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Abu Dhabi considers charging residents for waste collection

Dubai: Authorities in Abu Dhabi are studying a proposal to charge residents for collection of waste by mid-2016 as part of its strategic plan to encourage recycling in the emirate.

“To reduce the amount of waste generated by households, we are studying a plan to charge residents for their waste and that will, in turn, encourage them to recycle,” said Udayan Banerji, a policies and legislation specialist at Tadweer.

Tadweer is an Abu Dhabi Government organisation responsible for waste management in the emirate where its services include collection, transportation, sorting, treatment and safe disposal of waste, in addition to recycling domestic waste.

The pay-as-you-throw scheme charges residents for the collection of waste and was introduced as early as the 1970s in the US, and has currently been implemented in a number of communities worldwide, including Japan, Canada, Austria and Spain.

“It is a difficult task to carry out, and that is why careful consideration is being made on how to draw up the plans, but we aim to have the rules and regulations ready and in place by the middle of next year,” said Banerji, who explained that the study was made as part of the waste management’s master plan that falls in line with UAE Vision 2021 — a federal plan to improving the quality of air, preserving water resources, increasing the contribution of clean energy and achieving sustainable development.

Banerji pointed out that the authority is currently weighing two options, of whether to charge residents per family member or per rooms in each household but residents will feel the pinch on their pockets either way.

The proposal to charge residents for the management of waste was revealed yesterday at the 6th Annual Waste Management Middle East Forum, where officials from Dubai Municipality also announced that they intend to charge waste management companies by the beginning of 2016.

“To reduce the quantity of waste going to landfills, we need to set new regulations and force people to sort their waste at source. And we expect it to happen very soon,” said Emad Mohammad, head of technical support and studies section, Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality.

Waste management companies are currently charged Dh10 per vehicle to dispose of their waste at municipal landfills and other designated sites. With the new proposal in place, private companies will have to pay by the tonne instead, “but the final cost has not been decided yet”, Mohammad said.

Naji Al Radhi, head of head of waste treatment centre at Dubai Municipality, explained that the proposal will only be applicable to the commercial sector, and will be charged as a gate fee.

“With residents, we have an ambitious plan to reduce household waste down to 900 grams by 2021 and this target will be achieved by raising the number of recycling centres in communities, and carrying out a number of strategies to shift the culture towards a sustainable one,” he said.

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