Implementing Environmental Sustainability in Dubai

Subject: Environment
Pages: 26
Words: 5557
Reading time:
21 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Malloy (2013) defines environmental sustainability as the ability to use natural resources to meet current needs in a way that makes it possible for the future generation to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability has become very relevant in the United Arab Emirates as the country moves towards its vision 2021. According to Pistoni, Songini, and Perrone (2016), the government has been committed to ensuring that its operations take into consideration the emerging socio-economic and environmental factors. One of the main goals that the country seeks to achieve in this vision is to have a self-sustaining environment that relies minimally on external support. Balakrishnan (2017) explains that for a long time, the United Arab Emirates has been relying on imported food to feed the local population. A significant portion of the electrical energy used in the country is produced by burning carbon fuels. These trends have to change as the country moves towards a state of self-sustainability. The country has a huge potential to produce solar energy, and the government has taken initiatives to ensure that this area of energy production is given the right attention. The government has also taken numerous other initiatives to ensure that each government department embraces sustainable practices in environmental conservation. One of the departments that have embraced this initiative is the Dubai Police (Mamitimin, 2016).

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According to Dore (2015), for a long time, society has believed that organizations in the manufacturing sector have a greater role to play in promoting a sustainable environment because they play a major role in emitting greenhouse gases, effluents that pollute rivers and lakes, and wastes that are not biodegradable. However, that perception is changing as society realizes that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that the environment is protected from any form of pollution. Having a sustainable environment requires teamwork and the commitment of all the relevant stakeholders. The Dubai Police has realized that as an organization responsible for maintaining law and order in the country, they also have a role to play in promoting sustainable environmental practices (Malloy, 2013). As Amery (2015) observes, many of the organizations in the service industry use significant amounts of energy. Embracing practices that focus on efficient use of energy is one of the areas these organizations can focus on when trying to promote environmentally sustainable practices. The Dubai Police has a significant role to play in ensuring that its activities do not affect the environment.

Research Context

The Dubai Police Force is the department responsible for maintaining law and order in this emirate. It is composed of about 17,500 officers who work under the leadership of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Amery, 2015). Headquartered at Al Twar, the force is headed by chief of police who is the senior-most officer working directly under the Dubai ruler. The current chief of police is Major General Abdulla Khalifa Al Marri (Amery, 2015). It has three primary departments. The first is the General Department of Operation responsible for controlling the activities of the entire force and responding to emergencies. The General Department of Artificial Intelligence is responsible for gathering intelligence to ensure that Dubai Police remains proactive. It makes it easy to detect security threats and act accordingly before members of public can be affected. The last one is the General Department of Criminal Investigation. It is responsible for fighting crime within the country. Each of these departments is headed by a general commander who works directly under the chief of police.

There is strict discipline within the Dubai Police. Authority flows from the chief of police to the general commanders and down to the junior officers. The ruler of Dubai, who only engages the chief of police whenever it is necessary, is the senior-most officer by virtue of his position as the head of the emirate. According to Amery (2015), the officers often work in very stressful environments. Sometimes they have to work extra hours to ensure that the security is not compromised. The field officers work under greater stress than those in the office such as the finance officers. When assigned to keep law and order within the city, these officers are often exposed to attack from criminals and extremists who view them as threats to their activities. However, the nature of ethics required of them makes it impossible for them to avoid places considered dangerous. It makes this department a unique study because of these challenges and the significance of their duty in society.

The study focuses on the implementation of environmental sustainability within one of the most important government departments, the Dubai Police. As Dore (2015), police department all over the world is known to play the crucial law of enforcing the law and maintaining order in society. The Dubai Police are no different. However, the department is taking a new initiative that involves reduced use of heavy trucks as a way of ensuring that their activities are sustainable (Amery, 2015). The environmental factors that the Dubai Police is faced with, coupled with the socio-economic environment, are unique, and may not be similar to what other police departments in various parts of the world face. The number of cars in this city has been increasing consistently over the years, which makes the work of the police to be complex. Compared with other regional police department, the Dubai police has earned reputation as being pragmatic in handling security threats and highly responsive to distress calls (Amery, 2015). The impressive performance also means that the department has to facilitate the regular movement of its officers. The study will primarily look at what this department is doing or should do to enhance environmental sustainability in the country in their daily duties of enforcing the law. The study will have little to do with the issue of law enforcement, but how the actions of officers and policies of the department affect the environment.

Problem Statement

The case of the Dubai police is a special area of study because of the nature of the department. The officers work under a strict code of conduct in all their official duties. Unlike in companies where employees can deviate from the standard practice because of the desire to be creative, police officers must work according to instructions given to them. Any deviations are not acceptable and may lead to disciplinary measures. When investigating strategies that can be used to implement environmental sustainability, one should remember that these officers work under command. Every action that junior officers take is based on the instruction given by higher authorities (Amery, 2015). It means that it would be less important to convince junior officers to embrace certain practices without the blessing of the top commanders. Another issue of concern is the limited awareness levels among the officers on issues about environmental sustainability, which may cause resistance to change. Some of these officers feel that the nature of their work has nothing to do with environmental sustainability. They feel that their work is to maintain law and order using any legal means possible, paying little regard to the need for environmental protection.

The government of Dubai has various initiatives meant to reduce the overreliance of the economy on the oil and gas sector. A report by Borchardt and Ibisch (2013) shows that the oil wells in the country may run dry within the next 20-45 years. As such, the sustainability initiatives that the government is taking focus on reducing the level to which the economy depends on this sector. One of the ways of achieving the set sustainability goals is to reduce the amount of energy that government department uses without compromising their efficiency. It means that their activities should not be affected by the initiative that focuses on the reduction of the amount of energy used. One of these departments which are required to embrace sustainable environmental practices is the Dubai Police. This department plays a crucial role in maintaining law and order in the country. The problem is that although there is a need for this department to ensure that its activities have limited emission of greenhouse gases, it cannot scale down its operations. It means that it may be necessary for this department to find ways of enhancing easy movement of its officers without using energy-efficient means (Parris, 2016). It may require a change of policy within this department. From offices to fields and houses of officers, there is an emerging pressure on this department to ensure that the amount of energy consumed is reduced to the minimal level possible. There is also a need to ensure that the department adopts new practices that can enable it to produce its energy instead of relying on the energy from the national grid (Dore, 2015). The Dubai Police is yet to embrace the sustainability initiatives that would improve efficient use of energy and water resources.

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Research Questions

Implementing environmental sustainability initiatives can be a challenging process. Meixell and Luoma (2015) explain that when taking such initiatives, it is important to be very specific about what needs to be achieved. Having a broad goal makes it difficult to know what needs to be achieved and the approach that is needed to realize the desired success. As such, it was necessary to narrow down the focus to have a comprehensive understanding of what needs to be realized in this paper. The following are the specific questions that define what the researcher seeks to achieve in this study.

  1. What are the current policies that define the use of energy at the Dubai Police
  2. How can behavioral change of Dubai Police officers promote sustainability in the department’s operations?
  3. Why is it important to promote behavioral change among the officers?

Conceptual and Theoretical framework

In this section, the researcher will review the work of other scholars who have conducted related studies in this field. Cahan (2017) explains that research can only be meaningful if it adds new knowledge in a given field. It should address the knowledge gaps or conflicts in the existing literature. As such, it is fundamental to conduct a review of the literature to determine what other researchers have found out. It helps in avoiding the duplication of knowledge. It is also through the review of literature that a researcher can identify research gaps and conflicts in the current body of knowledge. In this section, the researcher will investigate what other studies have found out in this field.

Organizational Behavioral Change

Implementing environmental sustainability within the Dubai Police requires a policy change. As Amery (2015) suggests, when trying to introduce a policy change in the disciplined forces, it is important to target the highest authority. Behavioral change may not take place overnight. The ability of the officers to change their minds about how they use the natural resources available to the department will depend on various factors, top of which is the goodwill from the top officers. Amery (2015) explains that when the top management unit puts new measures that will change the behavior of junior officers, they need to come up with means of supervision. It means that at this department, the commanders must define means of ensuring that the new environmentally-friendly policies are followed by the junior officers. As a disciplined force, it may not be challenging to implement the policy. The officers know that going against the command of the top officers may come with consequences.

According to Amery (2015), water scarcity in the United Arab Emirates and other regional countries is a major concern that should not be ignored by the Dubai Police. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, commonly known as DEWA, is doing everything in its power to ensure that enough clean water is available in the country. Some of the current strategies it is using include desalination of seawater, a process that is expensive and highly involved. The Dubai Police has a role to play in ensuring that the resource is used responsibly. It must be part of the solution to the current problem of water scarcity in the region. Irresponsible use of water may worsen the already bad situation. Climate change is another reality that society has to deal with, as Amery (2015) notes. The city of Dubai has registered impressive growth over the past decades. The population has been increasing consistently. The number of cars and industries has also been on the rise. The development of tourism and trade industries has boosted economic growth (Borchardt & Ibisch, 2013). However, these economic developments have come at a great cost to the environment. Carbon footprint is now a major concern among environmental conservationists in this city. As the number of engines using hydrocarbon continues to increase, the number of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere continues to rise. It is necessary to find ways of addressing this problem before it worsens, and the Dubai Police has a role to play.

Environmental Sustainability

According to Palmer and Flanagan (2016), environmental sustainability has become an increasingly important concept because of climate change. It is evident that human activities are having serious consequences on the environment, and if nothing is done to address the issue, the problem may become worse. The central pillar of sustainability is the environment. Colombo (2014) explains that the environment supports the other factors, and must always be given serious consideration. The inability to take care of the environment makes it impossible for an organization to operate effectively. A polluted environment poses serious health problems (Galpin, Whittington, & Bell, 2015). Consistent pollution of the environment makes it difficult to sustain any meaningful economic activity within a given region. If the issue of pollution is not addressed, it may force the organization to move to another environmentally conducive area. An entity cannot keep moving from one place to another because of the constant problem of environmental degradation. The Dubai Police has a responsibility of ensuring that its environment is sustainable. Other than cleaning the compound and responsibly disposing of wastes, officers also need to ensure that they use energy responsibly. Emissions from police cars, trucks, offices and residential premises should be maintained as low as possible as part of the environmental sustainability initiative. It is also critical to ensure that water is used in this department responsibly. As Walker and Laplume (2014) observe, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority spends a lot of resources to ensure that clean water is made available at all government departments. It should be used responsibly by this department.

It is important to emphasize the need to have a clean environment where natural resources are used responsibly. Having systems and structures that eliminate the waste of natural resources is crucial both in the public and private sectors. Gleick (2014) explains that some initiatives can be taken to address concerns of environmental sustainability. For instance, replacing the old-model cars with solar-driven or hybrid cars can help address environmental concerns and excessive usage of fuel. Once the vehicle is purchased, the cost of running it will be significantly reduced because it will supplement chemical energy with solar energy. Given that the region enjoys sunlight throughout the year, it means that there will be enough renewable energy to drive these cars. They will lead to very minimal environmental pollution while at the same time cutting down the cost o operations. Money that is not used in running the cars can be diverted to other important activities within the police department.

Cases

The role of the Dubai police

The Dubai Police plays a critical role in enhancing peace and security in the country. According to Balakrishnan (2017), the Dubai Police has three primary divisions. The first division is the General Department of Operations, which has a wide area of jurisdiction (Colombo, 2014). This department is responsible for maintaining traffic in this city. It conducts car and foot patrols to ensure that there are law and order. It is responsible for responding to and addressing cases of emergencies in Dubai. It has a special unit that is trained in rescuing hostages and taking down armed criminals and terror suspects. The unit also has specialists responsible for diffusing and handling explosives. Whenever there are major functions in the country, this unit is always present because it also specializes in crowd control and management. Special officers responsible for the protection of prominent leaders in the country are always taken from this unit because of the nature of their training. It is one of the most critical units in the police department.

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The General Department of Artificial Intelligence is another crucial department within the Dubai Police (Cahan, 2017). Established in 2001 by the Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, this department seeks to use emerging technologies to gather intelligence. Cybercrime has become a major concern in global society. Criminals are now using their technological intelligence to steal from banks or commit serious crimes in various parts of the world. Other than their goal to steal, some of these cybercriminals pose serious security threats, especially those that have a close working relationship with extremists such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS. They target sensitive places such as an airport where they know manipulation of data can have devastating consequences. The government of the United Arab Emirates has been committed to fighting cybercrime in the country. The department seeks to identify and eliminate such security threats. The General Department of Criminal Investigation is the third unit within Dubai Police (Balakrishnan, 2017). It is responsible for the investigative issues in the country. The department is responsible for investigating criminal acts of various magnitudes within the borders of the country.

Activities are undertaken by the department which has a direct impact on the environment

The analysis of the Dubai Police demonstrates the significance of this department in ensuring that law and order are maintained by everyone. It is important to narrow down the investigation further by looking at specific activities of this department that have direct consequences for the environment. According to Cahan (2017), the police force often maintains constant movement from one location to the other to ensure that law and order are maintained. Some use special motorbikes while others use cars. Trucks are sometimes used when it is necessary to transport a large number of officers from one location to the other. These means of transport have a direct impact on the environment. They use carbon fuel that is believed to make a significant contribution to the problem of global warming. The more these officers move using these means of transport, the greater the amount of pollution that is released into the atmosphere.

According to Dore (2015), a lot of energy is often consumed in residential places by police officers. Some of these officers consider using electricity to prepare meals because they are not charged the bill. The wastefulness of electrical energy in the residential areas within this department is another major issue of concern. Chen (2017) explains that the problem is also witnessed in offices where officers conduct their daily activities. Cases, where lights are not turned off when not in use, are common because officers are not made to feel the burden of paying such bills (Cahan, 2017). The new generation bulbs are known to consume significantly less amount of energy compared with the traditional bulbs. However, the police department is yet to embrace the new initiative as a way of reducing the amount of energy. According to Colombo (2014), one of the biggest concerns that are making it difficult to promote sustainable energy practices in many police departments is the belief that their activities have nothing to do with environmental pollution. Stakeholders in this sector believe that their primary role in environmental conservation is to arrest and prosecute those who are not following the environmental laws. Although they should facilitate the arrest and prosecution of those who go against environmental laws, Cahan (2017) observes that they also have a role in ensuring that their activities have a minimal impact on the environment as possible. Some of the old trucks that consume a lot of fuel and emit a significant amount of carbon into the air are just as dangerous as manufacturing companies that are yet to embrace sustainable energy use.

Ways in which the Dubai police can achieve sustainability in its operations

The Dubai Police can take various initiatives to ensure that it achieves sustainability in its operations. According to Lorz, Makeschin, and Weiss (2014), government departments often lack the kind of pressure that private entities have to withstand to remain operational. The knowledge that the government will always allocate the necessary money needed for normal operations creates a sense of laxity. It eliminates the need to ensure that operations remain as lean as possible by eliminating unnecessary expenses, wastage, and theft of resources (Borchardt & Ibisch, 2013). The department must consider ways of enhancing sustainability in its operations. Some of the main initiatives that it should consider include the following.

Replace traditional trucks and cars with energy-efficient vehicles is another important strategy. Dubai is currently one of the leading global tourists’ destinations because of the massive infrastructural developments put in place by the government. The city is also the regional business hub (Amery, 2015). The Dubai Police has a crucial role in ensuring that security is maintained to ensure that the city remains appealing to regional and global tourists and businesspersons. It means that officers must move efficiently from one part of the city to the other to identify and thwart security threats and other unlawful activities (Khare & Beckman, 2013). Using traditional cars and trucks that emit massive carbon into the environment will need to be avoided. Instead, the department should consider having energy-efficient cars which use modern technologies of energy consumption. Having hybrid cars may be advisable as an initiative to protect the environment.

Amery (2015) argues that it may be necessary to introduce policies and a culture of energy conservation. A change of culture is one of the main areas that this government department should take seriously. The department may need to organize seminars and various training sessions for their officers to increase their awareness about the issue of environmental conservation. Officers should understand the significance of environmental conservation and its role in it. They should learn how to use various resources assigned to them effectively. The culture of wastefulness and theft should be eliminated. Malloy (2013) advises that one of the ways of eliminating negative practices is to use education and punitive measures. First, the target group should be trained on what to do and informed about the dangers of going against specific set policies. After going through training, there should be measures put in place to punish those who fail to follow new policies. Given that they understand what should be done but deliberately fail to follow regulations, it will be justified to subject them to some form of punishment (Kidd, Feris, Murombo, & Iza, 2014). The primary goal of the initiative is to promote a culture of effective use of resources.

Embrace a culture of excellence in its operations is another key requirement. The management of the Dubai Police must promote a culture of excellence among the officers. One of the main areas of wastefulness, according to Lloyd (2018), occurs when tasks conducted by one officer have to be repeated because of inefficiency. Officers must be reminded that they have to maintain high standards of efficiency in their operations. They must ensure that tasks assigned to them are conducted in a thorough manner that makes it unnecessary for the senior officers to repeat them (Kolokytha, Oishi, & Teegavarapu, 2016). Duplication of work should also be avoided at all costs. Such cases should be identified and eliminated to reduce cost and time wastage.

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Research Design and Methodology

Sampling

When conducting academic research, Malloy (2013) strongly advises that it is necessary to collect data from primary sources. Reaching out to specific individuals who are directly involved with the issue under investigation helps in obtaining primary data. In academic research, one of the main constraints is time. A researcher must ensure that relevant data is collected and analyzed at the right time available for the research. As such, sampling is one of the important steps that must be taken by a researcher. Sampling makes it possible to have a manageable number of respondents from who primary data can be collected within a short time. In this research, participants will be Dubai police officers. The setting or site of their work will not be very important during the interview given that the nature of their job requires them to move from one location to the other. However, it will be appropriate to identify officers within specific police stations within the city. Simple random sampling will be used when identifying participants. This sampling method will make it possible to have a manageable number of respondents for the study. A sample size of 50 officers will be needed in this study.

Data Collection

It is important to explain the sources of data that will be used in this study. The researcher will also use primary data that will be obtained from the sampled respondents. After identifying the right participants, the next step will be to find effective ways of collecting the needed information from them. The researcher plans to have a face-to-face interview with these officers. As Brennen (2017) suggests, a face-to-face interview is one of the most effective ways of collecting data from respondents. The physical interaction increases the response rate among the participants. It also reduces cases of misleading answers and instances where respondents provide answers just to complete the interview. The physical presence of the researcher emphasizes the significance of the study hence respondents will be serious when providing answers. Face-to-face interviews also enable a researcher to gather facts from non-verbal cues such as body language and facial expressions. Data will be collected using a questionnaire. A questionnaire that will be used will help in standardizing questions and formalizing the interview process. This instrument of data collection will ensure that data collected from all respondents are standardized. Such standardization not only enhances the process of data collection but also makes the work of analysis simpler than when respondents are asked varying questions.

Data Analysis

Once primary data is collected from respondents, the next phase will be to conduct analysis and come up with relevant interpretations. In this study, the researcher will use qualitative methods of data analysis. The paper seeks to find ways of implementing environmental sustainability initiatives at the Dubai Police department. The aim of the study requires a qualitative approach to the data analysis. It will be necessary to have semi-structured and unstructured (open-ended) questions in this paper to enable respondents to explain their answers. It will be necessary to explain the current strategies used by the department to promote environmental sustainability and provide detailed suggestions on areas that need to be addressed to improve existing strategies. The qualitative analysis makes it possible to explain why a given phenomenon occurred the way it did, and changes needed to avoid similar undesirable occurrences in the future (Borchardt & Ibisch, 2013). A case study will be used to enhance understanding of the issue under investigation. As Lijo and Gopalakrishnan (2015) explain, case studies often provide a clear picture of a given phenomenon. It is an effective way of specific events about the topic of the research.

Ethical Consideration

According to Hewson, Vogel, and Laurent (2016), it is necessary to embrace ethical considerations when conducting academic research. One of the most important ethical requirements in such research is the need to get necessary approvals before contacting respondents. Marshall, McCarthy, McGrath, and Claudy (2015) say that when a study involves interviewing employees of a given organization, it is necessary to contact the management of such organizations and get the needed permission before reaching out to its employees. The Dubai Police, being a member of the disciplined forces, is very strict when it comes to collecting information about its operations from its members. As such, it will be necessary to contact senior police officers at the selected police station to request permission to interview officers. After getting the permission, it is ethically necessary to explain to participants the relevance of the research and their role in it. The researcher will also remind them that their participation is voluntary. It means that that they can withdraw from it at any stage if they wish to do so. Any questions or concerns that they have will be addressed. The identity of the respondents will only be revealed to the approvers. As academic research, it is also ethically necessary to ensure that plagiarism or any other form of academic malpractice is avoided in this research. It will also be important to maintain confidentiality in the study. The identity of participants will not be revealed.

Findings and Discussion

The researcher contacted a local police station on May 2, 2018, to investigate the practices that they have embraced to conserve energy and water. With permission from the station commandant, the researcher was able to gather information from six officers. The preliminary data collected from the small sample of respondents show that there is a major concern that should be addressed when looking at the issue of the effective use of energy and water resources. Before determining the initiatives necessary to promote environmental sustainability at the Dubai Police, it was necessary to evaluate the current practices. The researcher was interested in determining the number and type of cars at this department over the past recent years. The investigator also asked the participants if the consumption of water and electricity has been on the rise over the past decade. One of the participants answered this question as shown below:

Respondent 1 stated, “The amount of energy and water used by the Dubai Police has been on the rise consistently over the past one decade. It may be partly due to the increasing number of officers working for this department.”

The respondent clearly stated that indeed the amount of water and electricity used by this department has significantly increased over the past decade. One of the possible reasons given by the respondent to justify the increased consumption of energy and water at this department is the increase in the population within the department. As the department increases the number of officers, it is expected that the demand for various resources will go up. However, it is not clear if the increasing carbon and water footprint might be caused by other forces. It may be possible that increased waste of these resources could contribute to the current trends. One of the respondents stated as follows:

Respondent 2 argues that “some officers working for the Dubai Police are yet to appreciate the significance of using electricity and water resources sustainably. Such actions lead to wastage of important economic resources.”

It means that although the increase in the use of the two resources is caused by a population increase, there is also an issue of wastage among the officers and other stakeholders within the department. It is a sign that measures need to be taken to ensure that such cases are eliminated within this department.

It may be necessary to look at some of the police forces that have registered impressive performance while at the same time ensuring that their operations remain sustainable. According to Walker and Laplume (2014), Garda Síochána, the police force in the Republic of Ireland, is ranked as one of the most efficient police forces in the world. The department has put initiatives to ensure that its officers maintain a close working relationship with members of public. Whenever there is a cause for concern, members of the public have functional avenues through which they can make their reports. The police often respond to such calls within the shortest time possible. The patrol police officers have embraced a new approach to moving from one place to another. Most of them are now using bicycles to navigate the city streets with ease. Leal and Sümer (2015) argue that using bicycles makes it easy to reach remote locations within the shortest time possible when there is traffic jam on major city roads. It also eliminates the need to fuel cars to facilitate the movement of these officers. Such initiatives are not only economical for the government but also help in reducing the levels of carbon emissions in the country. It is also important to note that riding bicycles promotes the physical fitness of the officers when they are engaged in their daily activities.

Conclusion

The Dubai Police need to embrace practices that will enable it to reduce its carbon and water footprint. Part of the government’s sustainable initiatives is to have ways of reducing water and electricity usage in all its departments, including the Dubai Police. It means that the management unit of this department will have to redefine the current operations to ensure that the usage of these resources is reduced to the minimum level possible without compromising the quality of service. New policies will be needed to ensure that resources assigned by the government are used responsibly to achieve the set goals and objectives. Embracing best practices such as that of the police force in the Republic of Ireland is highly recommended.

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