03 September 2018

Lab Chat

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment has announced the launch of the National Waste Database, an online service which will analyse, compile and share data on waste produced across the UAE. As well as quantifying the amount of waste generated in different parts of the country, the database will also connect each emirate with its counterparts to allow easy sharing of best practices and improve waste management strategies.

Part of the UAE’s Vision 2021 programme, the National Waste Database will help the relevant authorities to effectively monitor waste generation across the country. This, in turn, will facilitate the development of sustainable waste management programmes for now and the future.

Knowledge is power

The Ministry’s Waste Management Department Director Yousuf Al Ahmad Al Raisi is cognisant of the fact that the first step in effectively tackling waste management in the country is understanding the full extent of the problem.

“The success of any integrated waste management programme depends on the availability of valid waste data,” he said. “Previously, the ministry faced the challenge of timely collection and accuracy of such data, and therefore suggested establishing a database for waste produced in the country at the annual meeting of the UAE Government in 2017.”

That database is now live and will allow the various branches of Emirati waste control to view monthly and annual graphs and reports on the volume of waste generated, how much of that is treated and which methods are used to do so.

Two kinds of waste

The new system will categorise waste in one of two classes: hazardous waste and non-hazardous waste. As the name suggests, the former will comprise refuse that is considered damaging to either human, animal or environmental health and will include animal waste, industrial waste and medical waste.

The latter instead will encompass that generated by the construction industry and other industrial activities, as well as sewage wastewater works, agricultural centres and solid municipal waste and animal waste that is not classified as harmful. These two distinct categories will allow the relevant authorities to see at a glance how much of each is being generated and what happens to it next.

As well as providing officials with a comprehensive overview of the problem, it also allows them to identify areas where existing methods of waste management are insufficient and introduce improvements as and when they are needed.

Measuring the UAE against the rest of the world

With the implementation of the new database, the UAE will be well-placed to observe not only how well the country is living up to its own environmental targets, but also how it is performing in comparison to other countries in the Middle East and beyond.

This sort of self-awareness is invaluable in tightening up environmental practices and making sure that the country is globally competitive in its waste management methodologies. As such, it comprises an integral part of the Vision 2021 programme and should provide a vital role in meeting sustainability targets in the future.

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