Marine Environment in Bahrain
The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago made up of a group of islands, and the number varies according to the criteria of calculating the sites of atolls and artificial islands. Calculations indicate that the number of islands in Bahrain ranges between 36 and 44 Island. The island of Bahrain is the largest with 84% of the total area of these islands, whose total area is estimated at 750 square kilometers, according to the geographical information of 2005. Other islands include Muharraq, Sitra, Hawar Islands, Umm an Nasan, Umm as Sabaan, Nabih Saleh and other islets scattered across the kingdom’s territorial waters.
The Bahrain archipelago is located in the middle of the southern part of the Arabian Gulf. Its northern part is connected to the open waters of the Arabian Gulf, while its southern part to the Gulf of Salwa, which is characterized by restricted waters with high temperature and salinity. Sea currents, particularly those arising from the tide, distribute temperature and salinity across various areas of the waters of Bahrain, and constitute a significant and clear disparity between its east and west. The level of sea salinity in the west and south is higher than that of the eastern side, due to the enclosed waters because of the slow pace of the process of water change in the Salwa Bay.
The marine environment represents about 91% of the total land and water area of the Kingdom of Bahrain. This environment includes some of the most important strategic resources for the Kingdom, and plays a crucial for its people. More than 90 percent of Bahrain's population lives on the coasts which are more than 510 km long. Fisheries are the only source of protein source which is fully produced in the country, and one of the pillars of its food security. Other than that, many Bahraini citizens depend on fishing and related professions. Moreover, desalinated sea water is considered an important source of drinking water in Bahrain in the present and the future and an essential pillar of its water security. This reflects the importance of the marine environment in Bahrain and the need to conserve its natural resources.
Terrestrial Environment in Bahrain
The desert landscape prevails in most of the land areas in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and there is a green belt in the northern and western coastal region and some central regions. Thousands of years ago, green areas used to cover most of the coastal areas with palms trees and alfalfa plants.
Palm farms are among the most prevailing and diverse in land ecosystems in the kingdom. They include local and imported species. This environment contains many types of vascular plants, algae, and fish that live in stagnant water, as well as insects, amphibians, spiders with some resident and migratory birds that take this system as a home and shelter.
As to the desert environment, which covers vast areas in the south of Bahrain, it is usually full of plants in the spring and after rainfall. Drought resistant plants are widespread there. This environment is subject to change as a result of the rapid urban growth.
The Supreme Council for the Environment's efforts to protect the marine and terrestrial environment in the Kingdom culminated in the declaration of some of protected areas in the country through decrees and ministerial edicts in order to maintain the environmentally important sites against human activities affecting them.