x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Dubai recycling steps up a gear

Door-to-door recycling will be introduced to a dozen new communities next month – and those who do not cooperate could face fines.

My City, My Environment bins outside a villa in Nad Al Hamar in Dubai, clearly show what types of rubbish can be placed in each, making it easier for the city to hit its recycling targets. Pawan Singh / The National
My City, My Environment bins outside a villa in Nad Al Hamar in Dubai, clearly show what types of rubbish can be placed in each, making it easier for the city to hit its recycling targets. Pawan Singh / The National

DUBAI // Door-to-door recycling will be introduced to a dozen new communities next month – and those who do not cooperate could face fines.

The long-awaited second phase of the My City, My Environment campaign, from Dubai Municipality’s waste management department, will begin on April 15.

Residents in Jumeirah 1, 2 and 3, Al Safa 1 and 2, Umm Suqeim 1, 2, and 3, Umm Al Sheif, Al Manara, and Al Barsha 2 and 3 will benefit from the move, which will mean their recycling will be picked up from their doors every other day.

“The municipality is investing a lot of finances and resources into this programme, so we want everyone to participate,” said Abdulmajeed Saifaie, director of the department. “If you have any questions, we are here to help. However, those who refuse to cooperate may face heavy fines.”

The programme was first launched in Nad Al Hamar and Al Mizhar 1 and 2 in March 2012. Instead of throwing their rubbish into a central skip, residents were asked to separate their waste into two wheelie bins provided to each home – a green bin for recycling and a black one for all other waste.

My City, My Environment was supposed to expand to six new communities in the Jumeirah area in March last year, but was put on hold to expand the number of communities involved.

“We have now combined phases two and three and are expanding into 12 communities instead of six,” Mr Saifaie said. “We have also expanded the responsibilities of the companies contracted to collect the waste to include all waste-management activities in their designated areas, such as street sweeping.”

Mr Saifaie said that part of the delay was to more thoroughly study the pilot project to find the most qualified companies capable of completing the job. Research also showed the positive impact on the environment, he said, but more needed to be done to make people aware.

“The first phase was a big success, both in terms of recycling and getting the community on board and participating. Residents are now recycling 18 per cent of their total waste in these three communities.The residents’ role is the most integral for the programme to succeed. So we are putting greater focus on awareness.”

Mr Saifaie said that Dubai is currently recycling 20 to 25 per cent of its waste. “According to the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, we have to reach 75 per cent by 2021. This programme is essential in getting us to that goal. As part of our strategic plan, we must utilise and repurpose 98 per cent of our waste by 2030.”

The department also plans to reward the homes that best embrace the programme. Last year, iPads were handed to a number of homes in the pilot project. Cash rewards were also given to household staff.

“We want families to spread awareness and education about recycling within their household, including the maid staff. Every neighbour should be a good example to the other, and have some healthy competition as a motivator.”

The initial phase also allowed the civic body to weed out teething problems.

One mistake, said Mr Saifaie, was forgetting to explain to residents that the bins needed to be placed outside homes only on collection days.

“For a few days before the launch each household will be taught how to use the bin and segregate the recyclables from the rest of the waste.”

The programme has been a long time coming, said residents, some of whom are still getting used to the idea.

“We try to recycle as much as we can but, many times, we forget to segregate,” said Umm Ali, an Emirati grandmother of five who lives in Umm Al Sheif.

“This is a great programme, they should have done this a long time ago. We really need it. I will be more than happy to participate, it actually makes it easier for us to recycle,” she added.

Another resident, Faisal Al Saeed, who will soon move to his new villa in Al Barsha 3, is happy to start recycling.

“The process is reduce, reuse and recycle, but when you get to the recycling phase the logistics usually get you bogged down,” he said. “With this programme, they [Dubai Municipality] already take care of the logistics, and it is free. There is no reason not to recycle.”

The next phase of the programme will look at adding communities in Deira and, by 2020, the entire emirate should be covered.

malkhan@thenational.ae