A “RESOURCEFUL” WASTE
Like its galloping economy, solid-waste generation in Qatar is also growing strongly, due to rapid industrialisation, a spurt in income levels and an increasing standard of living coupled with developmental activities. Against this background, QatarToday
Like its galloping economy, solid-waste generation in Qatar is also growing strongly, due to rapid industrialisation, a spurt in income levels and an increasing standard of living coupled with developmental activities. Against this background, Qatar Today looks at the various options that are available for managing the country's waste in a prudent manner.
To begin with, the solid waste generated by has increased, by almost 50% between 2008 and 2013. As against 8,200 MTs waste generated in 2008, it went up to 12,163 MTs in 2013. In other words, Qatar's per capita daily waste generation is put at around 1.6 kg, one of the highest in the world.
Of this waste, 77.2% is from the construction sector while domestic waste accounts for 7.7%. The rest is comprised of hazardous, industrial and other effluents.
While recycling is one of the best options, other methods like incineration and land refill are being taken up to keep the problem under control. However, this is viewed by experts as a short-term solution only, as the waste is growing exponentially and other measures are needed to be taken to tackle it on a permanent basis.
Nispana Innovative Platforms Private Limited Managing Director Narendra Kumar says that, though landfill is used only to dump what cannot be recycled or reused, this is not an environmentally sustainable long-term solution, given the limited available land for this purpose in the country.
“While discussions are underway to expand the processing capacity of the DSWMC, another option would be to develop a second processing facility in the country. But with all basic infrastructure already in place at the DSWMC, this option would be a more costly solution,” Kumar feels.
Kumar also points out that residents of Qatar have the responsibility of generating less domestic waste and using resources sustainably so as to keep their surroundings litter-free.
When Prime Minister HE Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani visited the Domestic Solid Waste Management Company (DSWMC) at Mesaieed in April this year, he was briefed about the amount of waste being generated in the country and also the need to expand the capacity of the centre, which is operated by Antwerp-based waste management company Keppel Seghers, to meet the challenge.
The prime minister, who was accompanied by Environment Minister HE Ahmed Amer Mohamed Al Humaidi, and others, has asked his Cabinet colleague to prepare a report on how to meet the increasing demand for waste management.
Later, the Keppel Seghers representatives also submitted proposals to the gov-
“There should be no reason to worry as this is a natural development, considering the amount of construction that is taking place in the country in view of various infrastructure projects. What the government should look at are ways to dispose of this solid waste.”
MICHAEL NAGY Environment Statistics Expert Qatar Statistics Authority “While the government is looking to reduce this output by encouraging waste minimisation and recycling efforts, investments in additional processing facilities will likely be necessary.”
NARENDRA KUMAR Managing Director Nispana Innovative Platforms
ernment to increase the plant's capacity – from 2,300 MTs per day to 5,000 MTs per day. The project cost was put at around QR2 billion. “The domestic waste generation is growing at the rate of 10% per year and the government is conscious about the problem,” says Stefan Kipp, Regional Director for MENA, Keppel Seghers.
The DSWMC was set up in 2011 with an installed capacity of 2,300 MT per day but the domestic waste generated is more than 2,700 MT per day at present.
The centre has waste separation and recycling facilities, an engineered landfill, a composting plant that can generate 800 tonnes of green waste per day, and a 1,500 tonnes-per-day Waste-to-Energy (WTE) incineration plant that can generate about 48.4 MW of power. Of this, 15.4 MW is consumed by the Centre and the remaining power is supplied to Kahramaa.
Environment Statistics Expert at Qatar Statistics Authority (QSA) Michael Nagy feels that there should be no reason to worry as this is a natural development, considering the amount of construction that is taking place in the country in view of various infrastructure projects.
“What the government should look at are ways to dispose of this solid waste,” he says, adding that construction waste poses no threat to the environment.
According to Nagy, the mid-term review of the National Development Strategy in 2013 has identified new challenges and priorities to achieve the targets.
“While data on waste to support robust evidence-based policy and regulatory considerations for waste management is still a challenge, the government is working in multiple partnerships for sustainable waste management through investments in education, cutting-edge research, frontier technologies and capacity building,” Nagy says.
Raising awareness of Qatar's population on the importance of reducing waste and increasing recycling to protect the envi-
ronment and maintain quality of life, besides promoting new patterns in consumption and production, are other priorities identified during the review, he adds.
Another example of what can be done with the growing solid waste, which is particularly relevant to Qatar as it prepares for the FIFA World Cup, is concrete recycling, an increasingly common method of utilising the rubble generated from renovating or demolishing existing concrete structures.
In fact, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has already recycled 31 million cu m of excavated material in its projects up to September 15 this year instead of sending the waste to quarries.
Though Qatar is a front runner in the GCC when it comes to converting waste to energy, there are some excellent initiatives by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning to ensure a litter-free Qatar.
As far as recycling is concerned, the fly ash generated as a result of incineration
KIPP SAYS, "WASTE IS A BURDEN AND THE GOVERNMENT HAS TO PAY TO GET IT CLEARED BY THE COMPANIES.”
of 1,500 MTs every day can be re-used as construction material. Besides, these products can also be exported to other countries where there is such a demand.
“The main challenge in recycling the waste is to find a market both locally and internationally. There is overall potential for recycled products such as steel, aluminium, paper and plastic products and the government has to take a decision on the issue,” Kipp says.
Chief Engineer and Undersecretary Assistant in the General Service Affairs wing of QSA, Sheikh Faleh Nasser J Al Thani, says that the government has been monitoring waste management and the country is on the right track as far as the goals set by the National Development Strategy (2011-16) to increase waste recycling from the existing 8% to 38% by 2016. “We are also providing opportunities and encouraging private companies to engage in waste management practices and also generate power,” he says
“The main challenge in recycling the waste is to find a market both locally and internationally. There is overall potential for recycled products such as steel, aluminium, paper and plastic products and the government has to take a decision on the issue.”
STEFAN KIPP Regional Director, MENA Keppel Seghers