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22 April 2024

Abu Dhabi pursues underground waste project

The new underground system will provide centralized and strictly regulated refuse collection facilities for approved users. (SUPPLIED)

By Staff

Abu Dhabi residents will soon stop seeing the massive noisy yellow garbage trucks or smelling the foul odor of overflowing bins when a major underground waste management system is completed this year.

Trucks are rumbling day and night in many designated areas in the Capital to dig large pits where mammoth waste bins will be fitted to accommodate waste dumped by the city’s nearly one million people.

At least 100 such electro-hydraulic bins had already been placed and more than 300 would be dumped underground this year.

“There will be more than 400 bins buried underground by the end of this year,” said an engineer from the company which is carrying out the project.

“This is a very advanced system and is used only in a few countries…it will largely protect the environment and ensure all areas will be clean and healthy…you will no longer see garbage littered all over and there will be no more insects, rodents, cats and dogs…the smell will also be eliminated.”

The project covers all areas in the city and each bin has a capacity of nearly 20 tonnes of waste to be placed and handled underground.

“The new project will reduce the cost of transporting waste from the city to the waste disposal centre by at least 25 per cent,” a Municipality official said.

“It is part of plans to introduce advanced waste management system in Abu Dhabi….this will largely contribute to eliminating foul smell and scattering of paper and waste at present waste bin sites.”

A study published in the Capital recently showed Abu Dhabi, which has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, also has one of the highest wasting rates, with each person dumping an average 4.2 kg of waste every day compared with only around 1.5 kg in the developed countries.

According to the Center of Waste Management, the new system removes many of the hazards traditionally associated with waste left outside premises, fly tipping and foraging by street cats. The system has a lockable receiver mechanism making it inaccessible to anyone who is does not have the key to open the unit.

"This is part of our comprehensive efforts to move towards an integrated waste management and to create a better environment for residents, visitors and the business community in the Emirate,” said Majed Al Mansouri, Head of the Supreme Committee of Waste Management.

He said the containers are encased within a metal frame and then sunk inside a concrete sleeve in the ground. “The only visible element of the system at ground level is a steel platform a receiver unit through which the refuse is deposited.”

Pedestrians, street cleaners and small shops will be able to deposit their waste at street level. The containers are fitted with censors sending alerts when full, enabling more efficient waste collection by reducing unnecessary traffic. When the containers are full, specially adapted waste trucks will lift them out of the ground, empty the containers and replace them.

The new underground system will provide centralized and strictly regulated refuse collection facilities for approved users, while barring access to non-approved users and preventing unauthorized dumping of waste.