The North-
Western Basin contains the Qattara Depression and Siwa Oasis. Ed-Dakhla Basin is
the most important in Egypt’s groundwater systems. Beginning in the 1960’s,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
known as El Wadi el Gedid project under Nasser, El Kharga, Ed-Dakhla, El-Farafra
and El-Bahariya oases became reclaimed and cultivated. Since then the amount of
groundwater extracted from the aquifer has doubled and the extraction rate as of
2003 was at 500 million meters cubed annually and the amount estimated for the
entire aquifer’s contents lies around 150,000 kilometers cubed. To be more exact,
3 million meters cubed per day are extracted from Siwa Oasis/Qattara Depression,
Farafra-Bahariya Despression ranges from 500,000-1 million meters cubed per day
and the Kharga-Dakhla Depression extracts 3 million meters cubed per day. It is
estimated that if 1.5 meters of this water are to be used for agricultural purposes
annually, the water will be used up within fifty years. The ongoing cost of energy
to using aquifer and groundwater sources also makes this economically un-
profitable in the long run. Over exploitation of the aquifer has already led to salt
water intrusion, especially in the Delta from the Mediterranean Sea .

Another source of water in Egypt, which is seriously unutilized, is rainwater. Based
on a yearly average, Egypt experiences rainfall in the amount of 10 billion meters
cubed, leading to an average surface run-off amount of .5-1 billion meters cubed
of water. This may double in particularly wet years. This water could be collected
by using low earth dams and water saving agricultural methods

The Aswan High Dam, completed in 1971, has since controlled Nile water flow in
Egypt by creating storage for more than one year in order to accommodate for
wet or dry years. The ultimate goal of the Dam is to control water flow through
Egypt in order to save approximately 32 billion meters cubed of Nile water from
flowing freely into the Mediterranean. Though the original outset of the project
was to store and secure a viable and consistent water resource for Egypt’s people
and land and protect a growing population from annual flooding, there have
undoubtedly been problems associated with this change. In regards to water
usage, unexpectedly high water loss has occurred and some experts argue that
Egypt has actually lost water rather than gained it. The main sources of water loss
are from evaporation and seepage in the storage lake at the dam. The annual loss
from this is estimated at 15 billion meters cubed, almost double from the original
7.5 billion meters cubed expected to be gained from the project. There is also
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
issue from water loss in the discharge system of the Nile from the dam. This is
primarily attributed to free access to water from the countryside off of the
discharge system and also because hydroelectric power is require from the dam,
demanding a release of water when it is not necessary for water supply .

There is no agreement on the trend of climate change in terms of precipitation
and evaporation. Precipitation is likely to rise within the next decades within
almost the entire Nile basin; however, in recent decades a decrease in rainfall was
recorded in the Ethiopian highlands that provide about 80% of Nile water.
Temperature is also likely to increase and overall evaporation is as well, leading to
a reduction of Nile River flow possibly reaching 75% in the most extreme cases.

The estimated increase in population in Egypt poses another threat to water
resources, especially the Nile. Irrigation potential for foodstuff is not fully or
efficiently utilized and creates more of a threat than the issue of arable land. The
question here is how the vast irrigation potential will be used to its optimum
within the coming decades. With the projected flux in rainfall, yet pressing
evaporation factor, it will become ever more important to use water harvesting
techniques, such as lakes and dams, to retain the potential increase in efficiency
in agricultural waters in order to compensate for the demand for both municipal
and industrial water.

In regards to water management and agriculture there are four major categories:
flood irrigation, seepage, poor network conditions, and water quality. Drip
irrigation and land leveling are possible remedies to this problem. Egypt is also
the end of the Nile River flow and has experienced problems in public expansion
for the amount of water received from the flow. Any environmental disturbance
or political discrepancies between Egypt and the source countries could be
detrimental. Irrigated agriculture represents the bulk of the demand for the water
in Egypt. Under water scarcity, it is the first sector affected and water shortages
lead to reduced food production. A multi-disciplinary action (crops, irrigation
methods, economic systems) is needed at all levels (national and international .)

Land Distribution and Usage:
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
The 1950’s witnessed major land reforms under Nasser that have led to the
evolution of land use issues we see today. Over time, with the regulations of the
landowners and the tenants evolving under the land distribution, landowners no
longer wanted to make a long term tenancy contract anymore, and preferred to
lease the land informally for the year and charge high rates to the tenants at the
end of harvest. A law was passed in 1992 by the government which raised rents
to close the gap between rents paid and the prices for leased property. The
ultimate consequence of this has been that small landholders cannot pay their
rent and the land is being turned back over into the hands of the richer populace.
The major environmental consequence this has is that land is rented on a yearly
basis and continually changes hands of those who farm it, leading to degradation
of the land as there is no investment by those farming and no desire for
improvement or preservation of soil quality. The largest problems with conducting
agriculture today in Egypt is scarcity of arable land and soil degradation via over
fertilization and salination from improper irrigation practices .

Some programs, organizations and plans have been implemented, as there is an
intensive population pressure in the Nile Delta and Nile Valley. Land fertility is
deteriorating progressively. Productivity is hindered by combined technical and
socio-economic factors. Urbanization and desertification lead to dramatic loss of
arable lands. Salt is one of the most prominent pollutants that result from
irrigated agriculture. The present agricultural strategy is not based on self
sufficiency but on food security, using Egypt’s competitive advantages. Food
policy should focus on making the best use of all productive resources, which for
agriculture include: land, water, labor, climate and the proximity to vast export
markets by growing crops for which it has a comparative advantage. Field
irrigation methods and devises should be improved, including field irrigation
canals. More night irrigation should be encouraged to save water.

Since Nasser Egypt has made great efforts to reclaim desert land and to open
new water sources. Approximately 100,000 feddans of land has been reclaimed
since 1952. The average yields of cultivation on reclaimed land are relatively low
and have high input costs. This makes land reclamation in the desert difficult,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
especially under the constricting environmental and economic conditions faced in
Egypt. From 1952-1997 the greatest portion of land reclamation was on arable
land on the western and eastern sides of the Nile delta. What has since happened
and embodies the vision of the future is that the greatest portions will be to
peripheral regions in order to enable a population migration out of the Nile
valley. This mostly constitutes land in the south-western desert and the north
western portion of Sinai, east of the Suez Canal. The land reclamation projects
that have actually had a more immediate and visible effect has been done on the
outer rims of Cairo. The satellite cities of 6th of October and New Cairo/5th
Settlement have developed rapidly as residential and private sector sites. Not only
have they served to emigrate the population outside of the city center, but have
also allowed for private sector investments and development. Universities and
shopping centers have also followed suit and established themselves in the new
settlements areas, with the largest shopping mall in the Middle East, Mall of
Arabia, well under construction in 6th of October. An issue that is often faced in
these settlement areas is reliable access to resources. It is reportedly routine to
have water and or electricity shut off for up to days at a time, especially during
the summer months, in New Cairo. Efficient and continual access to resources for
these expanding satellite settlements places further strain on the government and
the environment to support population migrations into the desert region .

In the western Nile delta and on the north west Mediterranean coast there is a
large push for land reclamation. 27 percent of the total reclaimed land in Egypt
was in the governorate of El Beheira as of 2001. The land was originally reclaimed
for irrigation using Nile water and then given to small farming projects. In West
Nubariya and the Naturn Valley land was originally reclaimed to distribute among
graduates as potential plots for agrarian purposes. However, the possession of
these reclaimed properties gave way to the wealthy and military personnel who
then established larger scale farms and plantations. In the 1990’s a reclamation
project was instituted to access and irrigate approximately 400,000 feddans in
Egypt north western coastal strip. This constitutes the An-Nasr Canal and the Al
Hammam Canal. This region is primarily dependent on brackish groundwater from
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
the aquifer. The situation of the small farms stretching along this area from Cairo
to Alexandria suffers from serious problems. There is a shortage of irrigation
water, a permanent increase in the costs of power for water pumps,
transportation issues, a general increase in production costs and failure in
marketing their products. For example, in 2001, oranges were left unpicked on
trees because their resale value was so far under the production costs. We also
see in this area absorption of large amounts of land (5,000 feddans+) by the
wealthy and governmentally affiliated in order to secure land as an investment
and or under governmental privilege. However, it is sited that the main issue
these farmers face is irrigation water shortage. This is due to the region but made
worse by the water hungry crops often grown, such as oranges and bananas. It
has also forced farmers to dig more wells and tap the low quality, hi salinity,
aquifer water, thus degrading the soil and destroying orchards and crops

Ecosystems Imbalance due to Climate Change: Land and Sea


An ecosystem is a community of plants and animals that interact together and
with their abiotic and natural environment. The different ecosystems are
differentiated based on the dominant climate, topography, vegetation and other
factors. Ecosystems included natural (eg. marine coastal systems, lakes, forests
etc.) and human constructed systems (e.g. agro-ecosystems, urban ecosystems,
etc.). Humans and their communities are an integral and often dominant
component of ecosystems.

The World Bank describes Egypt as particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate
change, saying it faces potentially "catastrophic" consequences.

The effect of climate change on ecosystems is currently measured using two key
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
1- Empirical synthesis and modeling of species range shifts and life-cycle
processes that coincide with recent evidence of climate change, from which
scenarios of ecosystem change are inferred; and

2- Experiments examining plant-soil interactions under simulated warming. Both
kinds of assessment offer indisputable evidence that climate change and its
effects on ecosystems are ongoing.

One major flaw of these approaches is that they don’t consider the feedback and
interplay between trophic levels in ecosystems.

Ecosystems degradation and imbalance in Egypt is a vital issue, particularly land
and water given that more than 95% of the lands are deserts. Moreover, in a
report published by the UNDP in 2000, an estimated 35% of the total agricultural
land suffers from secondary salination – caused by soil degradation, poor
drainage and excessive irrigation.


Imbalances in ecosystems have been known to be results of many factors, mostly
related to human activities. Some of these factors include: population growth,
pollution, industrialization, deforestation, urban land expansion. Among other
reasons, agricultural land being lost to urbanization and windblown sands;
increasing soil salination below the Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution
threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from
agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; limited natural fresh
water resources away from the Nile, which is the only perennial water source; and
rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and other natural resources

Types of Ecosystems in Egypt


The case of mangroves
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Mangroves are trees of various species that adapted to living with their roots
submerged, which sometimes causes problems in oxygen supply and salt
regulation. The most common mangrove species is Avicennia marina. Mangroves
are abundant in coastal areas and especially in flood water valleys, which continue
to trickle underground water even if the rainy season is short. Mangroves are
essential in the coastal ecosystem as they offer protection to and a nursery
ground for young shrimps and fish. Drought that extends over many years can
cause these ecosystems to dwindle in size, and with their role removal, other
dependent species fight for survival.

The case of coral reefs

Scientists have been observing an on going trend in which coral reefs are
bleached due to the increased acidification in the Red Sea, caused by climate
change. This bleaching of coral reefs isn’t only an ecosystem imbalance, but it’s a
threat to Egypt’s diving and snorkeling tourism industry – which brings in millions
of tourists annually. This is dreadful news to a country which, according to a 2009
report by the World Bank, owes 20% of its foreign currency earnings to the
tourism industry, which employs 12.6% of the workforce.

The case for Lake Nasser and the Aswan Dam

The Aswan High Dam, built in the 1960s, created major change in one of the
world’s largest and most famous rivers. The dam stopped the annual flooding
that provided new fertile soil each year, the basis for agriculture in ancient Egypt.
The decrease in water flow below the dam also changed the eastern
Mediterranean Sea. Prior to the dam construction, Mediterranean water was less
salty than regular sea water because its waters mixed with freshwater from the
Nile. Heavy metal pollution in the lake has large implications on the entire lower
Nile valley, which in turn poses a high risk for the agricultural production and
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
The case for the recent shark attacks

An Oceanic White Tip Shark attacked tourists in Sharm El Sheikh in five separate
incidents this December. In an attempt to address the huge media attention,
Egypt’s park authorities captured and killed two sharks – a White Tip and a Mako,
both listed as vulnerable in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) Red list of threatened species.

The oceanic white tip shark (Carcharhinus longimanus) is found around the world
in deep, open water that has a temperature greater than 18C. Once an abundant
species, its numbers dropped by about 70% from 1990 to 2000 as it fell victim to
gillnets and longlines in the world's ever-increasing number of fisheries.

The incidents highlight a highly unusual and aggressive behavior displayed by the
Sharks towards humans. Speculations are varied from suspecting poaching of the
fins by Yemeni fishermen to export to Japan, while others suggest that an
ecosystem imbalance causing food shortage could have urged the sharks to look
for new food sources closer to the reef and the shore.

Some blame the behavior of tourists – feeding fish – which would attract fish to
the reefs where most tourists are snorkeling/diving and fish can attract their
predator (i.e. shark) into the shallow waters where they can run into humans.
Another claim with relation to food is that most divers want to see or photograph
sharks as part of their Red Sea experience.


The Nile Delta and Nile Valley are severely being affected by Climate Change. Sea
water intrusion into cultivated land, alkalization, salinization and water logging
due to mismanagement of lands, soil pollution – are all factors that are causing
rapid desertification and a sharp decreased crop yield which in turn affects the
country’s food security.

Ecosystems Imbalance and its Effect on Public and Livestock Health
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
The environmental health risks posed to humans and livestock in Egypt are
glaring while the causes are not dealt with in the proper means or immediate
urgency. Improper ecosystems management and severe agricultural, domestic and
industrial contamination are the leading factors.

In a report published in 1997 by the WHO on the State of Health and the
Environment, it was concluded that the poor environmental quality (and
ecosystems) was directly responsible for 25 percent of all diseases that could be
classed as preventable (e.g., occupational illnesses, acute respiratory infections,
diarrhea, and malaria).

The impact of climate change on temperatures and precipitation levels can highly
influence vectors and the diseases they carry e.g. Cholera and Malaria. In the case
of Cholera, it has been strongly linked to degraded coastal marine ecosystems of
warm waters and degraded nutrient rich soil.

Effects of Climate Change on Public Health

In 2007, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that:

“Human beings are exposed to climate change through changing weather
patterns (for example, more intense and frequent extreme events) and indirectly
through changes in water, air, food quality and quantity, ecosystems, agriculture,
and economy. At this early stage the effects are small but are projected to
progressively increase in all countries and regions.”1

Throughout the world, the prevalence of some diseases and other threats to
human health depend largely on local climate. Extreme temperatures can lead
directly to loss of life, while climate-related disturbances in ecological systems,
such as changes in the range of infective parasites, can indirectly impact the

    IPCC Report,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
incidence of serious infectious diseases. In addition, warm temperatures can
increase air and water pollution, which in turn harm human health.2

Given the complexity of factors that influence human health, assessing health
impacts related to climate change poses a difficult challenge. Furthermore, climate
change is expected to bring a few benefits to health, including fewer deaths due
to exposure to cold. Nonetheless, the IPCC has concluded that, overall (globally),
negative climate-related health impacts are expected to outweigh positive health
impacts during this century.

In spite of the Arab World's relatively small 4.2 percent contribution to global
greenhouse gas emissions, the Arab Forum for Environmental Development
(AFED) report states, the Middle East remains one of the most vulnerable areas in
the world to climate change. “Damage associated with climate change is not
distributed proportionately according to emissions,” the report notes, pointing out
that the regions least responsible for global warming will be hit the hardest.3

And according to the report, entitled, "Egypt's Second National Communication to
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC):

"Egypt is one of the most vulnerable countries to the potential risks and
impacts of climate change. Health effects of climate change are expected to
be particularly significant for vulnerable populations such as elderly, children,
infirm and poor”4

The UN-mandated report prepared by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency
(EEAA) on the effects of climate change in Egypt also made clear that global
warming could introduce new diseases into Egypt and exacerbate existing public
health problems.

 US Environmental Protection Agency,
 Al-Masry Al-Youm, Arab world must brace for climate change,
  Al-Masry Al-Youm, Egypt faces global warming-related health hazards,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Direct impacts of climate change on human health in Egypt are perceived to
include physiological disorders, skin cancer, eye cataracts, damage to public
health infrastructure, deaths and injuries, heat strokes and heat related
phenomena, etc.

Meanwhile, the indirect impacts are perceived to include factors like demographic
dislocations, socio-economic disruptions, ecological system impacts, and air
pollution impacts. To illustrate, many of the fossil fuel combustion processes that
produce CO2 and other greenhouse gases also produce a host of air pollutants
such as particulate matter (PM), sulphate, ozone, and other pollutants, all of which
have short term adverse effects on public health.


Climate change may directly affect human health through increases in average
temperature. Such increases may lead to more extreme heat waves during the
summer while producing less extreme cold spells during the winter. Rising
average temperatures are predicted to increase the incidence of heat waves and
hot extremes.

Over a longer time period, increased temperatures have other effects ranging
from drought to ecosystem changes that can affect health. Droughts can result in
shortages of clean water and may concentrate contaminants that negatively affect
the chemistry of surface waters in some areas. Drought may also strain
agricultural productivity and could result in increased food prices and food
shortages, worsening strain on those affected by hunger and food insecurity.

As for Egypt, as water temperature rises it will cause the snail hosts that carry
Shistosomiasis, also known as Bilharzia, to extend their range. It is also important
to note that extending irrigation networks to compensate for expected global
warming-induced water shortages could lead to increased human exposure to the

 The Arab Republic of Egypt: Initial National Communication on Climate Change,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Extreme Events

Extreme weather events can be destructive to human health and well-being. The
extent to which climate change may affect the frequency and severity of these
events, such as hurricanes and extreme heat and floods, is being investigated by
world governments. An increase in the frequency of extreme events may result in
more event-related deaths, injuries, infectious diseases, and stress-related

Sea level rise for example increases the risk from extreme weather events in
coastal areas, threatening critical infrastructure and worsening immediate and
chronic health effects. Salt-water entering freshwater drinking supplies is also a
concern for these regions, and increased salt content in soil can hinder
agricultural activity in coastal areas.6

In Egypt, the effects of climate change also include an increase in the frequency
and severity of sandstorms, and longer periods of drought followed by more
intense flooding. This is expected to lead to public health problems, including the
spread of epidemics, especially in poorer regions. More generally, national income
will decline and will in turn result in the spread of social and political problems.

Climate Sensitive Diseases

Climate change may increase the risk of some infectious diseases, particularly
those diseases that appear in warm areas and are spread by mosquitoes and
other insects. These “vector borne” diseases include malaria, dengue fever, yellow
fever, and encephalitis. Also, algal blooms could occur more frequently as
temperatures warm — particularly in areas with polluted waters — in which case
diseases (such as cholera) that tend to accompany algal blooms could become
more frequent.

Higher temperatures, in combination with favorable rainfall patterns, could
prolong disease transmission seasons in some locations where certain diseases

 Health Effects, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
already exist. In other locations, climate change will decrease transmission via
reductions in rainfall or temperatures that are too high for transmission. For
example, temperature and humidity levels must be sufficient for certain disease-
carrying vectors, such as ticks that carry Lyme disease, to thrive. And climate
change could push temperature and humidity levels either towards or away from
optimum conditions for the survival rate of ticks.

The IPCC has noted that the global population at risk from vector-borne malaria
will increase by between 220 million and 400 million in the next century. While
most of the increase is predicted to occur in Africa, some increased risk is
projected in Britain, Australia, India and Portugal.

As for Egypt in specific, although Egypt has not reported an indigenous case of
malaria since 1998, yet global warming may cause Egypt to fall prey to the
disease. Not only will global warming "extend the range and growth season" of
mosquitoes--which often serve as vehicles for malaria--but it also threatens to
accelerate the development of the malaria pathogens in mosquitoes, increasing
the efficiency of disease infection.

Air Quality

Climate change is expected to contribute to some air quality problems.
Respiratory disorders may be exacerbated by warming-induced increases in the
frequency of smog (ground-level ozone) events and particulate air pollution.

Ground-level ozone can damage lung tissue, and is especially harmful for those
with asthma and other chronic lung diseases. Sunlight and high temperatures,
combined with other pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and volatile organic
compounds, can cause ground-level ozone to increase.

Another pollutant of concern is "particulate matter" also known as particle
pollution or PM. Particulate matter is a complex mixture of extremely small
particles and liquid droplets. When breathed in, these particles can reach the
deepest regions of the lungs. Exposure to particle pollution is linked to a variety
of significant health problems. Particle pollution also is the main cause of visibility
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
impairment (haze). Climate change may indirectly affect the concentration of PM
pollution in the air by affecting natural or “biogenic” sources of PM such as
wildfires and dust from dry soils.

Nutrition and Child Development

Regional climate change impacts on agricultural yields and production are likely
to grow over time, with the most negative effects expected in developing
countries. This is expected to increase the number of undernourished people
globally and consequently lead to complications in child development.7

Climate change may also contribute to social disruption, economic decline, and
displacement of populations in certain regions due to effects on agricultural
production, already-scarce water resources, and extreme weather events. These
issues are likely to be more severe in developing countries, and may worsen
human health and well-being in affected regions.

Asthma, Respiratory Allergies, and Airway Diseases8

Respiratory allergies and diseases may become more prevalent because of
increased human exposure to pollen (due to altered growing seasons), molds
(from extreme or more frequent precipitation), air pollution and aerosolized
marine toxins (due to increased temperature, coastal runoff, and humidity) and
dust (from droughts). Mitigation and adaptation may significantly reduce these
risks. Research should address the relationship between climate change and the
composition of air pollutant mixtures (e.g., how altered pollen counts and other
effects of climate change affect the severity of asthma) to produce models to
identify populations at risk. Such tools support the use of science in
understanding disease risks and as such, are an integral component of developing
effective risk communication and targeting the messages to vulnerable

  An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications,
  A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre

Many potential direct effects of climate change on cancer risk, such as increased
duration and intensity of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, are well understood; however
the potential impact of changes in climate on exposure pathways for chemicals
and toxins requires further study. Science should investigate the effects of
mitigation and adaptation measures on cancer incidence so that the best
strategies can be developed and implemented; for example, research to inform
understanding of the benefits of alternative fuels, new battery and voltaic cells,
and other technologies, as well as any potential adverse risks from exposure to
their components and wastes. Better understanding of climate change impacts on
the capacity of ocean and coastal systems to provide cancer curative agents and
other health-enhancing products is also needed.

In Egypt’s case, Liver Cancer poses as the gravest threat to public health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Egypt has one of the highest
incidences of hepatitis C, one of the main causes of liver cancer, in the world.

Infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major global health care problem. WHO
estimates that up to 3 percent of the world’s population has been infected with
the virus. The infection rate ranges from as low as 0.1 percent in Canada to the
extremely high rate of 18.1 percent in Egypt.9

A study by Amal Samy Ibrahim, a professor of epidemiology at Egypt’s National
Cancer Institute, said food and water contamination, which is a major cause of
liver cancer, is rampant in Egypt. The study also stated that liver cancer will hit
even more Egyptians 10 years from now.10

Food and water borne Diseases and Nutrition

Climate change may be associated with staple food shortages, malnutrition, and
food contamination (of seafood from chemical contaminants, biotoxins, and
pathogenic microbes, and of crops by pesticides). Science research needs in this

    IRIN, humanitarian news and analysis,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
area include better understanding of how changes in agriculture and fisheries
may affect food availability and nutrition, better monitoring for disease-causing
agents, and identification and mapping of complex food webs and sentinel
species that may be vulnerable to climate change. This research could be used to
prepare the public health and health care sectors for new illnesses, changing
surveillance needs, and increased incidence of disease, as well as development of
more effective outreach to affected communities.

As for Egypt, the UNFCC report states that Egypt is at risk of an increase in
water-borne and food-borne diseases due to global warming. It predicts the
spread of such diseases due to global-warming induced floods "that cause
contamination of public water supplies," along with "droughts that encourage
unhygienic practices because of water shortages." Such changes could lead to
higher incidences of childhood diarrhea, a major cause of death among children

In regards to nutrition, malnutrition rates in Egypt could skyrocket as a result of
climate change since global warming and changes in rainfall patterns will affect
water resources and food production capacity, this in turn shall affect agricultural
cropping patterns and production, having a severe effect on food intake per

Heat-Related Morbidity and Mortality

Heat-related illness and deaths are likely to increase in response to climate
change but aggressive public health interventions such as heat wave response
plans and health alert warning systems can minimize morbidity and mortality.
Additional science should be focused on developing and expanding these tools in
different geographic regions, specifically by defining environmental risk factors,
identifying vulnerable populations, and developing effective risk communication
and prevention strategies.

Mental Health and Stress-Related Disorders
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
By causing or contributing to extreme weather events, climate change may result
in geographic displacement of populations, damage to property, loss of loved
ones, and chronic stress, all of which can negatively affect mental health.

And since Egypt’s Nile delta is one of the most vulnerable areas to sea level rise
which by default would result in a huge movement of migration, great attention
needs to be allocated to identify key mental health effects and vulnerable
populations, and develop migration monitoring networks to help ensure the
availability of appropriate health care support.


Despite the great risk climate change poses on Egypt, it might be able to mitigate
the worst of these health-related impacts through the improvement of existing
vaccination programs and the provision of high-quality health care to vulnerable
populations, the spread of communicable diseases related to global warming can
be checked. Egypt should develop early-warning systems and control programs
for infectious diseases, which would rely on the collaboration between
meteorological and health services.

Climate change endangers human health, affecting all sectors of society, both
domestically and globally. The environmental consequences of climate change,
both those already observed and those that are anticipated, such as sea-level rise,
changes in precipitation resulting in flooding and drought, heat waves, more
intense hurricanes and storms, and degraded air quality, will affect human health
both directly and indirectly.

Addressing the effects of climate change on human health is especially
challenging because both the surrounding environment and the decisions that
people make influence health. For example, increases in the frequency and
severity of regional heat waves—likely outcomes of climate change—have the
potential to harm a lot of people. Certain adverse health effects can probably be
avoided if decisions made prior to the heat waves result in such things as
identification of vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly and
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
ensured access to preventive measures such as air conditioning. This is a
simplified illustration; in real-life situations a host of other factors also come into
play in determining vulnerability including biological susceptibility, socioeconomic
status, cultural competence, and the built environment.     11

In a world of myriad “what if” scenarios surrounding climate change, it becomes
very complicated to create wise health policies for the future because of the
uncertainty of predicting environmental change and human decisions. The need
for sound science on which to base such policies becomes more critical than ever.

In addition to the research needs identified in the individual research categories,
there are crosscutting issues relevant to preventing or avoiding many of the
potential health impacts of climate change including identifying susceptible,
vulnerable, and displaced populations; enhancing public health and health care
infrastructure; developing capacities and skills in modeling and prediction; and
improving risk communication and public health education. Such research will
lead to more effective early warning systems and greater public awareness of an
individual’s or community's health risk from climate change, which should
translate into more successful mitigation and adaptation strategies. For example,
health communications research is needed to properly implement health alert
warning systems for extreme heat events and air pollution that especially affects
people with existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease. Such a risk
communication pilot project might demonstrate communication practices that are
effective in multiple areas, and contribute to a comprehensive strategy for
addressing multiple health risks simultaneously.

Other tools are needed and should be applied across multiple categories to close
the knowledge gaps, including predictive models to improve forecasting and
prevention, evaluations of the vulnerability of health care and public health
systems and infrastructure, and health impact assessments. Trans-disciplinary
development would help to ensure tools such as improved baseline monitoring

  A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
that will be more widely applicable, and thus more efficient and cost effective
than those currently available. In fact, many of the identified science needs will
require trans-disciplinary responses. For example, to study how heat waves alter
ambient air pollution and the resulting combined impact of heat and pollution on
human illness and death, will require expertise in atmospheric chemistry, climate
patterns, environmental health, epidemiology, medicine, and other science fields.
Given the complexity of the science needs and the potential overlap of research
questions across disciplines, promoting trans-disciplinary collaboration among
and within different agencies would be a logical approach and should be a high

Research and science could be improved to provide support for decision and
policy making on climate change and human health. Specifically, for a more
complete catalogue of climate change health impacts, increasing the power of
prediction tools, enhancing integration of climate observation networks with
health impact surveillance tools, and improving interactions among stakeholders
and decision makers.

The next step will be for different agencies to discuss the findings of research
with stakeholders, decision makers, and the public as they work to incorporate
and prioritize appropriate research needs into their respective science agendas
and collaborative research efforts. A coordinated approach will bring the unique
skills, capacities, and missions of the various agencies together to maximize the
potential for discovery of new information and opportunities for success in
providing key information to support responsive and effective decisions on
climate change and health.

Air Quality

Air: The mixture of gases constituting air in its known percentages and natural
properties, and in the provisions of this Law, it is the ambient air, air within the
work places, and air in closed or semi-closed public places.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Air Pollution: Any change in the properties or specifications of the natural air
which causes hazards to human health or to the environment, whether resulting
from natural factors or human activities, including noise.

What Are the Causes of Air Pollution in Egypt?

Since 2002 Egyptians have taken a more serious approach to air pollution.

In 2003 an article for The Environmentalist, Profession Nicholas Hopkins of the
American University, Cairo, Egypt, says that Arab countries are finally starting to
take environmental issues seriously and are setting up government agencies to
address them. He says that Egyptians are consumed with problems of sewage,
garbage and clean streets and that air, water and noise pollution are of secondary
importance. Strangely, Egyptians do not blame global environmental phenomena
for pollution but rather blame each other.

Air Quality in Cairo

The World Health Organization claims that air quality in Cairo, Egypt, is up to 100
times what is considered a safe limit. This, according to the United States
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) causes a serious risk of developing serious
respiratory disease and cancer from inhaling particulates in the air. There are
three main causes of air pollution in Egypt: transportation, industrial and

1. Transportation

Many Egyptians rely upon extremely old vehicles for transportation. These
inefficient vehicles cause the carbon present in fuel to ineffectively react with
oxygen during combustion, producing carbon monoxide or condensing to form
particles of soot. The hydrocarbons do not combust completely and are released
as gaseous hydrocarbons or absorbed by particles, increasing the particulate mass
in the air.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
2. Industrial

Industrial facilities such as factories and plants emit toxic gases into the
atmosphere. Another major source of toxic emissions in Egypt is the widespread
open-air burning of trash and waste. Waste landfills also give off methane, which,
although not toxic, is highly flammable and can react in the air with other
pollutants to become explosive. Major industrial pollutants include sulphur oxides,
nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.

3. Meteorological

The speed at which pollutants disperse in the air is determined by meteorological
conditions such as wind, air temperature and rain. Egypt and Cairo, particularly,
have a very poor dispersion factor due to lack of rain and the layout of streets
and buildings, which are not conducive to air flow.

Air pollution in Cairo

The greater Cairo area, home to 15 million people, has the worst air pollution in
Egypt. Fumes from Cairo's 2.5 million vehicles, combined with suspended
particulate matter (including lead) plus sand blown into urban areas from the
neighboring Western Desert, create an almost permanent haze over the city.

Cairo also has high levels of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. Air quality in Cairo
and throughout Egypt is measured by an every-growing network of monitoring
stations (42 stations in 2001) installed with the support of USAID. Air pollution in
Egypt comes from a number of sources, including industrial sites, vehicular
emissions, and smoke from burned garbage and agricultural detritus.

In 2000, fine particulate matter (PM10) was Egypt's largest air quality issue. PM10
is emitted primarily by industrial sources and vehicles and is very dangerous to
human health as the fine particles can penetrate deep into people's lungs. NOx
and SOx levels were generally within limits proscribed by Egyptian law in 2000,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
but in industrial areas or areas with traffic congestion levels, they were sometimes
higher than both Egyptian and World Health Organization standards.

Finally, lead levels, although still high, decreased 30% between 1999 and 2000.
Lead pollution is a serious threat to human health because high lead
concentrations in the blood can lead to high blood pressure, kidney problems,
infertility, decreased I.Q. levels in children, and disorders to the nervous system.

The Cairo Air Improvement Project (CAIP), sponsored by EEAA and USAID has,
over the past six years, addressed air pollution in metropolitan Cairo at a number
of levels. To address fine particle emissions, CAIP instituted vehicular emissions
testing, the first of its kind in Africa. CAIP also has pushed the use of compressed
natural gas (CNG) as a fuel for municipal buses, private vehicles, and as energy
for power plants throughout greater Cairo.

As of 2001, 50 municipal buses were using CNG and multiple CNG fueling
stations were set up throughout Cairo. A project cosponsored by the Climate
Change Action Fund of Canada and EEAA aims to bring CNG motorcycles to
Egypt. This will both lower PM10 and SOx emission from motorcycles and
decrease their carbon emissions. To date, there are 50 fueling stations dispensing
CNG to the 40,000 CNG vehicles in the Cairo metropolitan area.

Finally, CAIP has addressed the high levels of lead in Cairo by promoting the use
of environmentally friendly technologies at lead smelting plants and by
supporting the removal of such facilities away from populated areas. Four
smelting plants have been relocated outside of Cairo, and the new facilities are
equipped with advanced pollution-control technology to further reduce their lead

CAIP does not address one major cause of urban air pollution--the burning of
garbage. Waste incineration in a large city can be easier and less expensive than
treating the refuse, compacting it, or removing it from the city. However, fine
particles are released when garbage is burned and can contribute to smog and
damage human health. Rather than address this issue as an air pollution problem,
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Egypt has moved forward on a comprehensive waste management system that
should eliminate the need for burning refuse in major cities.

In 2000/2001 Egypt began the Integrated Solid Waste Management program to
establish the regulatory framework in which effective waste management can
operate. Over the past two years the program has progressed such that at the
end of 2002 numerous sites were selected for further testing as potential landfills.

Carbon and Energy-Related Emissions

Egypt's carbon emissions have risen 34% over the period 1990-2001, to 34.3
million metric tons of carbon. Egypt's carbon emissions were less than 0.5% of
global emissions in 2001, and while per capita emissions have been increasing
since 1950, they are still significantly lower than in most developed countries. In
2001, Egypt emitted 0.5 metric tons of carbon per person, while the United States
emitted 5.5 metric tons of carbon per person and the European Union member
states averaged 3.1 metric tons per person. While oil (72%) and coal (3%) make
up three-quarters of the country's carbon emissions by fuel source, Egypt's
growing market for natural gas, which makes up the other quarter, should help
slow the increase in carbon emissions.

Energy and Carbon Intensity

Egypt's energy intensity should fall as the country implements more energy
efficiency and conservation programs. In 1997, USAID entered into a 20-year
partnership with Egypt and created the Egyptian Environmental Policy Program.
With the help of USAID, Egypt has created a National Energy Efficiency Strategy
that focused on three goals:

(1) Accelerating the use of natural gas rather than oil.

(2) Developing national energy efficiency codes and standards.

(3) Promoting private investment in energy efficiency activities.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
The EEPP estimates that if Egypt can aggressively adopt energy efficient
technologies, there could be an annual drop more than 10% drop in annual CO2
emissions by the end of the program.

A reduction in carbon emissions growth, combined with a shift of Egypt's energy
mix to more natural gas, should help reduce the country's carbon intensity in
coming years. In 2001, Egypt's carbon intensity level was 0.42 metric tons of
carbon/thousand $1995.

Although this level compares favorably with other countries in the region --it is
still several times higher than European averages. As Egypt begins to use more
natural gas and hydropower, its carbon intensity should fall, perhaps coming
closer to the level of the United States (0.17 metric tons of carbon/thousand
$1995) or Turkey (0.26).

Air quality in the capital of Egypt "The great Cairo"

Cairo is an expanding city, which has led to many environmental problems. The
air pollution in Cairo is a matter of serious concern. Greater Cairo's volatile
aromatic hydrocarbon levels are higher than many other similar cities.[82] Air
quality measurements in Cairo have also been recording dangerous levels of lead,
carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, and suspended particulate matter concentrations
due to decades of unregulated vehicle emissions, urban industrial operations, and
chaff and trash burning. There are over 4,500,000 cars on the streets of Cairo,
60% of which are over 10 years old, and therefore lack modern emission cutting
features like catalytic converters.

Cairo has a very poor dispersion factor because of lack of rain and its layout of
tall buildings and narrow streets, which create a bowl effect. A mysterious black
cloud (as Egyptians refer to it) appears over Cairo every fall and causes serious
respiratory diseases and eye irritations for the city's citizens. Tourists who are not
familiar with such high levels of pollution must take extra care.

Cairo also has many unregistered lead and copper smelters which heavily pollute
the city. The results of this has been a permanent haze over the city with
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
particulate matter in the air reaching over three times normal levels. It is
estimated that 10,000 to 25,000 people a year in Cairo die due to air pollution-
related diseases. Lead has been shown to cause harm to the central nervous
system and neurotoxicity particularly in children.[84] In 1995, the first
environmental acts were introduced and the situation has seen some
improvement with 36 air monitoring stations and emissions tests on cars. 20,000
buses have also been commissioned to the city to improve congestion levels,
which are very high.

Egypt in the 21st Century

Environmental awareness in Egypt is slowly increasing through government
programs and policies and high-visibility environmental conferences such as the
World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg in 2002.
Although many of Egypt's environmental programs are just beginning to gain
momentum, the government's awareness-raising programs are preparing
Egyptians to tackle their environmental challenges.

Energy and Transportation in Relation to Climate Change

Introduction on Energy Situation in Egypt:

Egypt’s demand for energy is growing with rate up to 4% annually in general and
up to 9% for electric power consumption annually in particular. Year 2010 in
particular saw many electrical shortages in particular during the month of
Ramadan. The table below shows the most important electric power indicators in
Egypt during 2007-2008 which indicate the increasing total energy production
from 114260 (KWh) in 2007 to 125145 (KWh) in 2008 .
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Egypt is an oil producer and an emerging natural gas exporter. Though net
exports of crude oil and petroleum products have declined in recent years, higher
prices on world markets and new gas discoveries have pushed Egypt's oil
revenues upward. The country also began exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG)
from its first terminal in January 2005, adding another hard-currency revenue

Egypt's main energy resources are oil, natural gas, coal and hydro-power, in
addition to good potential in renewable energy resources. Oil reserves are
estimated at approximately 3.6 billion barrels, most of which are located in the
Gulf of Suez. Natural gas is mainly used as feedstock into the Egyptian
petrochemical industry and is now used in households and in public

Hydropower is the third major energy resource in Egypt. Most of the Nile's
hydropower potential has already been exploited to generate about 13 TWh of
electricity per annum, accounting for about 12% of Egypts consumption

Electricity and transport contribute over 70 percent of the greenhouse gas
emissions in the country.

Introduction to Transportation in Egypt

The transport sector is a major consumer of fossil fuels and therefore contributes
a significant share of the country's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). In
2003–2004 the transport sector was responsible for 29.2% of overall energy
consumption and about 31.6 million tonnes of CO2, representing nearly 26% of
the energy-related CO2 emissions (OEP, 2004.)

Road is the dominant mode of internal transport in both passenger and freight
operations. In 2003–2004 the volume of people transported by road had reached
nearly 115.6 billion passenger/km, while freight transport amounted to nearly 43.1
billion tonnes/km (State Information Service, 2006.)
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
For railways, the policy goal is a revitalization of the sector and the development
of better service quality by Egyptian National Railways (ENR), which is state-
owned and highly subsidized. While rail has a relatively high share of the
domestic passenger market, its share of the freight market is very low (only 8 per
cent of the total tonnes/km capacity)

Egypt's inland waterways, the River Nile and canals, are severely underutilized for
transport. Primarily designed as an irrigation system, being used only for 3% in
transport .

Currently mobile emissions are one of the major sources of air pollution in the
country, producing about 25% of Egypt's energy-related CO2 emissions. This is
particularly acute in Cairo with 17 million people

As part of the national policy to switch from oil to natural gas in all consuming
sectors, the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel was endorsed as a means
to improve air quality and public health. In the early 1990s the government
recognized that utilizing Egypt's abundant natural gas as a transportation fuel
could, in addition to developing a new market for natural gas, make a significant
contribution towards improving air quality and protecting public health.

Egypt is not a major contributor to Climate change with currently 0.5%, but with a
growing population and growing demand for energy it may increase rapidly .

Country’s mitigation plans

Egypt plans by 2020 that 20% of all of energy would be one form of renewable

   Solar thermal energy expansion like the plans in Koriamat
   The expansion of photovoltaic cells particularly in remote areas.
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
   Increasing Wind farms such as the ones at Zaafarana, It aims to realize a 7200
    MW wind power capacity.
   And improving energy efficiency within industries
   Plans for Desertec project (which will mainly sell electricity to Europe(

In Transport

   Cut vehicle emissions (through improved public transportation)
   CNG as a transport fuel for all public transport
   Electrification of railways
   Cairo Underground metro development and expansion to line 3 and 4
   Phase out leaded gasoline
   UNGEF creating a pilot of electric and hybrid buses

Where the Egyptian government stands on Climate Change

Challenges and Fields of Priority

    1- Sea level rise [SLR]
    2- Water resources deficiency
    3- Agricultural crops deficiency and extinction

Egyptian views towards Climate Change

       The Egyptian government firmly believes that current and expected climate
        change derives from industrial activities undertaken by developed
        countries since the industrial revolution until the present day
       The Egyptian government adamantly refuses any negotiations that could
        result in any commitment on developing countries regarding Greenhouse
        gases reduction according to the United Nations Framework Convention
        and Kyoto Protocol
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Other official positions adopted by the Egyptian government stem from the
aforementioned stances, including refusing the Russian proposal regarding
voluntary commitment on developing countries to reduce their Greenhouse gases
emissions, stressing the importance of the responsibility of developed countries
toward reducing their input of Greenhouse gases emissions and providing
support, be it financial or technical, to developing countries in their struggle
against Greenhouse gases and Climate Change

Egyptian efforts in dealing with Climate Change


          Ratification of the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate
       Change [UNFCCC]
          Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol

Legislation and establishment efforts

          Issuance of Law 4/1994 for the Protection of the Environment
          Establishment of the Egyptian Designated National Authority for Clean
       Development Mechanism

[The CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn
certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one ton of CO2.
These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a
meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.
The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions,
while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their
emission reduction limitation targets.
The CDM is the main source of income for the UNFCCC Adaptation Fund, which
was established to finance adaptation projects and programs in developing
country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol that are particularly vulnerable to the
adverse effects of climate change. The Adaptation Fund is financed by a 2% levy
on CERs issued by the CDM.]12

Wadi Environmental Science Centre
           Issuance of the Initial National Communication [INN] in 1999 to:
            -   Make an inventory for Greenhouse gases
            -   Found a National Action Plan for Climate Change
           Restructuring of the National Committee of Climate Change in 2007, as
        coordinator on the national level related to climate change issues, putting
        a visionary for needed policies and strategies to deal with it, and
        suggesting mechanisms required for implementation

Ministerial efforts

       Ministry of Electricity and Energy

Establishment of several projects in the field of new and renewable energy [Wind
– Solar – Hydro – Bio] and encouraging energy efficiency projects

    Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation

Implementing projects for shore protection [Egyptian Public Authority for Shore
Protection], also the establishment of specialized research centers in cooperation
with development partners

    Agriculture Research Center

Carrying out some researches about the impact of climate change on crops
production and adoption of more heat-tolerant cultivars

    Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs

. Establishing guiding schemes for the private sector to encourage investments in
the field of clean energy projects, waste recycling, and forestation

. Preparing Egypt’s second national communication, as a base for updating the
National Action Plan, and Greenhouse Gases Inventory from different sectors

. Providing environmental training targeting:

           Senior and middle management
           Environment officials in institutions
Wadi Environmental Science Centre
           Technicians, chemists, and engineers.

The topics covered are:

           Inspection and environmental records
           Management of environmental crises and disasters
           Self-monitoring and laboratory measurement
           Management of hazardous substances
           Environmental protection.    [These trainings begin in 2011]

Awareness Programs

Bezra Program

Bezra program is a joint initiative between the Ministry of State for Environmental
Affairs and DANIDA aiming at increasing environmental awareness amongst
children, using the “Bezra” cartoon character to relay environmental information
through a comprehensive collection of media [Website, magazine and printed
material, awareness campaigns, promotional methods, etc.], in order to fulfill the
Ministry’s goal of increasing environmental awareness.

The target audience for this program is the following:

           Children aged between 6 and 12
           Parents, teachers, and librarians
           Preschoolers aged between 4 and 6 and their surrounding environment

The Green Corner

The Green Corner is a project established under the auspices of the Egyptian First
Lady Susan Mubarak. The project aims at introducing environmental education
and culture to Egyptian children and youth by created green corners in libraries
that served the aforementioned purpose. The project started out with 25 libraries
and has extended to contain 50 libraries in the different governorates in Egypt.

Wadi Environmental Science Centre
Elsharkawy H., Rashed H., & Rached I., The impacts of SLR on Egypt, 45th ISOCARP Congress 2009

M. El Raey*, Kh. Dewidar, M. El Hattab
Institute of Graduate Studies and Research, University of Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt




- Ecosystem Responses to Global Climate Change: Moving beyond Color Mapping by Oswald J.
Schmitz, Eric Post, Catherine E. Burns, Kevin M. Johnston, BioScience, Vol. 53, No. 12 (Dec., 2003),
pp. 1199-1205.

- Imbalance of Ecosystems and Its Effect on Public and Livestock Health by Dr. Kedar Karki M.V.St.

- There Is No Mother Nature: There Is No Balance of Nature: Culture, Ecology and Conservation


Author(s): Dennis E. Jelinski. Source: Human Ecology, Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 2005), pp. 271-288



- Environment and Natural Resource Management Ecohealth/ Rural Poverty and Environment Agro-
Ecology West of Lake Nasser: Towards a Sustainable Livelihoods Strategy (IDRC project No. 102376)




The Ministry of State for Environmental affairs website:

Egypt’s policies and Measures for Sustainable Transport
Wadi Environmental Science Centre

Shared By: