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The Department of Economic Development- Abu Dhabi Organizes a Seminar on “Waste Recycling Industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi …Reality and Challenges”

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The Department of Economic Development- Abu Dhabi Organizes a Seminar on “Waste Recycling Industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi …Reality and Challenges”

Monday, February 28, 2011
The Studies Directory of the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, organized today in its headquarters today a seminar entitled Waste Recycling Industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi … Reality and Challenges with the participation of “The Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi”, “The Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi” the “Ministry of Economy”, the “Ministry of Environment and Water”, the “Emirates Authority for Standardization and Metrology”, “Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council” the “Higher Corporation for Specialized Economic Zones” and a number of waste recycling factories operating in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.The seminar started with a working paper presented by the Studies Directorate Senior Economic Researcher, Haitham Abu Zeid,  w who highlighted the constraints and challenges facing the industry of waste recycling industry in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, and proposed set of policies and initiatives to enhance the waste recycling industry and contribute to strengthening  of government efforts to develop this sector on the one hand and protecting environment on the other hand.Abu Zeid added that in the midst of the efforts for economic diversification exerted by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and  the reduction of dependence on the oil sector, the Government of the Emirate strives to broaden the base of the local economy and the search for alternative - non-traditional - sources of economic growth, through the setting off the potential of various determinants of economic development, and strengthening the role of the private sector in the development process, as well the utilization of  best international experiences of successful nations and economies, with  consideration of the peculiar characteristics of the emirate of Abu Dhabi. Abu Zeid said that careful review of some aspects of the economic and social life in Abu Dhabi reveals that there are unutilized and insufficiently exploited potentials and capacities, which require introducing advanced technology, development of the role of the private sector and raising awareness of people.According to Abu Zeid, the abundance of natural resources, as opposed to the untapped alternative potentialities and unutilized capacities, may have  in turn contribute reducing the opportunities of  setting their utilization on top of priorities in the current phase, despite being implicitly  listed within the interests and concerns of the future economic plan of the Emirate. This highlights the importance of an early aptitude for dealing with all the idle capacities in the national economy, to enable the achievement of economic goals taking into account social dimensions.The Senior Economic Researcher pointed out that the data released by the Environment Agency- Abu Dhabi in 2009, revealed that the average waste per capita in the city of Abu Dhabi out of the total waste that  reaches to the collection centers , amounts to about 2.3 kilograms of waste per capita per day, which is a rate substantially higher than the  1.5 kg per capita per day estimated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The average waste per capita per day in Abu Dhabi exceeds that of the city of Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, which is about 1.4 kg per capita in per day.The researcher explained that this quantity of high per capita waste in the city of Abu Dhabi, indicates the existence of a window of opportunity towards the establishment of a promising waste recycling industry and in the emirate, with all positive economic and social effects, ranging from reducing the depletion of natural resources to diversifying  industrial activity, tapping new alternative sources and reducing  production costs.Abu Zeid stated that there are many obstacles (challenges) which face the development of recycling industry in Abu Dhabi, such as, the limited contribution of private sector units working within the system of waste management in the Emirate, and the lack of the emirate to specific frameworks to deal separately with domestic waste, commercial and tourism facilities, industrial plants educational institutions, construction and buildings. This also includes some other structural challenges in areas of industrial supply and demand such as low chances of recycled products having access to local markets in the emirate.Accordingly, the Researcher Haitham Abu Zeid, presented a package of solutions and proposals to meet those challenges and constraints; most importantly, the need to utilize and benefit from  successful international  experiences and models which proved to have  achieved direct gains, savings and economic and social  benefits through  waste recycling industries. Such experiences should be examined within their suitability for the specialness and peculiarity of the emirate. The biggest advantage of the formulated proposals, are that they offer the Department of Economic Development  the chance  to play an active role in developing and nurturing the waste recycling  industry, which makes the Department a focal point of reference and an example for other government units in the Emirate to follow such initiatives Abu Zeid said.Abu Zeid cited a list of solutions and proposals which includes the amendment of the partnership contracts with the private sector, and the adoption of specific frameworks (strategies) to deal with waste at it sources, in addition to activating mechanisms of green procurement, the reinforcement of the principles of companies and producers social responsibility. Abu Zeid reviewed the potentials of the recycling industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, pointing out that the economic prosperity enjoyed by the emirate of Abu Dhabi over the past few years, has produced unprecedented mutations in the size of population in Abu Dhabi. Consequently the average population growth in 2009 reached about 4.5%, while individuals in the Emirate also enjoy levels of income considered among the highest in the world, which reveals the nature of consumption in the Emirate in terms of quantity and quality.In the same context, Abu Zeid stated that the fast growing economic prosperity Emirate coincided with an unremitting movement in the construction sector to meet the needs of economic growth; and likewise concurred with a parallel development in the activities of the industrial, tourism, agricultural and other economic activities. The Senior Economic Researcher, stressed that the development of the economic activities in the emirate, largely reflects the  huge amount of waste generated by those activities, which marks in turn of the diversity of opportunities available for the emergence of a promising waste recycling industry in Abu Dhabi. The same development also exemplifies the challenges faced by the emirate in terms of professionalism in dealing with the waste of these activities, which serves as a starting point towards developing a major and promising waste recycling industry. As for the most important obstacles (challenges) with regards to the recycling industry in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, Abu Zeid added that accurate assessment of obstacles impeding waste recycling industry in Abu Dhabi, must surpass the narrow confines of the industry; to include the perception of a broader and more comprehensive system of waste management in the emirate in general, as the keystone in the establishment of a prominent industry in this field in Abu Dhabi.In this regard, the researcher called for the development of one of the main features of the waste management system in the emirate, through the existing partnership between the government and the private sector, (Outsourcing), under which the Government of Abu Dhabi  outsources many of the tasks and stages of waste management in various parts of the emirate through the private sector; however the following up of the nature of the roles and functions carried out by units of the private sector in this regard, revealed a lack of adequate contribution in enhancing the efforts to develop  and further a promising waste recycle industry in the emirate.Abu Zeid demonstrated that most of the contributions of private sector entities, were  confined within the waste management system in the Emirate,  mainly to collection and moving of waste from  scattered collection points in neighborhoods and areas of the emirate, to the centers of the final assemblage, without any operations essential for sorting or categorization, which weakens the chances of utilizing all  recyclable waste. Evidently urgent need arises for developing an appropriate intervention mechanism to restructure the role of private sector entities within the waste management system in the Emirate. The Studies Directorate Senior Researcher, Abu Zeid said that the waste recycling industry, is one of the relatively late stages in the waste management chain in the Emirate, and  the elements of the industry  are based to a large extent, on the remnants  and waste of various economic sectors in the emirate; mostly from residents, commercial, tourism facilities, industrial and agricultural establishments and activities. However; the current system of waste management in the emirate does not include specific frameworks to deal separately with household waste, commercial facilities waste, tourist or industrial facilities waste, with the exception of hazardous and hospital wastes that are subject to special treatment systems.The researcher stressed that waste recycling industry in the emirate suffers from some constraints in the supply and demand sides; which if resolved would have a significant impact in the development of the industry in the Emirate.On the supply side the number of industrial sector units engaged in waste recycling is limited, either because of  lack on  waste in a special form  and in terms of quantity and quality which enables  conducting recycling operations, or because of  difficulty  for recycled products to  penetrate the local markets. Most of the goods and products traded locally, involve components and parts that are difficult to take advantage of in the recycling process. Abu Zeid added: “As for the demand side, the broad base of the population in the emirate lacks to the basics of the culture of reducing waste, reuse and recycling of waste. This is a critical area in waste management system in general, and waste recycling concept in particular; which is also as an inevitable result of the weakness of that culture which prevails regarding many consumption patterns that hinder the efforts to develop the recycling industry”.The researcher examined  in his presentation the possible development opportunities for the recycling industry in Abu Dhabi, highlighting the importance of amending the contracts of partnership with the private sector, by restructuring the existing partnership between the government - represented by the Center of Waste Management -  and the private sector units working within the system of waste management in the emirate, so as  introduce new  regulations that require companies to play a more active, sophisticated and influential role  within the system of waste management in the Emirate.With regards to the development opportunities for the industry, the researcher called for adopting specific frameworks (strategies) to deal with waste from the sources. He stated that in spite of the strenuous efforts of the Center of Waste Management in Abu Dhabi, to change the behavior of the society in dealing with waste through awareness raising campaigns. There is urgent need for more coordination with concerned government entities in the Emirate, who have direct contacts with the targeted sources, in order to strengthen current efforts and expand the scope of coverage.According to Abu Zeid, the absence of specific frameworks and mechanisms to deal with a lot of waste types, from sources , deprives the local economy  from  various opportunities, and economic and social gains, as the current  pattern of collecting remnants of housing units, tourism facilities, educational institutions and  buildings in one garbage container one would,  invalidate the first proposal for amending contracts of companies operating in collection of waste. Waste should be separated by collecting companies, and this could be maintained through specific frameworks to sort out the waste in its sources.In conclusion, the Senior Economic Researcher Haitham Abu Zeid, stressed the importance of reviving the principles of social responsibility of companies and producers, bringing to attention the new international trend and surge to develop waste recycling industries. Some countries and advanced economies initiated the adoption of modern legislation and control as a means to emphasize the liability of producers for their products, so as to establish an unbreakable link  between producers and manufacturers  with their products after  production or manufacturing and launching of their products in the market.
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