Plans are re­vealed to re­duce waste in the UAE cap­i­tal

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE - By Shoshana Ke­dem @B_Shosh

On the day a five-year waste re­duc­tion plan was an­nounced, en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cials have warned that Abu Dhabi faces sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges with manag­ing its rub­bish.

The cap­i­tal has strug­gled with over­flow­ing land­fills - such as Al Dhafra that re­ceives around 2,000 lor­ries full of trash a day.

Pop­u­la­tion growth, ris­ing con­sumerism and dump­ing are all con­tribut­ing to the cap­i­tal’s grow­ing waste prob­lem, said Shaikha Al Hosani, Deputy Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor for En­vi­ron­ment Qual­ity at Abu Dhabi En­vi­ron­men­tal Agency (EAD).

She said: “An in­creas­ing pop­u­la­tion and high­con­sum­ing so­ci­ety are con­tribut­ing to Abu Dhabi’s grow­ing waste prob­lem that reached 10 mil­lion tonnes in 2014.

“Less than 18 per cent of waste is cur­rently re­cy­cled and less than five per cent com­posted, whilst 77 per cent was sent to land­fill.”

In­creas­ing vol­umes of waste and il­le­gal dump­ing are posing a grow­ing risk to the health of cit­i­zens and the land’s bio­di­ver­sity, she added. “We have a lot of chal­lenges in waste man­age­ment in the emi­rate due to the in­creas­ing amounts of waste gen­er­ated,” added Al Hosani. “That is in ad­di­tion to the large quan­ti­ties of waste dumped at il­le­gal sites scat­tered around the emi­rate, some of which is posing a sig­nif­i­cant threat to the emi­rate’s bio­di­ver­sity and threat­en­ing the health of our cit­i­zens.”

Razan Khal­ifa Al Mubarak, EAD’s sec­re­tarygen­eral, said sig­nif­i­cant gaps re­main in Abu Dhabi’s waste man­age­ment sys­tem and its sup­port­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

“Im­prov­ing waste man­age­ment in the emi­rate is one of EAD’s key pri­or­i­ties in order to achieve na­tional in­di­ca­tors of re­duc­ing the production of mu­nic­i­pal solid waste to 1.5kg per capita per day, and in­creas­ing the per­cent­age of the treated mu­nic­i­pal solid waste out of the to­tal gen­er­ated to 75 per cent in 2021,” she said.

Saif Eisa Al Qubaisi, gen­eral man­ager of the Cen­tre of Waste Man­age­ment at Tad­weer, added: “There is no doubt that the UAE in gen­eral and Abu Dhabi in par­tic­u­lar, are aware of the ris­ing waste in­dex.”

Al Qubaisi said that the need for a co­her­ent strat­egy to achieve a healthy and sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment has spurred re­cy­cling projects aimed at waste re­duc­tion and the launch of the Abu Dhabi Waste Master Plan.

The an­nounce­ments came dur­ing an in­tro­duc­tory ses­sion for Waste Man­age­ment leg­is­la­tion in Abu Dhabi, in which new poli­cies for the plan­ning, clas­si­fi­ca­tion, col­lec­tion, seg­re­ga­tion, trans­fer and track­ing of waste were re­vealed.

Guide­lines in the re­use, re­cy­cling, re­source re­cov­ery, treat­ment and dis­posal policy of waste were also out­lined dur­ing the ses­sion by Tad­weer, who high­lighted its com­mit­ment to manag­ing waste.

PIL­ING UP: Of­fi­cials say more must be done about Abu Dhabi’s waste prob­lem

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