x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fujairah planning facility to treat hazardous waste

The emirate will build a facility to treat and dispose of the hazardous waste generated by its growing industrial sector.

Fujairah will build a facility to treat and dispose of the hazardous waste generated by the emirate's growing industrial sector. A private company has been hired to research how much hazardous waste is being produced, then help set up a facility to process it in an environmentally responsible way. Fujairah currently lacks the means to deal with industrial waste such as oils, chemicals and solvents, forcing companies to dispose of it themselves, sometimes illegally.

The issue is pressing because the planned growth of industry means more waste will be generated, said Chris Maguire, a manager at the contracted firm, Seacor Environmental Services. The planned projects include an onshore oil terminal by Vopak Horizon Fujairah Limited, and new facilities associated with the oil pipeline between Abu Dhabi and Fujairah. The survey of current waste is scheduled to start at the end of this year and should take six months, Mr Maguire said. The project will need US$2 million (Dh7.3m) initially, he said. Seacor will also help Fujairah Municipality find funding to build the facility.

"All industry will be surveyed to gain an understanding of the types of hazardous waste generated, the volumes involved and the current disposal methods," he said. The waste streams to be studied include oil and oily sludge, corrosives and alkalis, flammables and solvents, paints, antifreeze and industrial chemicals. Oily sludge has generated the most publicity. It is sometimes discharged illegally by vessels flushing waste out at sea. The pollution is evident on the UAE's east coast.

Habiba al Marashi, the chairwoman of the Emirates Environmental Group, said any attempt to improve the management of waste in the country was commendable. However, she said more information was needed before the project could be evaluated."Is this facility going to be built to international standards? Will it be economically viable?" she asked. vtodorova@thenational.ae