BY PMA RASHEED
The Gulf Today, 27 May 2009
Dubai's immense economic growth followed by its acceleration of urban development in recent years has brought about significant waste management challenges to the booming city, which is witnessing a rapid increase in waste disposal with a 20 per cent addition every year, according to the chief of Dubai Municipality (DM).
Hussain Nasser Lootah, DM's Director General, said the quantity of waste generated in the emirate and arrived daily at the municipal garbage dump for the purpose of disposal was estimated at above 10,000 tons.
"In the year 2000, the daily disposal of Dubai's waste was about 3000 tons. The construction waste generated in the emirate has also increased to an approximate rate of 30 per cent. The amount of total waste production is expected to triple by 2014," revealed Lootah on the sidelines of the Middle East Waste Summit 2009, opened on Tuesday at the Dubai Airport Expo.
"Currently, an approximate 120 million tons of waste is produced in the GCC, putting the region in the top ten worldwide ranking of the biggest waste producers per capita. The UAE and Saudi Arabia produce the most waste. It is estimated that 55 percent of this total waste comes from construction and demolition, 20 percent from municipal waste, 18 percent from industrial waste, and 7 percent from hazardous waste," he added.
According to him, the rapid development in the Gulf, population growth, industrial diversification and construction activities combined have made the region facing severe challenges in the waste management.
Lootah pointed out: "The quantity of garbage generated from household is alarmingly increasing in the emirate, in addition to industrial and factory wastes. We have got several other sources of waste. To respond to the increasing quantities of generated waste as well as the need for innovative waste management solutions, DM has implemented several initiatives for the application of environmentally sustainable practices in waste management, such as project to recycle construction waste, household waste recycling project, a draft consumer recycled tires, and the plan to recycle consumed oil."
"A highly sophisticated treatment plant for medical waste, which is under construction in Jebel Ali with an estimated cost of Dhs24 million, will be operational by the next month. Toxic waste generated from factories of the emirate will also be treated in a specially designed toxic waste plant built in the industrial area. A separate treatment plant for domestic oil waste was opened two months ago," he said.
"Within a general framework for the strategy to reduce waste, DM has working on three significant waste management projects, which includes the automated system for the collection of compressed waste, and waste from the transfer of energy in the emirate," Lootah added.
According to him, the proposal of DM to turn waste into energy is aimed at reducing the emission levels of methane gas from landfills health, reducing dependence on landfills and the health of the traditional method of disposal of household waste.
Lootah said: "Dubai city has the process of sustainable management of waste issues. DM's made efforts to develop sustainable solutions to the challenges resulting from growth in the quantities of waste generated in the emirate was through a strategic partnership with the private sector."
"The municipality has initiated a community patrolling programme, with the co-operation of responsible residents from the local community to control illegal abandoning of waste and garbage in the city," he added.
"The programme has become highly effective as its 500 enlisted members inspect dumping of construction and household waste or littering of useless things and spitting pan masala in public places, and report to the concerned authorities," Lootah pointed out.
"DM also has signed a contract with an international consultant recently to develop a national waste minimisation strategy for the emirate. We expect that the strategies for waste minimisation along with an action plan will be submitted by the consultant before the end of 2009 for our review," he added.