In line with its vision towards achieving "A pioneering municipality for a global city", Dubai Municipality has launched the "Mobile Air Environment Monitoring Laboratory", As one of the high value projects implemented by Municipality to enhance the air quality sector in Dubai, the first of its kind in the Middle East, designed exclusively for Dubai Municipality. It is the first mobile laboratory in the United Arab Emirates to obtain the ISO/IEC 17025 standard certification for the general requirements for testing and calibration laboratories, enabling DM to achieve an innovative leadership in the field of environmental monitoring. The laboratory serves as a mobile environmental operations room to monitor a wide range of air environment pollutants emitted by the operational and manufacturing processes of various sectors through a set of advanced monitoring systems and techniques. Since its operations began in 2018, the mobile laboratory has carried out a wide range of environmental surveys in various regions in the Emirate of Dubai, which have been a major input in many specialised environmental studies and environmental impact assessments for development and infrastructure projects. In addition, its contribution to building a significant air environment database and enabling decision makers to set future development and plans on well-studied scientific foundations is of utmost importance. The state of the art innovations of the mobile laboratory are designed to meet the environmental challenges experienced by the emirate, striving to improve the air environment in the emirate, serving its residents and visitors and supporting the Dubai’s position as a model for smart cities in the world.
The mobile laboratory seeks to achieve a set of goals at the strategic, technical and awareness levels, which revolve around enhancing the quality of the air environment in the Emirate of Dubai. The mobile laboratory also enables larger scale of air quality monitoring to supplement the existing network, allowing air monitoring in areas that are not represented by the fixed air quality monitoring stations and providing in-depth understanding of air quality in all areas of the emirate. Additionally, the mobile laboratory aims to investigate specific areas based on past and present air pollution complaints and promptly respond to air quality related public complaints or emergency situations, in addition to participating in environmental awareness campaigns.
The air environment mobile laboratory is distinguished by unique technical features which pioneering innovations are recognized locally, regionally and globally. Since its launch in 2018 the laboratory has received several awards; Arab Ideas Award at its thirteenth session in 2018, the A certificate of appreciation from the American Ideas Prize Organization in 2018, and the World Energy Prize in 2020. These innovations include nearly 20 advanced monitoring technologies, monitoring over 100 air quality parameters such as criteria gaseous pollutants, toxic pollutants, volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, electromagnetic radiation, noise, meteorological parameters, and greenhouse gases. The "real-time chemical composition analysis of air samples" is unique to the mobile air environment monitoring laboratory, through which the concentrations of heavy metals in the air are examined and analyzed in less than 15 minutes compared to conventional laboratories.
The mobile laboratory also features the self-calibration, communication and self-monitoring capabilities, which can alert the staff of any potential malfunctions during the monitoring process. The advanced data processing software analyzes the captured data in real time, and displays it visually on the screens available inside the mobile laboratory. The mobile laboratory runs on biofuel and it conforms to highly efficient Euro 5 engine specifications. It also houses the solar panels to supply the equipment with the clean energy.
In addition to the technical and strategic services provided by the mobile laboratory, it is also an effective air environment awareness tool utilised for educational purposes within the academic institutions and for the general public awareness. Since its deployment, the mobile laboratory has participated in a wide range of awareness campaigns organized by Dubai Municipality. These campaigns are science based events, intended to introduce the capabilities of mobile laboratory and its scientific specifications, in addition to highlighting the importance of continuous monitoring and the laboratory's essential role in supporting the development of future air environment plans and strategies.