Dubai's door-to-door recycling service put on hold

Municipality puts green plan on hold as waste-management department reassesses the proposals before expanding collections.

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DUBAI //A door-to-door recycling programme, due to begin in four Dubai neighbourhoods by next week, has been delayed until at least June.

Dubai Municipality's "My City, My Environment" was hailed as a huge success after it was launched in March last year in three communities: Nad Al Hamar, Mizhar 1 and 2.

Officials said the programme would be expanded to Al Barsha, Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim and Al Warqa by the first quarter of this year.

But with the deadline set by the waste-management department only days away, the municipality has yet to appoint a company to make the collection.

"Initially the tender for the expansion was supposed to open on January 1, but we decided to reassess our requirements and expand some features," explained Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of the department.

"The delay was due to us having to rewrite the terms of reference of the contracts, which also required running a data analysis.

"The new tender will be a full-service tender to the communities, which includes street cleaning.

"It took extra time to consider the comments made in the customer survey, and look at any negative aspects that we can overcome. If the last experience was good, this time it will be almost perfect."

Mr Saifaie said the new tender would be to supply a full service to eight communities, including Jumeirah 1 and 2, Al Wasl, Al Safa, Umm Suqeim, Umm Al Shief, and Al Barsha 1 and 2.

"We've already started running awareness campaigns on radio and soon we'll have them on TV as well," said Mr Saifaie.

"I'm glad to see that other emirates are also trying to apply similar projects. If everyone does their part, then we should be to meet Sheikh Mohammed's [bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai] vision of conserving the environment for future generations."

The director of the waste management department said he expected the tender process to begin by next week for all "preapproved and trusted companies to bid on".

"We expect the project to roll out by June on all eight locations," he said.

The company responsible for running the door-to-door recycling programme in Nad Al Hamar since it was implemented over a year ago says the June deadline may be overly optimistic.

"I don't think this service will be launched soon, the municipality does not seem to be clear on what they require yet," said Ajay Kumar, senior manager of operations at Dubai Labour Supply Company's (Dulsco) waste management department.

Mr Kumar said Dulsco will be bidding on the new tender once it opens, but added he was surprised to hear the new tender will cover eight areas. "I was only aware of Jumeirah and Al Barsha, but if they are expanding to all zones then that is great. As always, we are ready to accommodate the needs of our clients."

Alia Mohammed, a 24-year-old accountant who lives in Al Wasl, describes herself as the chief advocate for all things green in her household.

"It's better late than never," Ms Mohammed said. "Although it would have been nice to have our recycling picked up from our house this morning.

"We have to collect and segregate the recyclables ourselves and then take it to recycle bins in Umm Suqeim at the end of each week."

Ms Mohammed said she tries to get her whole family involved in recycling and conserving water and electricity.

"The key to this is convenience," said the Jordanian national. "The more convenient they make recycling the more people will be willing to practise it."