ABU DHABI // The UAE was the second-largest generator of household waste in the Gulf last year, much of it recyclable materials, a report to be made public today reveals. The document, Waste Management in Gulf Cooperation Council Countries: An Overview, will be distributed today at the opening of the Middle East Waste Summit 2010, which runs in Dubai until Thursday. GCC countries generated more than 22.2 million tonnes of household waste in 2009, with 4.9 million tonnes - or 22 per cent of the total - coming from the UAE. More than half of the waste, 58 per cent, was generated in Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, a large portion of waste generated in the GCC consists of recyclable elements - plastic, glass, metal and paper - and organic material that could have been composted. The paper, which was prepared by the consultancy Frost & Sullivan, reports that part of the waste can be explained by rapid economic expansion in the region, pegged at seven per cent per year from 2002 through 2007. "One of the unintended impacts of this fast-paced growth is an equally sharp increase in the volume of waste generated," it said. "Today, the GCC countries rank even higher than many of the developed countries in terms of per capita waste generation."
Sam Patel, an event director for the summit's organiser, Turret Middle East, said the large volumes of waste and a lack of recycling put pressure on the region's dumps. "Landfill sites in the UAE are filling up fast," he said. "It is not just Dubai or the UAE that has an issue with waste, it is the whole Arab region." Delegates to the event will hear from more than 50 speakers on how governments elsewhere have been able to deal with waste issues. Also speaking will be representatives of Masdar, the world's first carbon neutral city, being built on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.