The ancient Egyptians laid down the foundations of environment protection in the world whether protecting the three sources of environment; water, soil and air, or by protecting the food substances or the inner environment, in addition to preserving the renewable and non renewable natural wealth.
The ancient Egyptians paid special attention to preserving the Nile clean that a doctrine was deeply rooted in every Egyptian that he will not enter paradise if he polluted the Nile. Thus, all Egyptians tried to preserve the water of the Nile from pollution as they knew that the water of the Nile is the secret of their life.
Moreover, the ancient Egyptians depended on natural factors in preserving the agricultural soil from pollution and loss of fertility. Many of the Pharaoh's written orders that urged the farmers to combat pests and protect the environment from pollution were found written on papyrus.
In this respect, Egypt was one of the first countries that paid special heed to environmental problems due to its recognition with the importance of the environment and its impact on the individual who is considered the most important wealth.
In light of the accelerated technological advancements and as a result of the civilized life, many negatives that affect the surrounding environment and that may hinder its development on the long run were found; especially that Egypt shouldered the responsibility of the comprehensive development in which the individual constitutes the basis and foundation.
Thus, the first step was taken more than 20 years ago, by establishing the Environmental Affairs Authority as a structural body that pays special attention to the environmental affairs in order to cope with the international concerns and to follow-up the latest solutions of the environmental problems that might help us solve our national problems.
This took place after holding the Stocholm Conference on Environment, June 5, 1972, where a national body was formed to pay special attention to the environmental affairs with the various concerned bodies until the presidential decree No. 631 of the 1982 was issued to form an environmental affairs agency subsidiary to the ministers' council. The main task of the agency was to draw and apply the environment al policies enhanced by the national programme for environmental research and studies, which is subsidiary to the Scientific Research and Technological Academy and the NGOs concerned with environment.
In 1994, the Environmental Protection Fund was established to encourage investments in environmental fields.
In 1997, the Ministry of Environmental Affairs (MOEA) was created to monitor and eliminate sources of population. To this end, (MOEA) is supported by specialized bodies and NGOs concerned with the environment.
With a view to ensuring environment protection, a number of important laws and decrees were issued in ordered to ameliorate Egyptian environment. Salient of these are Law No. 48/1982, known as the Nile Protection Law and No. 41/1994 considered to be the most important and comprehensive environmental law in Egypt.
Policy of Reserving Environment
The safety of water, land, energy and air is a necessity matter for sustaining the process of economic and social process, in addition to reserving the natural wealth to the next generations. Thus, the Ministry for Environment Affairs has implemented many programs that Control pollution, salient which are the following:
Program of Combating pollution
This program aims to protect the River Nile through controlling the industrial drainage, reducing the concentration of dust and lead in Greater Cairo, in addition to applying the provisions of the environmental law by the establishments.
- the National Program of Recycling Wastes:
- The Program aims at the right recycle of the solid wastes and the wastes of hospitals all over the governorates.
- the program of Environment protection and nature reserves Administration:
- The program aims to preserve the biological diversity, the sound administration for the natural reserves and to preserve the natural history
- National program of Combating desertification:
Egypt has participated in preparing and drafting the international agreament of combating desertification and met all the obligations in the agreement. Egypt has also prepared the national program to combat desertification, in which all the concerned ministries participated in preparing it. It includes a comprehensive representation to the Conditions to the conditions of the natural resources and the reasons behind their deterioration. This program includes five fundamental principles:
- Evaluating and following up desertification, building abilities, providing the necessary training cadres.
- Rehabilitating, planning the water resources and making the best use of the deteriorated farming lands.
- fixing dunes and embedding the soil to be swept away
- An integrated administration to the irrigation projects and using the treated sanitary drainage water to plant timber forests.
- Focussing on improving the animal wealth in the desert areas.
- The environmental achievements during 2005/06.
- The environmental achievements has recorded a great success in different fields such as improving the quality of airs protecting the River Nile from pollution, controlling the industrial pollution and recycling wastes.
- Air protection from pollution:
- Keeping the quality of air is one of the remarkable tasks of the ministry of Environment as follows:
- The national network for monitoring air pollutants has been upgraded to become (54) stations all over the country by adding new 9 stations (Rouksy, Giza, Mohandseen, 3 stations in Beni sueif, Pelbeis, shbeen el-koum, Helwan).
- The first stage of the national program to Iransfer the governmental vehicles to use natural gas has bun accomplished, through this stage, 1854 governmental vehicles were transferred to run on natural gas and still working on transferring another 293 governmental vehicles. The second and third stages of this national project to transfer 2000 new vehicles to run on natural gas.
- Applying the program of car exhaust testing has been accomplished in 12 governorates representing 77% of the licensed vehicle in the country and working on applying this program in new 7 governorates.
Nile Water and Water Resources Protection:
Preparing a national plan that is comprised of 12 program in cooperation with the concerned ministries to improve the quality of the Nile Water and continuing the national program for monitoring the quality of coastal water in 80 sites distributed along the Egyptian coasts.
- The polluting industrial drainage to the River Nile has been stopped for 82 establishments that were draining 4,856 million m3 annually with a percentage of 98,53% of the total drainage to the River Nile.
- Procedures have been taken to stop the violating drainage of 34 establishments with total quantity drainage 72,672 million m3 annually with the percentage of 1.47% from the total industrial drainage to the River Nile.
Administration of Environment
A number of 8228 studies to evaluate the environmental effect have been reviewed for various projects in order to implement the environmental commitments concerning the new establishments, in addition to approving the evaluation Egyptian system of environmental effect to review projects financed by the World Bank.
Managing Crises and Natural Disasters.
- 48 accidents of oil pollution and 19 various environments accidents have managed and dealt with.
- A national strategy has been prepared to the cleanest production of the Egyptian industry and start to its own plan.
- The accomplishment of moving 50 plants of producing by bricks in the western area lead to replace the used fuel from Mazot to natural gas and the remaining plants (98 plants) are under way through the projects listed under the clean development mechanism.
Combating Bird Flu:
- Participating in the national committee that include ministries of (Health-Interior- Agriculture - Defence -Tourism) to stop all kinds of hunting and circulating the migrant birds.
- Observing the schools of migrant birds and taking samples from them to be examined in cooperation with the medical Research Unit (Nemor 3) in 8 reserves and 34 sites along the routes of migrant birds. The samples reached 3150 that were approved to be free from the bird flue.
- Training the staff on the ways of combating the disease.
- Preparing informative prented materials about the mediative role the migrant birds play to move the disease and holding enlightening seminars around the discase.
- Information and the environmental enlightenment
- 298 seminars of environmental enlightenment were held and convoys for environmental enlightenment through the mobile units of environmental enlightenment.
- representing technical support. Coordinating and implementing 16 environmental TV. Programs, 36 radio programs and implementing 34 bookshops for the students in educational administrations and universities.
- Afaq 2020 (Horizons 2020) Intiative and eliminating the resources of pollution
- In November, 2006, Cairo hosted one of the greatest international gathering concerns with the affairs of environment of the Euro- Mediterranean partnership countries and declaring horizons (Afaq 2020) that aims to eliminate pollution in the Mediterranean sea making it free from the main sours of pollution by 2020.
- Cairo is the first country outside the EU that hosts such a historical event.
The nature reserves network in Egypt represent important examples of environmental system that were presented from deterioration. The reserve the natural life of the living creatures to fulfill their role in the environmental system.
Thus, a number of 24 nature reserves on a total area of about 100,000 km2 were declared, representing 10 percent of Egypt's area. By 2017, the number of reserves is targeted to rise to 18 percent of Egypt's area.
Declared Nature Reserves:
1- Ashtoum al-Gameel (al-manzala Lake) Port Said Governorate:
It is located in Northern east of Al Manzala lake. Al-Manzala Lake represents part of the semi-salty lakes system in the Nile Delta as well as an important source of catching fish. It is a principal source of economic development for the proximal lands. It has special importance as one of the wet lands in Egypt and it is a main stopping point for migrant birds, where they can stay for rest and food.
2- Az-zaraneeq and Sabkhat al- Bardaweel Reserve North Sinai:
It is localted at the eastern bank of al-Bardaweel lake which enjoys an international importance as a place where the migrant birds rest. It is a habitate to a large number of rare birds. It is also one of the sites in the international agreement of Ramsar affiliated to the UNESCO.
3- Al-Ahrash Reserve, North Sinai Governorate:
the reserve lies at the sand dunes between Rafah and al-Arish, North Sinai and near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It contains thick areas of Acasia Ireas, bushes and herbs that make it a source of pastures, wood a shelcer for wild birds and animals, in addition to fixing the sandy duner and stoping desertification.
4- Ra's Muhammad and the Islands of Tiran and Sanafir, South Sinai:
it is located at the meeting point of Suez Gulf and al- Aqaba Gulf. It is characterized by coral reefs shores. Coloured fish, sea turtles and the other marine living creatures such as:
- Mollusca seaweeds, Coral reefs and al-mangaroof trees.
- There are aquatic caves and various rocky froms.
5- Nabq Reserve, South Sinai Governorate:
this area represents unique eco-systems' mountainous deserts, wet and maritime, It contains coral reefs, mosses and other aquatic creatures. It represents the maximum geographical northern limit to the mangarove plant which exists thickly and is considered the natural habitate for the resident and migrant birds the trrestrial part contains sandy dunes and the valleys where same mammals shalter such as deers, kobs, hyenas, some kinds of reqtiles and others.
6- Abu Galoum reserve, South Sinai Governorate
Abu Galoum area is characterized by its special topography where the mountains are close to the shore and it contains several eco-systems including coral reefs-aquatic creatures mosses. Mountains and valleys are full of wild animals, birds and plants. In addition the reserve is a major tourist site for those interested in diving, safari and bird and animal wateching.
7- Lake Qarun Reserve al-Fayyoum Governorate
the lake has an international significance as a winter residence for aquatic birds. In the northern area, it has qatrani mountain which contains mammal fossils such as the most ancient monkey in the warld and the ancient animal of al-Fayyoum that looks like rhinoceros. There are also the ancestors of hippopotamus, dolphins, sharks, the ancestors of birds, some fossilized trees and lots of archeological pharoohnic and Roman areas.
8- Wadi ar-Rayan, al-Fayyoum Governorate
The reserve is characterized by its integrated desert environment including sand dunes, natural springs, plant-life, various wild animal and important maritime fossils. It also contains Wadi al-Hitan area which includes 406 skeleton of premative kinds of whales.
This area is considered an open museum. It was declared on top of he international natural heritage affiliated to UNESCO in 2005.
9- Salouga and Gaz al-Reserve, Aswan Governorate
this reserve comprises green cover including more than 100 kinds of plants and 60 kinds of rare birds which are threatened by extinction some of these birds have been multiplying in these islands since the ancient Egyptian are. These birds are corroded in their engorging such as the black sicklebill.
10- Lake al- Borolus Reserve, Kafr -el-Sheikh Governorate.
It is considered the second largest natural lake in Egypt. It contains several sources of eco-system, local swamps and several kinds of plants. It is one of the international Ramsar agreement sites.
11- Islets of the River Nile Reserve, in Various Governorates.
They total about 144 islets (95 exist on the Nile main stream from Aswan up to the Delta barrages, 30 islets are Rasheed Branch and 19 islets are on Damiette Branch). These islets have their importance by keeping the natural heritage that is represented in the green cover, birds and some other wild animals.
Second: Reserves of Deserts (heights - valleys - plains)
1- St. Catherine Reserve, South Sinai:
It is characterized by so sharp and undulatory heights that they are hard to be mounted. Mount Catherine is the highest mountain in Egypt. It rises about 2641, above sea-level. It has important natural resources such as an amount of sedentary plants. Medical plants, wild animal and others. This reserve was declared in 2002 on top of the international cultural heritage within the framework of the international natural and cultural heritage affiliated with UNESCO.
2- Al-Alqi Valley Reserve, Aswan Governorate.
It contains a group of metal sedimentations; the old mines of gold in particular, the ore of manganese granite and marble. There are also volcanic igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. It has thick green cover where several kinds of permanent and annual plants resident and migrant birds were recorded. It was declared within the framework of biosphere network affiliated with UNESCO in 1993.
3- Elba Reserve, the Red Sea
It comprises four main areas as follows:
a- Mangarou coastal forests and the Red Sea islands.
b- Deneeb Area.
c- Elba mountain
d- Abroq Area.
Elba area is distinguished by the gatherings of mangrove plant on the Red Sea Coast which is considered one of the important environments for growing a lot of plants and reproducing lots of sea animals. In addition, the area is characterized by a number of high coastal mountains the represent the mountainous environment of oases. There are several wild and Egyptian animal and wild reptiles.
4- Al-Ameed Reserve, Matrouh Governorate
it contains several various kinds of biological environments, communities, patterns of using lands and the desert settlements. It was declared in 1981 within the biosphere network affiliated with UNESCO.
5- Al-Wadi Al-Assuit Reserve Assuit Governorate.
The importance of this reserve emerges in the existarce of several kinds of wild animal in this valley and the neighbouring areas, foods, shebter and the necessary water for wild animals. This reserve is located on the sesert road cairo Aswan. It was declared to be a place of breeding and reproducing several kinds of and rare wild animals and plants which are threatened by extinction.
6- Taba Reserve, South Sinai Governorate
This reserve is distinguished by a rich variety of rare and potentially extinct animal and plants. It contains many geological formations, cause and mountain paths, in addition to a network of valleys and many archeological paintings and engravings.
7- Wadi Degla Reserve, Cairo Governorate
It has a distinguished environment with a particular geographical nature including fossils dated baek to Eucen period. The reserve represents a scientific, cultural and entertaining importance by attracting tourists to watch wild life, the ancient geological formations and the desert environment near al-Maadi town.
8- Siwa Reserve, Matrouh Governroate
It is licated in Siwa in the middle of a chain of hills and sand dunes of the Great sand sea. It comprises a group of natural springs wakes. It contains various kinds of natural wild and pastural plants, in addition to the mammal wild animal, reptiles, birds and large number of invertebrates and insects the area includes geological formations rich in rave foddiles.
9- Wadi -el-Gemal Reserve, Red Sea Governorate
It includes one of the largest and richest valleys in the Eastern Desert. It is distinguished with the developing flourishing gatherings of plants that many kinds of rare and potentially extinct creatures depend on.
Third: Geological Reserves.
1- Quppet al-Hassana Reserve, Giza Governorates.
It contains geological formations which is important as a tourist, cultural and scientific place to visit. It is also an open museum shows complete record of the ancient life; its environment and weather. Al-Quppet is a small island from the cretaceous formation.
1- The Fossilized Forest Reserve, Cairo Governorate
It includes fossils from the ancient ayes where it became from the fossils that help to study and record the ancient life on earth. It is rich in high thick bushes and roots fossilized from forming the mountain of wood that belonges to the olegeces period.
3- Wadi Sanour Cave Reserve, Beni Sueif Governorate
It contains geological formations known as ups and down in an ideal and aesthetical shope. The cove comprise the Egyptian alabaster ore which is considered one of the best alabaster all over the world which dates back to the Medival Eucen age
4- White Deset Reserve, Nile Valley Governorate
Geological formations are spread in the form of white chalk posts that was formed by wind which gives the area a geological position and rare nature. There are a group of fossils in Farafra oasis that belong to echinodermate and mollusca.
The white desert area is considered an open museum to study the desert environment and the geographical phenomenon. It also contains monuments and tools dates back to pre-history era.
Future Nature Reserves:
About 19 reserves are be declared in future: al-Qasima, al-Mahara, Ra's al-Hekma, ash-shoeils, as-Saloum, al-Qasr, Wadi Girevi, al-Qatar Depression, Um al-Ghezlan, al-Galala al-Qebleya, Red Sea, Ra's Shoqeir Salina, Shayeb al-Banat, Wadi Qena, the White Desert, Um ad-Dabadeep. Hamata, Karoud Naql, al-Golf al-Kabeir.
. Environment and Development