Environmental laboratories in the UAE are playing a crucial role in overseeing the environmental landscape and mitigating the adverse effects of pollutants on both the environment and human health. Equipped with cutting-edge scientific instruments, these laboratories provide a diverse range of testing services, ensuring the compliance of all traded goods and products with global standards. This effort aims to prevent environmental damage resulting from various business and manufacturing processes.
The “Environmental Protection” focus takes center stage in the recently launched “National Sustainability” campaign, aligning with preparations for the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) scheduled from November 30 to December 12 in Expo City Dubai. This campaign highlights national success stories in environmental conservation, contributing to raising awareness of sustainability initiatives and projects nationwide.
The “National Sustainability” initiative seeks to foster awareness about environmental sustainability issues, promote community participation, and support national strategies related to climate action. The ultimate goal is to create a positive impact on individuals’ behavior and responsibilities, leading to the development of an environmentally conscious society.
- Readiness and Advanced Equipment
Environmental laboratories in the UAE distinguish themselves with high readiness and the possession of state-of-the-art equipment to meet the requirements of various sectors across the country. These laboratories provide specialized technical services and build electronic databases, supplying customers with analytical data and facts. They also contribute to maintaining a high-quality, healthy environment for the population through the use of the latest inspection methods to measure air quality and emissions. This supports government measures in developing strategies for environmental protection and achieving sustainability.
The UAE consistently works to strengthen and develop its environmental laboratories, ensuring the safety of circulating food by monitoring it at all stages of the food chain. This process verifies its suitability for human consumption, protecting consumers from potential risks associated with food, and ensuring the exclusion of harmful, adulterated, or spoiled foods.
- International Accreditations
National laboratories affiliated with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment have garnered numerous international accreditations, including recognition from the British Authority for Accreditation of Laboratory Services (UKAS). This includes the approval of 61 new tests, bringing the total number of internationally approved laboratory tests for the ministry’s management to 410. These tests cover detection of animal diseases, agricultural pests, pesticide residues in food commodities, quality of veterinary preparations, and analysis of pesticides, water, soil, and fertilizer.
The Authority has renewed the international accreditation certificate for national laboratories for the seventeenth consecutive year, aligning with the general requirements for the competence of calibration and testing laboratories ISO/IEC 17025:2017.
The National Laboratories Administration is fully prepared to modernize its work mechanisms, ensuring the speedy and accurate analysis of samples received from the country’s border crossings. In cases where samples are deemed unsuitable or unsafe, coordination is established with relevant departments to notify local authorities to take appropriate measures. No consignments are allowed to enter without final confirmation of their compliance with international food standards.
In its operations, the National Laboratories Administration relies on specifications issued by competent authorities in the UAE and international food specifications and standards issued by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment is committed to qualifying its technical staff to ensure they stay abreast of the latest standards and various inspection procedures. The ministry is also dedicated to employing the latest international technologies in inspection and testing operations.
- Protecting Biological Diversity
The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi recently unveiled the marine research ship “Jiyun,” the country’s first of its kind and the most advanced in the Middle East. The ship is equipped with modern scientific facilities and laboratories, including a chemical laboratory, an acoustic laboratory, a physical laboratory, and a fish laboratory. These feature the latest devices and technologies such as the CTD device, DNA sequencing devices, and remote-controlled diving devices.
The ship’s objectives include monitoring and protecting marine biodiversity, finding solutions to climate change effects, and implementing environmental initiatives. One such project is the Blue Carbon Assessment Project for Ocean Fisheries, aiming to conduct the first survey assessing ocean blue carbon for fisheries in the region. This aligns with the UAE’s strategic initiative to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
The ship successfully completed the first phase of the survey, assessing fish resources in the waters of the United Arab Emirates. It also conducted the first-ever comprehensive acoustic survey of fish resources in the country’s waters, utilizing the latest technologies to examine underwater ecosystems and evaluate the numbers and distribution of marine life.
The acoustic survey employed sound waves to estimate the abundance and distribution of fish groups in the sea. The data analysis will enable the Authority to determine the size, density, and location of fish groups, contributing to the assessment of fish stocks’ health and condition in the region and reinforcing efforts in sustainable fisheries management.
The ship will further conduct a basic survey of the marine environment to identify vital sites for biodiversity, set priorities for preserving the marine environment and biodiversity, and conduct surveys to map and monitor marine habitats, including seaweeds and coral reefs, and monitor habitats in the emirate’s deep waters.
Marine wildlife surveys will also be conducted, recording species and the general distribution of marine mammals and threatened species in the emirate’s waters, along with a survey of marine water quality. In a groundbreaking collaboration, the Authority is working with the company (G42) and the Ocean X Foundation (OCEAN) on board a research ship for the first time in the world.
The Plant Genetic Resources Center of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi includes specialized research laboratories conducting various biological tests on seeds of local wild plants. This prepares the seeds for long-term preservation at controlled temperatures and humidity for up to 100 years. The center also features a laboratory specialized in genomic characterization and sequencing of local plant species to ensure their conservation and sustainable use.
- Latest Technology
The Central Testing Laboratory of the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council actively works to reduce the negative effects of environmental pollutants on the environment and human health. The laboratory provides sample examination and analysis services according to international best practices, utilizing the latest technologies and specialized equipment in environmental and agricultural fields. The laboratory, operated by specialized national cadres, has contributed to maintaining the national accreditation it achieved.
The laboratory additionally provides environmental studies and research, supporting regulatory and supervisory bodies and decision-makers in updating environmental standards and requirements based on study results.
- Specialized Laboratories
The Dubai Central Laboratory covers a vast scope of work, housing specialized laboratories supported by the latest international technologies. It conducts laboratory tests and calibration work within an integrated quality system comprising six international specifications, namely ISO17025, 17065, 45001, 14001, 17020, UAE.S. GSO 2022-2:2021/or GSO 2055-2:2021.
Specialized laboratories in chemical analysis, microbiology, infrastructure and building materials, electromechanical devices, and metrology operate within the Dubai Central Laboratory. These laboratories are distinguished by the speed and accuracy of various tests, including environmental examinations of surface water and groundwater. These tests aim to ensure their quality, preserve them from pollution and depletion, and ensure their sustainability as a strategic reserve of drinking water in emergencies.
Various soil elements are also examined to protect natural resources, ensuring their quality and preventing contamination. The laboratory’s scope extends to testing food, consumer goods, gold and jewelry, gemstones and precious metals, building materials used in the construction sector, concrete and asphalt mixtures, and more.
- Diverse Services
This year, the central laboratories in the Sharjah