Dubai Municipality’s sustainable waste management initiatives
October 6, 2016
Most of the activities that we undertake result in waste of one kind or the other. With increasing populace and shrinking resources, managing waste is a significant issue in today’s times. We cannot overlook the issue with reference to the ever-rising landfills especially in the Middle East region. Dubai Municipality understands the gravity of the situation and is doing its bits towards managing the waste effectively.
The strategic vision of the Municipality’s waste management department is to achieve excellence through integrated and effective sustainable waste management practices and thereby enhance the environmental and health standards of emirate of Dubai.
“The Dubai Municipality has always striven to ensure that the waste management and public cleaning service infrastructure is at par with the best on offer. We are always in the search of bringing in quality products and systems by constantly studying and updating various new technologies and system specifications adopted in different countries,” says Hassan Makki, Director of Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Division.
The Environment professionals from Dubai Municipality participate in various international conferences and seminars with regard to waste management technologies and systems and are careful in the selection of technologies /systems as they must be adaptable to suit the local conditions.
The Municipality faces numerous challenges in terms of collection and disposal of solid waste. The higher waste generation in the recent years (i.e. from 2002 to 2008) due to the fast-paced industrial growth, construction boom, increasing population, rapid urbanization, vastly improved lifestyle and unsustainable consumption pattern is posing a serious challenge to the Municipality. However, there was about 15 percent reduction in the waste generation due to the recession last year.
However, the intention is to work around the obstacles and take meaningful initiatives towards managing waste effectually. To this end, Dubai Municipality strongly believes in forging strategic partnership with the private sector to meet the various environmental challenges existing locally and globally. In addition, recycling projects have been initiated to cope with increasing waste problems in Dubai.
Projects undertaken by Dubai Municipality
Recycling, without doubt is an integral aspect of managing waste. In order to cope up with the above challenge, Dubai municipality has forged strategic partnership with the private sectors to establish recycling plants
The waste management department has signed a contract with M/s Tadweer Waste Treatment LLC for recycling municipal solid waste, which processes about 4000 tonnes of waste per day. The department has also signed a contract with M/S Emirates Recycling LLC, a plant which is dedicated to the recycling and recovery of the city’s construction and demolition (C&D) waste. The plant which has the capacity of recycling 9.5 million tonnes per year is in construction stage.
The initiative continues with the department entering into another contract with M/s Emirates Recycling for waste tyre recycling. The plant has the capacity of processing 1200 tyres per hour and is in the construction stage. With M/s Cyclo, the contract is to build and operate a 30000 tonnes per year waste oil recycling facility and the project is in the construction stage.
The waste management department has commissioned a medical waste incinerator last year with the capacity of processing 19.2 tonnes per day. The vertical waste incinerator houses a conventional stoker type furnace. The medical waste incinerator was supplied and executed by the Mitsubishi and ETA group consortium.
As more and more landfills fill-up, the option is to turn to waste incineration or trash burning to dispose of the trash that is generated in this country each year. “It has to be an informed decision to use waste incinerators; be it the municipal solid waste or the medical waste incinerators,” says Makki.
Dubai has witnessed significant economic growth in the recent years primarily due to its development as a business center in the Middle East region. The Government policies aimed at the development of a diversified economy have transformed Dubai into a fast growing urban region in the Middle East with a large multinational population. These factors have resulted in the typical waste management problems associated with growth, namely rising quantities of wastes generated and also the need for an ever- increasing level and quality of service.
In addition to the above, the Municipality collects the used computers and its accessories from the individuals and organizations and refurbishes the same and distributes to charity organizations and schools. Furthermore, the waste
management department is working with an international consultant to develop waste minimization strategies for the emirate of Dubai. The draft waste minimization strategy submitted by the consultant is under review by the committee and will be implemented in the future and this will focus more on cleaner production technologies, eco labeling, extended producer responsibility schemes, green procurement policies and environmental management systems.
Underground waste management
Any waste management initiative ought not to be a quick-fix resolution. Caution has to be practiced so as not to create a waste dump on demarcated sites. Special care needs to be taken to manage the waste arising from the commercial areas on a daily basis and with the advent of underground waste management solutions, the issue can be taken care of in a better manner.
The waste management department is currently executing such projects in various commercial districts in Dubai. The cost of the project is about 11 million dirhams. The successful bidder will be responsible for the supply of nine 20 cubic meter capacity underground static compactors which shall include complete designing, engineering, supply, installation and commissioning. Waste container i.e. static compactors are placed underground from where they can be lifted for emptying and the lifting operation is done hydraulically.Ground level workings of the Municipality
The waste management department is responsible for collection and treatment of general waste and green/horticultural waste. The collection of solid waste is done by the operations section. The section is divided into various operation units. Each operation’s unit is an aggregate of areas or suburbs. Much of the municipal planning and delivery of services in the city occurs at the community level. Communities are typically portions of an area which are bound by major roads on all sides and a group of communities constitutes an area. Thus, deployment of manpower for street cleaning and waste collection duties (ie, street orderlies) is carried out on a community basis.
The Municipal waste collection accounted for 30 percent of the waste collected in the Emirate in 2009. All areas including rural areas such as Hatta (120 kilometers away) have access to waste collection services. The collection and storage system for MSW consists of a well distributed system of over 22, 000 containers. Municipal collection operations in Dubai employ a modern fleet of about 350 vehicles. A semi-automatic collection system using Rear End Loaders (RELs) and Side Loaders are employed. The majority of vehicles are used to collect waste from wheeled bins with 15 tonne payload capacity.
In addition to these collection methods, the haul collection system is employed in areas which are densely populated and have higher waste generation such as commercial districts, markets, etc. The haul system consists of a series of strategically located satellite transfer points where waste is collected in skips and stationary compactors and then transported to landfills. Oversized bulky waste is collected from each respective area and transported in trucks for disposal. Teams of wheel loaders and trucks are deployed within areas to facilitate the collection and transportation of this waste to landfills located strategically at 6 places.
A municipal policy of encouraging private waste collection for commercial establishments which has been active since the mid 1990s has resulted in the private sector having grown over the last few years both in terms of the number of companies and their service capacity. The private waste collection companies accounted for 70 percent of the general waste collected in Dubai in 2009. They are also involved in the collection of Construction and Development waste and are the sole collection service providers for hazardous waste and medical wastes. The private collection companies are issued the permits by the waste management department and are regulated and monitored.