Dubai construction waste up 163%

Big problem (CRAIG SCARR)


Construction and demolition waste generated in Dubai grew by a record 163 per cent between 2006 and 2007, according to the annual report of Dubai Municipality's Waste Management Department.

In 2007, a total of 27.7 million tonnes of construction waste were removed from construction sites in the city, compared to 10.5m tonnes in 2006. Construction and demolition waste makes up 75 per cent of the total solid waste generated in the emirate every year.

The municipality recycles, by means of a public-private joint venture initiated last year with Al Rostamani Group, some 8m tonnes of construction waste at the Emirates Recycling Plant located in the Al Lusaily area on the Al Ain-Jebel Ali Road. The rest goes to landfill.

In the meantime, the volume of domestic solid waste generated in Dubai rose by 13.7 per cent in 2007 as compared to 2006 with a total of 3.34m tonnes. According to the report, the agricultural waste generated in Dubai last year was 142,816 tonnes registering a 14 per cent growth over the previous year. And the total volume of liquid waste – mainly consisting drainage water carried from areas that are connected to the sewage network – was 76,456 tonnes.

The report said the municipality's endeavours to recycle various types of waste are yielding good results as the gap between treated and non-treated waste narrows every year when the volume of waste, generated in the city, is rising astronomically.

Last year, the municipality treated more than 31m tonnes of solid waste, 83m gallons of liquid waste, and 347 tonnes of hazardous waste. Apart from the recycling plant for construction and demolition waste, the civic body has entered into other joint ventures with Tadweer, Zenath Group and Al Serkal Group to recycle domestic waste, medical waste and waste edible oil. These joint ventures are run on a Boot (build, own, operate and transfer) basis.

Tadweer, which was opened in March 2006, treats about 4,000 tonnes of solid waste daily. A Dh500 million facility, Tadweer is one of the biggest investment projects in the region and is a first for Dubai.

Meanwhile, Zenath Group, the recycling and waste management arm of ETA Star Group, is currently building the UAE's largest and first vertical medical incinerator plant for safe treatment of medical waste. The incinerator, which will be located in Jebel Ali close to the municipality's existing incinerator, will have a treatment capacity of 20 tonnes per day and will be fully operational by the end of this year.

Dubai Municipality handled 1,188 tonnes of medical waste in 2006 compared to 579 tonnes in 2002. By 2017, the quantity is estimated to reach 4030 tonnes, especially with the full-scale functioning of facilities such as the Dubai Health Care City, which will have nine hospitals with about 1,100 beds, in addition to 300 health care operators by the year-end.

At present, all medical waste generated in Dubai is treated and disposed of at the Jebel Ali Medical Waste Treatment Facility. Since 2001, the facility has been using a medical waste incinerator with a throughput capacity of 500 kg/hr.

Al Serkal Group's Dh10m waste treatment facility in Al Awir is dedicated to recycling waste edible oil from hotels and food processing factories. The plant now has a capacity to process 50 cubic metres of grease and other waste. In its second phase, the capacity will be risen to 100 cubic metres.