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Can private funds boost GCC waste management?

More collaboration could reduce regional waste

Neha Bhatia is the deputy editor of facilities management Middle East.
Neha Bhatia is the deputy editor of facilities management Middle East.

The GCC’s waste management sector was remarkably busy last month, as is evidenced by the announcements and updates provided at EcoWaste 2017, held alongside World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit between 16 and 19 January.

Among these was Sharjah-headquartered waste management company Bee’ah’s announcement that it would team up with Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), and Attero Recycling India (AT-E) to develop an e-recycling facility within its waste management complex.

It was also confirmed that Bee’ah and Masdar will develop a waste-to-energy plant – with the capacity to divert 300,000 tonnes of solid waste to landfill – in Sharjah.

Meanwhile, Times of Oman reported last month that waste management costs the sultanate between $234.8m and $259.8m (OMR90m and OMR 100m), according to a study presented by Oman Environmental Services Company (Be’ah) to government officials.

A majority of waste management services are currently subsidised in the country and the decision to impose any fees “lies with the government”, a Be’ah official reportedly said.

It is key to note that Bee’ah and Be’ah are government institutions; the former was founded in 2007 through an Emiri decree by HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi – Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah – as a public-private partnership with Sharjah City Municipality, while Be’ah was established through Oman’s Royal Decree No 46/2009. Both outfits have played a critical role in raising waste management practices in their respective countries, and look set to continue the trend in 2017.

Credit is also due to product suppliers that are increasing their research and development investments to better support the waste management sector. For instance, Ford Trucks launched an updated compactor at EcoWaste 2017, while InSinkErator unveiled a training facility in January to “encourage two-way dialogue about sustainable waste management in the region”.

Local waste management service providers should now align their investments with government waste reduction targets and industry-wide product innovation to enhance their delivery standards. Indeed, such collaboration would only benefit the growing sector.

fmME’s annual Special Report on Waste Management is due to be published this May and ahead of its production, I look forward to hearing your views on whether – and how – the private sector can boost its contribution to the GCC’s waste management industry.

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