Efforts to manage waste
Due to population growth and economic activities, the quantities of wastes in the UAE have increased in the last decade. Most of the waste ends up in municipal landfills or dumpsites, where organic waste generates a large amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Currently, little of the waste is burnt and the rate of municipal waste recycling has been rapidly rising.
Waste management in the country is coordinated through local authorities. Waste issues are handled through recycling and converting waste to energy and resources, new technologies and improved waste separation and collection systems. The UAE aims to reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.
Waste management in Abu Dhabi
The Government of Abu Dhabi established the Centre of Waste Management Tadweer in 2008. The company is responsible for the policy, strategy and contractual systems of waste management across the emirate.
Waste management in Dubai
Dubai Municipality's Waste Management Department prepared the Dubai Integrated Waste Management Master Plan in 2012 with an aim to reduce the amount of waste being sent to the landfills to zero in 20 years by using an integrated and innovative approach.
Dubai Municipality has announced that it will establish the largest plant in the Middle East to convert solid waste into energy at a cost of AED 2 billion in the Warsan district. The move also comes in line with the National Agenda to reduce the landfill by 75 per cent by 2021, in addition to protecting the environment from methane gas emitted by the landfill. The implementation period will take three years and the plant will be operational in the second quarter of 2020 during which it will receive 2,000 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste per day in the first phase to produce 60 megawatts. The waste incineration project is the first of the four projects to produce green energy.
Dubai Municipality, in co-ordination with Dubai Supreme Council of Energy and Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, conducted studies to achieve the strategy of Dubai for Clean Energy, to produce 7 per cent of Dubai's total energy from clean energy sources by 2020.
Waste management in Sharjah
The emirate of Sharjah set up a municipal waste management company Bee'ah (the Arabic word for environment) in 2007 in the form of a public-private partnership.
In October 2011, Sharjah announced an ambitious plan for 100 per cent landfill diversion by 2015. To attain this goal, Bee'ah developed a state-of-the-art waste management centre to process and recycle waste.
In 2012, the company introduced two-stream waste collection and a new tipping fee structure to incentivise waste reduction and to closely regulate landfill contents. Improved blue and green coloured, odour-proof bins have been deployed across the emirate.
Treatment of wastewater
Local municipalities in the UAE are responsible for managing, disposing and treatment of wastewater. In Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company (ADSSC) is in charge of collecting and treating waste-water discharged from all residential and commercial customers. ADSCC launched an AED 5.7 billion (USD 1.6 billion) Strategic Tunnel Enhancement Programme (STEP) in 2009, which includes building 41 km of deep sewer tunnels.
The emirate aims to divert 85 per cent of its waste from dumping grounds by 2018.
In Ras Al Khaimah, Public Services Department handles management of wastewater. Following urbanisation, local governments are investing in upgrading and extensions of sewer systems.
Transporting hazardous waste
Hazardous waste is defined as the waste or ashes resulting from different operations and activities that involve hazardous material, as mentioned in the Federal Law No. 24 of 1999 on the Protection and Development of the Environment.
The UAE has been a member state of the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal (PDF) since 1990. The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment issued a ministerial decision regarding the organisation of the passage and export of hazardous waste consignments across the UAE's borders. The ban includes the movement of hazardous waste by sea, land or air within the country without written permission from the ministry, which is in line with Basel Convention mentioned above.