Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 August 2020

RAK residents to get free mobile talk time and grocery coupons as recycling incentives

A planned recycling drive aims to boost recycling rates to 20 per cent

Families will get free mobile minutes and shopping vouchers for sorting their own household waste under a new plan to increase recycling rates in Ras Al Khaimah.

Authorities want residents to separate packaging and especially food waste to cut the amount of rubbish going to landfill and increase recycling rates to 20 per cent. “We are working on an incentive programme that will offer people free minutes of talk time or mobile data if they segregate their waste sensibly,” said Sonia Nasser, executive director of RAK Waste Management Agency.

It’s the little ones who teach parents the importance of waste segregation

Sonia Nasser, RAK Waste Management Agency

Recycling food waste, which makes up a third of the emirate’s rubbish, will reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

“We have three food treatment hubs and two more are expected by the end of the year,” Ms Nasser said.

The agency is also stepping up its fight against waste by encouraging children to join the campaign and work as its young ambassadors. “We are working with schools to incorporate lessons on recycling in their curriculum.

“It’s the little ones who teach parents the importance of waste segregation,” Ms Nasser said.

“We have 121 schools under our recycling programme and we recently opened an outreach centre at the materials recovery facility where kids can learn more about the waste segregation process and why it’s important.”

The plant, which sorts recyclable items such as plastics, paper, glass and other materials, was established in 2003 after Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, was shown efficient waste management systems in California.

It was recently upgraded to a semi-automatic plant, helping to increase the recovery rate from five per cent to 15 per cent.

“In California, it took them 10 years to teach how to segregate waste.

“We’re quick on our feet,” Ms Nasser said.

The RAK plant handles about 400 tonnes of waste a day and there are plans to open another in Al Jazeera Al Hamra to cater to the increasing population.

In an effort to cut carbon emission, the city also uses 50 tonnes of camel manure as fuel in cement production with the aim to meet the federal target of reducing landfill waste to 75 per cent by 2021.

Recycling rates are low cross the Emirates and the wider Middle East.

Abu Dhabi sends about 80 per cent of waste to landfill, officials figures show, though it plans to cut that to just 15 per cent by 2030. Fifteen on-street recycling stations have popped up in the city in the past year to encourage residents to help streamline the separation process.

Sharjah has made significant progress in recent years and now sends just 25 per cent of rubbish to landfill. It invested in curbside collections in 2012, before the other emirates, after facing a major waste-disposal crisis a decade ago.

Updated: January 15, 2020 09:35 PM



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