UAE’s experience in tackling e-waste highlighted on global stage

Photo: WAM

On the sidelines of the UAE delegation’s participation in the 49th session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, participated in a panel discussion on ‘Closing the Loop on Electronics’.

The session tackled the issue of electronic waste and provided recommendations on implementing public-private circular electronics solutions throughout the product life cycle, from design to reuse.

Speaking at the session, Dr Al Zeyoudi said, "Each year, close to 50 million tons of electronic and electrical waste are produced globally, and only 20 percent is formally recycled. If e-waste continues unabated, its volume is projected to amount to 120 million tons annually by 2050."

He added, "It’s clear that governments and societies all around the world are progressing in recycling paper, glass, and plastic. But our fast-moving digital culture, coupled with increasing wealth and consumer hunger for the latest gadgets, means that we are creating a global problem of electronic waste that too few governments are addressing. We need to see a bigger movement and awareness on this issue."

Reflecting on the UAE’s experience in tackling e-waste, Dr Al Zeyoudi said, "The UAE is fully aware of the challenge e-waste poses. Given the relatively high per capita income in the country, our people have demonstrated a high consumption rate. Unfortunately, the UAE is one of the highest producers of e-waste in the region.

But we are also the most active in creating proper e-waste disposal procedures.

"We have established the Integrated Waste Management system, aiming to meet the country’s ambitious target of diverting 75 percent of all municipal solid waste away from landfills by 2021 as outlined in the National Agenda of the UAE Vision 2021.

In May 2018, we issued a federal law on integrated waste management that governs the management of all types of hazardous and non-hazardous waste. Furthermore, we are developing several regulations targeting the management of different streams of waste and their methods of disposal."

"In partnership with the private sector, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has been supporting the establishment of one of the largest e-waste treatment facilities in the region.

The facility will be commissioned by the second quarter of this year and will have a processing capacity of 39,000 tons per year," he added.

Joining Dr Al Zeyoudi on the panel were Mark Cutifani, Chief Executive of Anglo American plc, Dr Naoko Ishii, Chief Executive Officer and Chairperson of Global Environment Facility, Ellen MacArthur, Founder and Chair of Trustees of Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and Jeroen Tas, Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer at Royal Philips.

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