Kuwait Integrated Environmental Management

What is the project about ?

Air Quality is a major issue affecting the health and welfare of the State of Kuwait.  The regulations governing air quality were out dated and could not be applied consistently across the various industrial sectors.  Additionally, Kuwait is a coastal country with over 98% of its residents and industrial facilities located within 10 kilometres of the shore.

The combination of concentrated population densities and continuous air circulation of emissions from the heavy industries created concerns for the health of individuals.  The Kuwait Integrated Environmental Management Systems (KIEMS) was tasked to review the current regulations and management processes in place, update air quality regulations, conduct a national emission inventory, and develop tools to allow Kuwait Environment Public Authority staff to effectively manage the air quality of Kuwait.

As part of the KIEMS project, air quality and weather data from past years was evaluated and reviewed against existing air regulations.  Gaps and opportunities for improvement were identified.  Draft regulations were prepared and submitted to provide a new approach to protecting ambient air quality in areas with clean and improving air quality for areas out of attainment.  The new regulations called for a Kuwait Implementation Plan to identify and classify air quality throughout the country, required permits to construct and operate air emission sources, and established reporting requirements for all generators.  The draft regulations were approved by the National Parliament in April 2012.

Using advanced air dispersion models and satellite data, the KIEMS team was able to identify areas of common weather patterns and micro-climates in Kuwait that affected pollutant transport. 

 These air cells were matched with existing geo-spatial references such as highways to make easily discernible management zones.  

 Creating a National Emissions Database

 The KIEMS team mapped each industry and emission generating process to individual Standard Industrial Codes and characterized each emission source by conducting on site interviews and surveys of large industrial users.  The basis of the inventory was to identify hazardous air pollutant such sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and ozone precursors such as benzene and xylene isomers.  Using published emission data, the team generated baseline data.  For many sources, the KIEMS team developed novel estimation processes that accounted for areas of emission normally not accounted for such as residential blocks, office complexes and local cafes.

 Data collection allowed direct interface with KEPA staff and industry representatives in a non-confrontational/enforcement opportunity.  During the site visits, staff member not only got to see industrial processes from the industry owner’s point of view and not as regulators looking for violations.  In addition to learning about the complex processes in place, survey staff also established personal connections to allow informal dialogue and further enhance trust between the regulator (KEPA) and the regulated community.


The AQMIS provides KEPA with a nation-wide tool to manage all elements of air quality.  The major functions of the AQMIS are to:

-       Serve as a National Emissions Inventory Repository and prepare periodical reports on hazardous air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions.

-       Provide air dispersion modeling for all sources and receptors in the country and conduct human health risk assessments based on population exposure.

-       Establish an emission source permitting and tracking program to issue Permits to Construct and Permits to Operate.

-       Collect atmospheric data from mobile and fixed site air monitoring stations, as well as point source data from emissions monitoring systems at major sources.

-       Track site visits to emission sources and manage outstanding violations

The AQMIS is a web-based tool that uses a Geographic Information System (GIS) style user interface to show where sources as they are physically located in relationship to other features.  It also include meteorology data to run five (5) years of AERMOD air modeling in order to identify all possible dispersion options.

The AQMIS allows customized reports on emissions based on type and time period.  Source parameters for each site can be included such as process type, fuel type, stack height and location, industrial code, and other information that allows easy data querying and analysis.

KIEMS also provides training for KEPA and other government agencies in air quality and atmospheric physics.  Previous courses have included air emission inventory techniques, air dispersion modeling, and using the AQMIS.  Part of the AQMIS is to have on site help desk capabilities and assist users immediately.  KIEMS is also promoting “Education Within Industry” where KEPA staff work directly in the industrial sector for a short period of time in order to learn how the industry works and become familiar with the processes that cause air emissions.

Expected Outputs

  1. Providing technical expertise and international best practices to support the development  and  implementation  of   a  regulatory  based  integrated management system KIEM.
  2. Support  developing  a  strategic  Action  Plan  with  objectives,  targets and performance indicators.
  3. Support to enhance regulatory air emissions inventory.
  4. Establish discharge and monitoring permit system for marine sources.
  5. Support enhancements of  an integrated chemical management system, and finalizing the Integrated Environmental Management Systems.

Who finance this project ?

Government of Kuwait

UNDP Around the world

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