x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Sharjah acts to clear streets of ugly waste

Unsightly piles of household and industrial waste in residential and commercial areas could become a thing of the past under arrangements announced yesterday to clean up Sharjah.

SHARJAH // Unsightly piles of household and industrial waste in residential and commercial areas could become a thing of the past under arrangements announced yesterday to clean up Sharjah. The municipality has signed a partnership deal with Bee'ah, the Sharjah Environment Company, to launch the services of Tandeef, a division of the company that provides street cleaning and waste disposal services.

The agreement will initially see Tandeef's fleet of street sweeping machines and rubbish collection vehicles heading for sector 7, Al Majaz. The largest of Sharjah's residential zones, it is home to about 300,000 people.  The company will service the remaining 13 sectors of the city over the next year to 15 months. Waste collection and cleaning of public areas has until now been carried out by municipality staff.

Tandeef - the Arabic word for cleaning - will take responsibility for collecting, transporting and treating more than 600,000 tonnes of non-hazardous solid waste annually, the company said in a statement yesterday. It will also carry out recycling and "waste minimisation", as well as community awareness programmes.  "The Sharjah City Municipality is pleased to be in partnership with Bee'ah and its division Tandeef, collectively focusing on servicing Sharjah," said Sultan al Mualla, the municipality's director general, at the programme's launch yesterday on Buhairah Corniche.

"Our mission is to ensure that there is a healthy and clean environment for the people of the emirate. Through this programme, Sharjah will be a first-class environmental example with established international standards and procedures." Residents of Sharjah have long complained about the potential health hazards of large piles of rubbish accumulating in streets and industrial zones.  Last October the municipality launched a clean-up campaign and a zero-tolerance approach to littering in industrial areas, where the problem is particularly acute. Piles of waste, wrecked vehicles and discarded vehicle parts in some cases obstructed traffic. The campaign produced limited results.

"We do not want to accuse anyone of failing but significant development in the emirate has called for specialised companies to handle key projects like rubbish collection and waste disposal," said Salim bin Mohamed al Owais, the acting chairman of Bee'ah. "This is not a privatisation of the cleaning sector. The whole work would be [overseen] by Sharjah municipality." Although the municipality has placed bins along many roads, officials say some residents do not use them. Illegal rubbish dumping is said to be especially common in Al Qarayan, an area near Sharjah University City, where an infestation of rats and mice has been reported.

@Email:ykakande@thenational.ae