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Not sure how to tackle air pollution caused by your projects? These are some simple strategies any project can learn from the World Cup stadiums in Qatar.

Over the past few years, Qatar has evolved in more ways than one. Today, Doha’s skyline looks evidently different from what it was a decade ago. This transformation points to not just a boost in construction activity but also reflects the country’s thriving growth trajectory in terms of economic, political and social development. Whilst a large part of this ongoing development had been charted out in Qatar National Vision 2030, the successful bidding for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ expedited a range of construction and infrastructure projects. The rise in construction and building activities, however, has also raised concerns about their impact on the environment.

A significant part of air pollution attributed to construction is associated with the particulate matter and dust resulting from different construction stages of building and infrastructure projects. The issue is even more critical for Qatar because of its desert climate which already presents heavy concentrations of these pollutants, especially with frequent dust storms. That said, a number of measures can effectively control dust related air pollution, not just for the workers on site but also the wider neighborhoods surrounding the project. Given the political will and a genuine concern for the natural environment, organizations can significantly bring down the potential amount of dust resulting from their construction projects.

Such dust mitigation measures have been taken by a range of mega projects in Qatar including all eight stadiums proposed for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. As a part of its sustainability strategy, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has committed to implement an exclusive green certification – titled GSAS Construction Management (GSAS-CM) – specifically aimed to improve projects’ environmental performance during construction. A fundamental part of GSAS-CM certification is dust control, which has been exercised by all eight venues and permanent offices of SC. In fact, most of these venues have managed to be awarded with the highest recognition for dust control under GSAS-CM.

Here are some strategies to control dust during construction, all of which have been employed by SC for stadiums across Qatar:

Dust control strategies implemented by Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums
Dust from stockpiles
An effective way construction projects can mitigate dust include the use of green plastic net to cover stockpiles of soil and excavated materials. Similarly, trucks and other vehicles carrying construction materials can also be covered with net to prevent the dispersion of dust and particulate matter during transportation. For long-term stockpiles, some stadium sites have utilized more durable and thicker layer of tarpaulin, which is low maintenance as well as better at protecting the materials from the country’s extremely hot summers.
Dust control strategies implemented by Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums
Dust from vehicles on site
Road sweepers are commonly used on paved hauling roads on site and adjacent public roads. These machines help remove soil and mud from the road surfaces, thereby preventing dispersion of dust resulting from the movement of heavy vehicles. SC stadiums have gone one step ahead by installing vehicle washouts at the construction sites’ gates. Mud can be effectively washed out of the vehicles’ wheels, but this requires large amounts of water. To mitigate this impact, the washouts have been designed to recirculate the water. Similarly, decreasing the commute of vehicles carrying soil and other materials is another dust control technique which can be adopted by decreasing the distance between stockpiles and backfilling areas.
Dust control strategies implemented by Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums
Dust from equipment
Not all construction activities produce equal amount of dust. Some generate more dust than others, which is why it is advisable to use barriers around areas with dust heavy works. Installing barriers around cutters and crushers, for example, can significantly reduce the amount of dust in the air. As the crushers are utilized at some stadium sites in Qatar, the material to be crushed is wetted to reduce dust dispersion. Similarly, these crushers are covered with net and water sprays are used to suppress the dust. In controlling the particulate matter resulting from dust-intensive equipment, the machine’s location should also be considered keeping in mind the wind direction and the neighboring potential sensitive receptors.
Dust control strategies implemented by Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums
Dust from loading/unloading activities
Dust blown away during loading and unloading of soil and aggregates can be mitigated by spraying water over these building materials. At some stadiums, cannons are used to spray water. As opposed to commonly used hoses, these cannons create enough pressure that not only are the materials made wet but any dissipated dust in the air is also drawn down.
Dust control strategies implemented by Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums
Dust within indoor spaces
Due to the closed nature of indoor spaces, dust can have adverse effects on human health. However, the unavoidable building activities should not take a toll on the health and safety of the workers inside the facility. Therefore, introducing de-dusting system that filters pollutants from indoor air along with ample ventilation can help achieve this goal.
Dust monitoring
Monitoring project sites for concentrations of particulate matters of different sizes is another method that assists formulation of effective strategies to control dust. In addition to standard monitoring practices performed through different periods of the construction, some stadium sites in Qatar went an extra mile with the use of state-of-the-art equipment that helps constant monitoring, thereby creating detailed 24/7/365 data for improved strategies.
Dust control audits
Despite the number of measures introduced by any project to improve its environmental performance during construction stage, ensuring that they are satisfactorily implemented is the key to be truly sustainable. As used by Qatar’s World Cup stadiums, certifications like GSAS-CM provide a focused framework dedicated to assessment and implementation of sustainable practices during construction. Sustainability of infrastructure and building projects encompasses their performance during various stages of development, starting from the design through to the construction and operations in the long run. In this context, audits for Construction Management is premised on the notion that construction activities have a direct impact on the natural environment, the economy and human health. In this context, dust control is one of the main activities audited by the sustainability experts at the Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD). Based on a project’s performance in 25 criteria within 8 categories that cover aspects from environmental conservation and pollution mitigation to workers welfare and safety on site, GSAS-CM auditors witness on-site construction practices to decide the sustainability fulfillment at the stadiums. With dust management being an integral part of the stadiums' environmental performance, all eight venues of Qatar 2022 World CupTM are targeting highest sustainability certifications under GSAS framework.