Poor waste man­age­ment pos­ing a chal­lenge to DOE

Tehran Times - - SOCIETY -

TEHRAN — While proper waste man­age­ment and sep­a­ra­tion of waste at source could help cre­ate many jobs and solve the coun­try’s en­vi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, the bud­get re­quested by the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment (DOE) for waste man­age­ment has not been ap­proved by the Ma­jlis [Ira­nian par­lia­ment], the head of DOE’s soil and wa­ter of­fice has said.

“Due to poor waste man­age­ment prac­tices, the coun­try’s re­cy­cling in­dus­try is im­port­ing plas­tic waste from Iraq, while col­lect­ing solid waste not only pro­tects the en­vi­ron­ment but pre­vents cur­rency flow out of the coun­try,” ISNA quoted Ali Moridi as say­ing on Sun­day.

He went on to ex­plain that do­mes­tic solid waste dis­posal has a ma­jor eco­nomic share in Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) in some coun­tries around the world while gen­er­at­ing var­i­ous job op­por­tu­ni­ties, how­ever, “we use for­eign solid waste rather that do­mes­tic ones.”

With ap­pro­pri­ate waste man­age­ment, which mainly refers to sep­a­ra­tion of waste at source, we can avoid cur­rency flow out of the coun­try while pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and pre­vent­ing wa­ter, soil and air from pol­lu­tion, he noted.

The re­spon­si­ble body for waste man­age­ment is the Min­istry of In­te­rior, and the DOE is the only su­per­vi­sor in this field, he said, adding, the DOE’s plan for waste man­age­ment in the coun­try is con­cen­trat­ing on waste sort­ing at source and re­duc­tion of waste gen­er­a­tion.

“In this re­gard, the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity must sup­port star­tups work­ing on new ideas in waste col­lec­tion and re­cy­cling,” Moridi high­lighted, adding that un­doubt­edly such plans re­quire le­gal sup­port more than fi­nan­cial sup­port.

He fur­ther ex­plained that the plans must be im­ple­mented through ma­te­ri­als re­cov­ery fa­cil­i­ties or me­chan­i­cal bi­o­log­i­cal treat­ment sys­tems, not tra­di­tional meth­ods of curb­side re­cy­cling bins, so us­ing IT to pro­vide on­line waste col­lect­ing ser­vices of­fered by some pri­vate com­pa­nies and star­tups is of great im­por­tance.

Point­ing to the need to cre­ate a waste dis­posal in­fra­struc­ture for proper man­age­ment of waste, he noted that in the past few months we have been study­ing the most mod­ern meth­ods of waste man­age­ment, adding, so that we found that in Iran the fo­cus is mainly on the in­ef­fi­cient phase of waste man­age­ment which is waste dis­posal.

So, we are pur­su­ing the nec­es­sary le­gal in­fra­struc­ture to man­age wastes ap­pro­pri­ately, and sup­port­ing star­tups to pur­chase do­mes­tic plas­tic waste is among the le­gal in­fra­struc­tures, he also added.

The Mu­nic­i­pal­ity must also sup­port waste col­lect­ing com­pa­nies and avoid un­san­i­tary waste dis­posal which is mostly done by chil­dren, he also high­lighted.

Sep­a­ra­tion of waste at source re­duces waste man­age­ment costs by 40 per­cent, he stated, adding that in ad­di­tion to re­duc­tion of waste gen­er­a­tion in the coun­try by over 50 per­cent, which will then be­come more op­er­a­tional by re­duc­ing the cost of pur­chas­ing the equip­ment.

Else­where in his re­marks, Moridi lamented that the DOE has de­manded a bud­get for waste man­age­ment from the Na­tional Devel­op­ment Fund which has not been ap­proved by the Ma­jlis.

“We try to fo­cus on sep­a­ra­tion of waste at source, which re­quires less bud­get, and nat­u­rally de­creases the amount of waste be­ing gen­er­ated in the coun­try, to pro­pose a lower amount for the bud­get to be ap­proved by the Ma­jlis in the Ira­nian cal­en­dar year of 1398 (March 2019- March 2020),” he said.

There are two ways to re­ceive the bud­get, which are the Na­tional Devel­op­ment Fund and taxes from prod­ucts gen­er­at­ing elec­tronic waste, such as re­frig­er­a­tors and TVs, he con­cluded.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port pub­lished by United Na­tions In­dus­trial Devel­op­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNIDO) in Oc­to­ber 2016, waste gen­er­a­tion per capita in Iran’s ur­ban ar­eas is about 658 grams per day while Ira­nian waste gen­er­a­tion per capita in ru­ral ar­eas is about 220-340 grams per day. Av­er­age Ira­nian waste gen­er­a­tion per capita amounts to some 240 kilo­grams per year.

In Tehran alone waste gen­er­a­tion per capita is es­ti­mated at 750-800 grams per day and each Tehrani ci­ti­zen gen­er­ates about 270-450 kilo­grams of waste per years.

The re­port con­tin­ues that un­for­tu­nately only 7 per­cent of the waste is sep­a­rated at the source, 13 per­cent is re­cy­cled and only 2.5 per­cent of them end up in for­mal or san­i­tary land­fills and some 77.5 per­cent of the waste will be burnt or buried in in­for­mal land­fills lo­cated in the coun­try­side or deserts near cities.

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