As Abu Dhabi population increases, so do waste problems

A plan is needed for dealing with the growing amount of waste generated in the UAE by an increasing population, experts from Environment Agency Abu Dhabi have said.
More than 400,000kg of waste paper was recycled as part of a new municipality project in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
More than 400,000kg of waste paper was recycled as part of a new municipality project in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National
ABU DHABI // A plan is needed for dealing with the growing amount of waste generated by an increasing population, experts said on Tuesday.

More than half of the capital's industrial waste is generated by building and demolition sites.

The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi said organisations must develop better practices because growing industry, an increasing population and more waste meant the UAE needed to be more proactive.

A new report by the agency highlights the benefits of recycling, reducing waste and reusing materials. Fozeya Al Mahmoud, the director of environmental outreach, said waste management was increasingly difficult to address. A growing population and high-consuming society were contributing factors, she said.

In 2013, 11.9 million tonnes of solid waste were produced - about 32,000 tonnes a day.

Ms Al Mahmoud said 65 per cent of waste generated by organisations came from demolition and construction sites, and that the most work could be done there.

"These figures do not begin to tell the whole story. They do not include large quantities of waste dumped at thousands of illegal sites scattered around the emirate, some of which have been in use for many years and are steadily growing in size, polluting the environment and threatening the health of our citizens," she said.

The report features businesses that have become models of sustainability over the years - Etihad Airways in particular.

"On packaging, waste adds up to about 70 tonnes each month," said Linden Coppell, Etihad's head of sustainability.

"This is bundled and sent for recycling, together with nearly 30 tonnes per month of in-flight newspapers and magazines. In addition, about 25 tonnes of glass items, primarily bottles, are recovered for recycling every month from the Etihad fleet."

She said it was important to get the entire organisation involved in the process, so much so that they advise that recycling begins at the cabin crew level.

Etihad's cabin crew collect about 4,000 plastic bottles and 400 aluminium cans for recycling every day.

Ms Coppell said at an institutional level, recycling must be part and parcel of the business, and guides such as the one the agency released on Tuesday could help others to achieve that goal.

Samer Al Hadhrami, a senior supervisor with Abu Dhabi Municipality, said the agency was "a part of Abu Dhabi Government and aims to bring an efficient world-class municipal system to ensure sustainable development and enhance the life quality criteria for the emirate of Abu Dhabi".

He said a new municipality project had resulted in more than 400,000 kilograms of waste paper being recycled.

nalwasmi@thenational.ae

Published: June 9, 2015 04:00 AM

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