Waste Disposal and Recycling In UAE
Waste disposal and recycling is among the aspects that have increased popularity in the modern days due to their impact on the environment. There is an increased concern for strategies that can be used to promote the welfare of the society through environmental conservation. Poor disposal of used products pollutes the environment and this has an adverse effect on the social and economic welfare of the society. Before waste products can be disposed they are supposed to be treated as a way of reducing their impact on the environment. There is an increasing consciousness on healthy environment in the society, leading to implementation of strict environmental rules that prohibit reckless waste disposal mechanisms (Al-Hajj & Hamani, 2011).
The act of recycling used materials has also gained popularity in the modern days due to the impact it has on the environment. Recycling is a way of outing into good use the scarce resources available in the environment as the waste products are processed to be re-used. Companies that recycle waste also play a significant role in enhancing environmental conservation by reducing the amount of waste products. The disposal and recycling of waste products are effective ways of waste management that helps conserve the environment, failure to which pollution occurs. Pollution may be in the form of aspects such as air and water and it has adverse social and economic effects. Among the social effects of pollution is poor health that may be brought about by consumption of polluted water or breathing polluted air. This is also an economic cost because of the medical costs incurred by the affected individuals. Also, businesses suffer economic loss when they lose talented employees or when they are absent due to illnesses. The clean-up cost incurred by governments is another economic effect of pollution. It is thus evident that pollution should be avoided at all costs. Waste management is among the strategies that have proved effective in reducing pollution.
Rationale behind choosing the subject
There is an increasing need to conserve the environment in the modern days due to the high rate of pollution. The number of industries today is more than decades ago, implying that the amount of waste products is also high. The reason for selecting the topic is to contribute towards environmental conservation by identifying the most effective waste disposal strategies as well as technologies that can enhance recycling of used products. The topic focuses on the effectiveness of waste disposal and recycling strategies used in the UAE. The UAE is among the regions that have been affected by poor waste disposal and recycling strategies.
Among the social challenges experienced by UAE residents include lack of clean drinking water due to pollution of water bodies by industrial effluents (Al-Hajj & Hamani, 2011). The polluted water does not only affect human life, but aquatic plants and animals are also affected. The aesthetic value of the region is also affected by the poor sight and odor brought about by poor waste disposal. The poor waste management methods cost the UAE government a huge amount of money in ensuring that sewage water is recycled for irrigation. The funds used for this could be used in other development projects such as construction of roads. The study on waste management in UAE will enhance the understanding of the strategies adopted by the government to conserve the environment in the region. The topic is also important as it will lead to suggestion of recommendations that the government can use to enhance waste management and consequently conserve the environment.
Municipal solid waste management
One of the components that pollute the environment in UAE is municipal solid waste, which is comprised of items used in domestic operations such as waste food containers and plastic bags. The adverse impacts that the municipal waste has on the environment has led to the formulation and implementation of strategies that conserve the environment. Among the tools used to ensure that the countries in the region are committed to conserving the environment is the UAE National Agenda 2021 that requires member countries to implement environmentally sustainable methods of waste management. The amount of solid waste produced by the members of the UAE is estimated to be 8.4 million tons by 2017 due the rise in construction activities as well as migration of more people in urban areas (Khatib, 2011). Different countries have adopted varying measures to ensure that they manage municipal waste in an efficient way. For example, in Dubai there is an environmental campaign that encourages people to dispose different types of municipal waste in labeled containers for easy and more efficient disposal. This allows the waste management companies to identify the waste that should be recycled and the one that should be treated before disposal. The diagram below shows how these disposal containers have been labeled for easy collection.
Sources of solid waste material in UAE
A major source of solid waste in UAE is construction and demolition that yields waste products such as rebar, nails, insulation and electrical wiring. The other source of solid waste in the region is residential homes that dispose products such as used batteries, plastics and food waste. Industries are also a major source of solid waste as they produce waste such as ashes and packaging materials. Another source is institutions such as schools as they dispose products like cardboards, glass and metals. Agricultural activities also contribute to the solid waste as they dispose products such as hazardous waste like pesticides.
Modern waste Disposal and Recycling methods
One of the modern ways used to manage waste in UAE is the use of anaerobic digestion that entails turning organic waste into more useful products such as renewable energy from the gases produced by the solid waste. Incineration is also a method used in solid waste management where waste products are burnt and the gases used as energy. The combustion of waste reduces its volume by 20 to 30 percent, thus making environmental conservation sustainable (Khatib, 2011). There is also sorting technology that is adopted in the modern days to help in waste management. It involves the use of machines that allow for sorting of waste products, separating different waste products depending on weight and size. The diagram below shows the process of anaerobic digestion as a modern way of recycling wastes.
The issue of waste management has attracted the attention of different parties that have varying interests. Among the primary stakeholders in waste management include employees who work for the manufacturing companies. Their main interest is job security and this tends to limit their actions on matters of environmental conservation, most of the employees fear challenging the actions of the employers that are not in line with environmental conservations for the fear of losing their jobs. However, the employees have a major role to play in implementing the waste management strategies adopted by the company, for example, separation of waste materials. They also have a role to collectively challenge the actions by companies that are not consistent with the environmental regulations. The employees can also contribute to waste management by initiating innovations that can be used in enhancing safe disposal and recycling of waste.
The public is also another stakeholder that plays an important role in waste management. It comprises of different parties such as the community and civil society organizations. The main interest of the public is to have a clean and safe environment and this is achieved through influencing the behavior of others as well as pushing for implementation of environmental regulations. The community has a role to play in waste management by ensuring that they dispose waste in the recommended way that ensures waste is disposed of in the most appropriate way. The party also has a role of pressing politicians to implement environmental regulations effectively. The civil society is also a member of the public whose main role in waste management is through advocacy. The party can achieve this by educating the communities on the importance of disposing waste in appropriate ways.
Poor waste management has an adverse impact on the environment as well as human health. The countries in the region are involved in intensive production activities that lead to many waste products. According to the ministry of environment and water in UAE, pollution in the region is mainly contributed by plastic bags which are estimated to be 11 billion annually (Karak, Bhagat & Bhattacharyya, 2012). The plastic bags degrade the environment by damaging its aesthetic value because they comprise of ugly but conspicuous litter. The bags also degrade the environment by endangering aquatic life. When the bags find their way into the water bodies, they prevent free flow of air and water thus affecting the survival of aquatic plants and animals.
Human health is adversely affected by poor waste management strategies due to health problems developed as a result of air, water and soil pollution. Most of the pollution in UAE comes from construction and demolition activities. It is estimated that about 70% of total solid waste in the region is comprised of construction waste (Karak, Bhagat & Bhattacharyya, 2012). The waste increases the amount of landfill waste that acts as breeding site for disease-causing insects such as mosquitoes that may cause illnesses such as malaria. Construction and demolition waste materials that contain lead may lead to health complications such as breathing problems and skin cancer. The asbestos fiber that may also be found in the construction waste may lead to lung cancer (Nurrokhmah, Mezher & Abu-Zahra, 2013).
Due to the increased industrial activities and increasing populations in the urban centers in UAE, the amount of solid waste is set to keep on rising. Poor management of the waste is a social cost because it reduces the welfare of the society by adversely affecting its health. It has an economic cost; not only due to high medical costs but also the cost incurred in activities such as purification of toxic water. The adverse impacts that poor waste management has on the environment and human health in UAE justify the formulation and implementation of safe waste disposal and recycling strategies.
One of the main objectives of conducting a study on waste disposal and recycling in UAE is the impact that waste management has on the environment. In an era where the rate of pollution in the environment is very high, it is important to research on methods that can be used to minimize the waste. The study is important in promoting environmental protection in UAE because of the identification of the challenges facing the countries in managing municipal waste which is the major pollutant. The study also promotes environmental protection by identifying modern strategies that can be adopted to effectively manage waste including the use of waste sorting machine and anaerobic digestion. The strategies help in promoting safe waste disposal and recycling of used products thus protecting the environment from pollution. The study is also aimed at raising awareness on the strategies that can be adopted to minimize the amount of waste released into the environment through recycling. The problem analysis raises awareness on the importance of sound waste management in light of the adverse effects that it has on the environment as well as human health. The discussion on the stakeholders in the waste management activities in UAE also creates awareness about the roles that different parties have in making the environment a safe place.
Risks and External Factors
The accuracy of the findings on the study on waste disposals and recycling in UAE is vulnerable to external factors that may affect its generalization. A risk is any factor that is likely to expose the researcher to danger including aspects such as exposure to harmful gases in the dumpsites during primary data collection exercise. Exposure to such gases may adversely affect their health, leading to complications such as lung cancer. The other risk that the project faces involves the accuracy of data provided by the respondents. The researcher may collect inaccurate data due to exaggerations by the respondents that may lead to unreliable and invalid conclusions. There are also external factors that are likely to affect the reliability of the study. These are the factors that the respondents have little or no control over and they may affect the progress of the study. Among the external factors that the project is subjected to include the inability to access some information that may be useful in the projects. For example, it may be impossible for the researchers to access information about the strategies that different UAE countries have adopted to enhance safe disposal and recycling of waste products. The diagram below summarizes both the internal and the external exposure to the risks discussed.
Project Organization and Implementation
The project aims at collecting data on strategies that UAE region has put in place to conserve the environment through waste management. The location of the project will thus be in the UAE so as to collect data that will be relevant to the study question. To ensure that the project meets the set objectives, major focus will be on the factors that are related to waste management. The type of infrastructure that will be used in the study is one that is concerned with the waste disposal and management. The researcher will need to visit major disposal areas that will help in determining whether the UAE government is keen on promoting safe waste disposal methods. The other type of infrastructure that the project will focus on is the recycling plants available in the UAE. The aim of the researcher will be to collect information about the types of waste products that are recycled and how they are manufactured for re-use. The project will also focus on the strategies adopted by UAE to manage waste, in particular methods used in segregation of waste. This involves the methods that are used by the countries to separate different types of waste products.
Recycling of Non-Biodegradable Waste
Waste management is determined by the nature of waste products in the environment. There are waste products that easily decompose. They simply dissolve into the surrounding environment to form useful components such as organic fertilizer that is useful in agriculture. There is also a group of waste products that do not dissolve into the surrounding environment and they are known as the non-biodegradable waste. Different nations within the UAE have adopted varying methods of managing their non-biodegradable waste. Among these countries is Abu Dhabi Emirate where the government has implemented initiatives aimed at encouraging the residents to dispose of their waste in separate collection bins (Karak, Bhagat & Bhattacharyya, 2012). The aim of this is to make it easy for segregation of biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste with a view of making the recycling process easier.
The UAE has introduced tariffs that are charged on companies whose activities involve production of non-biodegradable waste. The amount of tariffs charged by these companies is determined by the amount of waste produced. The strategy is aimed at encouraging companies to reduce the amount of non-biodegradable waste by recycling it for re-use. Apart from the government, the private sector in UAE is actively involved in the management of non-biodegradable waste. Zenath is among the companies that play an important role in management of non-biodegradable waste through the collection and recycling of waste products such as glass, steel and plastics. Envirofone collects and recycles products such as old mobile phones, computers and laptops (Tanskanen, 2013). The initiatives by all the parties involved are aimed at reducing the amount of non-biodegradable waste through recycling.
Awareness and Information Campaigns
To enhance the effectiveness of the environmental conservation concerns, the UAE government has invested heavily on anti-pollution campaigns. Among the parties involved in the campaign against pollution is the Emirates Environmental Group that encourages companies to recycle waste products. The campaign is known as “For our Emirates We Plant” (Al-Maaded et al., 2012). The group takes the campaign to places such as learning institutions where the number of target audience is high. In the current project, the awareness on the need to dispose waste safely and recycle products will be conducted through seminars with officials such as teachers and religious leaders who will then pass the information to the people.
Budget and Financing
The project involves the use of money for purposes such as transportation and accommodation by the researchers. Inadequate funds may limit the ability of the researchers to conduct the study, thus leading to failure of completion of the project. For this reason, the project will source funds from different sponsors such as the UAE government and the Emirates Environmental Group.
The project will be guided by the principles of sustainable development that entails the use of approaches that prevent depletion of natural resources. This will be applicable in the identification of waste management strategies adopted in UAE. The project will evaluate the methods used in waste management on the basis of the extent to which they are sustainable. The same case will apply to the recommendation provided on waste disposal and recycling.
Results and Conclusion
The project will have a great impact on the conservation of environment in UAE. This is because it will identify any barriers that hinder full implementation of waste management policies in UAE as well as recommend the most suitable strategies that the government should adopt in relation to waste disposal and recycling.
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Karak, T., Bhagat, R. M., & Bhattacharyya, P. (2012). Municipal solid waste generation, composition, and management: the world scenario. Critical Reviews in Environmental Science and Technology, 42(15), 1509-1630.
Khatib, I. A. (2011). Municipal solid waste management in developing countries: Future challenges and possible opportunities. INTECH Open Access Publisher.
Nurrokhmah, L., Mezher, T., & Abu-Zahra, M. R. (2013). Evaluation of Handling and Reuse Approaches for the Waste Generated from MEA-based CO2 Capture with the Consideration of Regulations in the UAE.Environmental science & technology, 47(23), 13644-13651.
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