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Waste and Recycling in Qatar

About 120 million tonnes of waste is produced by the GCC of which little is recycled or even managed. For the first time in the region, an integrated waste management solution has been worked upon. The National Projects Holding Co has signed an agreement with Dubai Industrial City, to establish Dubai Recycling Park, the first fully integrated waste management and recycling park in the Middle East.

We plan to revolutionise the way the Middle East manages waste by establishing up to a dozen different recycling plants within the Dubai Industrial City, says Musaed Al Saleh, Vice Chairman and CEO of National Projects Holding Co. This will not only handle the in-flow of waste from the booming Dubai Industrial City from its green field commencement, but from across the Emirate of Dubai and the greater UAE as well.Most GCC countries rank in the top ten worldwide in terms of waste production per capita. Dubai's current construction boom ranks it fourth worldwide.

Dubai Recycling Park will be developed on a site measuring 1,500,000 square feet with a 49-year lease agreement with Dubai Industrial City and a capital investment of up to $150 million.

We expect Dubai Recycling Park will have a tangible impact on lowering CO2 emissions from the region. This is our responsibility to society, each of the GCC nations, our children and their future,س says Al Saleh, in an interview to Qatar Today.

Q. What is the current state of waste management (both industrial and otherwise) in the GCC?

A. It is quite a scary fact that most GCC countries rank in the top ten worldwide in terms of waste production per capita. It is estimated that approximately 120 million tonnes of waste is currently produced in the GCC countries. 60 percent is from Saudi Arabia, 20 percent from the UAE and the rest is from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. Of the 120 million tonnes of waste, 55 percent is estimated to be construction and demolition waste, 20 percent municipal waste, 18 percent industrial waste and 7 percent hazardous waste.

Dubai is estimated to have the highest waste per capita production in the GCC equating to an Emirate total of 9.4 million tonnes per year or 35 percent of the waste produced in the UAE.

Waste production in Dubai is expected to increase from 10 million tonnes in 2004 to over 20 million tonnes by 2010. The growth is expected to be driven primarily by the Industrial and Construction and Demolition waste categories.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia produce the most waste, 25 percent and 54.4 percent of all industrial waste respectively. Dubai's GDP growth, population growth, industrial diversification and construction activity will generate an increased demand for waste management services, as well as a diversification in waste types. Total waste rates in the UAE are well above average rates, particularly in Dubai.

Q. How do you plan to introduce the concept of recycling to public and corporates alike?

A. We will not focus on the public as this is the core activity of the municipality. We are working on the plan for the corporate strategy, but we believe it to be an easy transition as Dubai is a cosmopolitan city and most its residents are accustomed to recycling and the local population is highly educated.

Q. What kind of damages has poor (or lack of) waste management inflicted on the region?

A. The results of poor waste management are the landfills we have all across the GCC. It is incredible how unhealthy landfills are and how damaging to the environment they are. Also, the lack of rules and regulations in waste management have deterred the private sector in participating in this field. In turn, the governments of the region have put a burden on themselves instead of focusing on other social value-added activities.

Q. There is little knowledge of and commitment to eco-conservation here. How do you hope to work on that?

A. I believe that Dubai is the exception in the GCC. Dubai is no longer reacting to the growing requirement of waste management based on current demand, but has taken the initiative to plan ten years in advance. As I mentioned in your previous question, the Dubai residents are aware of recycling and waste management, they just need the platform.

Q. A little more detail on your project ذ Will you service just UAEصs needs, or the other countries as well?

A. We will focus on servicing the waste of the Industrial companies in the Dubai Industrial City. This is a development measuring 55 million square meters. These companies are currently under construction in Dubai Industrial City and should be more than 500 companies working in the Machinery & Mechanical Equipment, Transport Equipments and Parts, Base Metals, Chemicals, Food & Beverage and Mineral Products.

We will also seek to handle the waste of Dubai, Emirates and our proximity to the Jebel Ali port will give us flexibility to receiving waste from the region. Our project will be developed on a site measuring approximately 1.5 million square feet in the Dubai Industrial City and will house 10-12 different types of recycling and waste management plants. The master plan is currently being drawn up by Remondis of Germany and the types of recycling plants whether it be paper, plastic, scrap, etc. will be announced in the beginning of the first quarter of 2007.

The plant will be tailored to that of Remondis recycling parks in Germany and their International recycling parks. They are the leaders locally as they manage the waste of the city of Frankfurt amongst other major cities. They also operate eleven International Parks ranging from Poland to Japan to Australia.

Q. Do you plan to set up more such centres? In Qatar, for instance?

A. Our primary goal is our responsibility to the Dubai Industrial City and making the Dubai Recycling Park on par with the finest Recycling Parks in Germany. In terms of Qatar; I hope that our project catches on and creates a domino effect. I hope that it will be replicated in Qatar and the rest of the Arab world. I think there is room for 10 recycling parks in each GCC country. So if we are not the developers, I hope others will be.

Q. What will recycling entail? What exactly will be done?

A. As I mentioned earlier, our focus will be on Industrial waste generated in the Dubai Industrial City. However, recycling entails the waste management of household and domestic waste, construction and demolition, commercial, industrial, hazardous, clinical and radioactive waste.

Q. When will it be operational?

A. We plan on being operational in May 2009

Waste management begins at home

The waste management hierarchy reduce, reuse, recycle actually expresses the order of importance of these ideas:

Reduce needless consumption and the generation of waste.
Reuse any item that can be reused or give it to a person or charity that can reuse it.
Recycle whatever discards remain if you can and only dispose what you must.
Recycling is the least preferred option. Reducing the generation of waste so there is no waste left to recycle would be the ideal. Make it your goal. Also keep in mind the concept of cycle in the term recycle. For there to be a complete cycle, the things you send to be recycled must come back to you. So, look for recycled content products whenever you buy, otherwise you are not truly recycling.

Q. How to reduce waste?

A. Many waste reduction practices will save you money. The ways a household can reduce waste are only limited by the amount of awareness and creativity applied. Two common ways are to practice backyard composting and to reduce junk mail.
Reducing waste is perhaps best accomplished by practicing smart shopping. Look to buy more durable, less toxic and products with less packaging. Also, buy only what you need and use what you buy. Another way to reduce waste is to use common services: for example, using the library instead of buying books, or renting tools instead of buying them.Make a difference in your community by learning how to be a better environmental citizen.

Q. What about reuse?

A. Many commonly discarded items ذ from single-sided paper to clothing to televisions are readily reusable in their current form. Instead of tossing an item in the trash can or recycling bin, consider ways it might still be usable to you or someone else, or whether it can be repaired if needed. Give your discards a chance at a second life by holding a yard sale or donating items to charity.

I hope that our project catches on and creates a domino effect. I hope that it will be replicated in Qatar and the rest of the Arab world.

Of the 120 million tonnes of waste, 55 percent is estimated to be construction and demolition waste, 20 percent municipal waste, 18 percent industrial waste and 7 percent hazardous waste.

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