Environmental issues are among the most pressing ones facing humanity. The presence of environmental problems in urban areas is associated with numerous factors. Cities in Kurdistan Regional of Iraq (KRI), particularly Erbil, the capital and most populated city in the KRI, are suffering from serious environmental issues and risks in the fields of water, land, noise, and air pollution. Some of these issues are the direct result of the damage and wars imposed over the last several decades. For instance, political instability, socio-economic changes, rapid urbanization, and population growth have led to unsustainable environmental conditions. However, a significant part of these environmental issues has a lot to do with the lack of fundamental infrastructure (e.g., sewerage system and wastewater treatment plant, industrial wastewater treatment plant, municipal solid waste transfer station, solid waste management, medical and hazardous waste management, air pollution monitoring and control, etc.), public environmental awareness, and a shortage of comprehensive environmental research studies done in these areas. For this purpose, in order to prevent, reduce, and treat environmental pollution, which has a direct impact on public and human health, and to promote environmental awareness, the University of Kurdistan Hewlêr (UKH) aims to establish a Centre for Environmental Studies (CES).
Conducting scientific research studies and environmental activities at the CES will result in the production of valuable information, which will be crucial for understanding local and national environmental problems and their consequences. Better data coverage and insight into different environmental issues will also improve the KRI’s ability to manage its local and national resources. The CES will primarily carry out research studies on water, air, and land pollution, and then it will expand its activities towards biodiversity, environmental sustainability, environmental economy, and environmental law and policy.