The Paper Bag Boy of Abu Dhabi

Abdul Muqeet, also known as the Paper Bag Boy, has risen from being just another ordinary student to an extra-ordinary environmentalist. At just ten years old, Abdul Muqeet has demonstrated his commitment to saving the environment in United Arab Emirates and elsewhere. 

Inspired by the 2010 campaign “UAE Free of Plastic Bags”, Abdul Muqeet, a student of Standard V at Abu Dhabi Indian School, applied his own initiative and imagination to create 100% recycled carry bags using discarded newspapers. He then set out to distribute these bags in Abu Dhabi, replacing plastic bags that take hundreds of years to degrade biologically. The bags were lovingly named ‘Mukku bags' and Abdul Muqeet became famous as the Paper Bag Boy.

Abdul Muqeet’s environmental initiative has catalyzed a much larger community campaign. During the first year, Abdul Muqeet created and donated more than 4,000 paper bags in Abu Dhabi. In addition, he has led workshops at schools, private companies and government entities, demonstrating how to create paper bags using old newspapers. His school along with a number of companies in Abu Dhabi adopted his idea by exchanging their plastic bags for paper bags.

Abdul Muqeet was one of the youngest recipients of Abu Dhabi Awards 2011, for his remarkable contribution to conserve environment. The awards were presented by General Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. In 2011, Abdul Muqeet was selected to attend the United Nation’s Tunza conference in Indonesia where he demonstrated his commitment for a cleaner environment through his paper bag initiative. He is actively involved in spreading environmental awareness worldwide, especially UAE, India, USA and Indonesia.


Abdul Muqeet continues to make headlines for his concerted efforts towards a plastic-free environment, and has been widely covered by leading newspapers in UAE and other countries. He tirelessly campaigned for the Rio+20 summit, urging world leaders to commit to the Green Economy. “Plant more trees; use less water; reuse and recycle; always remember that everything in this world can be recycled but not time,” offers Abdul.

He has been remarkably supported by his parents and siblings throughout his truly inspiring environmental sojourn. Abdul Muqeet’s monumental achievements at such a tender age make him a torch-bearer of the global environmental movement, and should also inspire the young generation to protect the environment by implementing the concept of ‘Zero Waste’.

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Waste-to-Energy in Jordan: Potential and Challenges

landfill-jordanEffective sustainable solid waste management is of great importance both for people’s health and for environmental protection. In Jordan, insufficient financial resources, growing population, rapid urbanization, inadequate management and lacking of technical skills represent a serious environmental challenge confronting local government. At the same time, energy remains Jordan’s top challenge for development. The energy needs to be produced in a sustainable way, preferably from renewable sources which have a minimum environmental impact. To face the future problems in waste management, as well as securing the demand of renewable energy, it is necessary to reuse the wasted resources in energy production.

Jordan has definitely acknowledged that making affordable energy solutions available is critical to support industries, investment, and attain sustainable growth. One option is to use solid waste to generate electricity in centralized plants. Waste-to-energy has been recognized as an effective approach to improve recycling rates, reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, reduce the amount of materials sent to landfills and to avoid pollution.

Waste-to-Energy Potential

According to recent statistics, Jordan population stands at around 9.5 million. The estimated municipal waste generated according to the last five years average production is around 3,086,075 ton/year. This huge amount of waste generated is not only a burden, but a potential resource for use in energy production. Considering the country average waste composition 40% is organic waste e.g. avoidable and unavoidable food waste (1,200,000 ton), 10 % are recyclable e.g. paper, plastic, glass, ferrous metals and aluminum (300,000 ton) and 50% are suitable for incineration e.g. garden and park waste, wood and textiles (1,500,000 ton) with high calorific value and energy potential (8.1 MJ/Kg) that is capable to produce electricity 340 kWh/ton waste. The high organic waste is suitable for methane gas capture technologies which is estimated at 170 m3/ton waste.

Technology Options

Nowadays, there are many technologies available which makes it possible to utilize these energy potentials. The major alternatives conventional technologies for large scale waste management are incineration, landfilling and anaerobic digestion. These technologies are affordable, economical visible and associated with minimum environmental impact. The production of electricity is combined with greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the current energy situation (90% of the country energy produced from fossil fuel), the country emission factor is around 819 CO2-eq/kWh. However, the use of waste to energy solutions is considered to be a clean and definitely the amount of GHG emitted is a lot less than the gases generated by ordinary practices (open dumping and unsanitary landfills).

Construction of an incineration plant for electricity production is often a profitable system even though the installation cost is high since production of electricity often leads to a large economic gain. Landfill gas utilization avoids the release of untreated landfill gases into the atmosphere, and produces electricity to sell commercially in an environmental friendly manner. However, landfilling is associated with methane production. Methane is a potent GHG, contributing 21 times more to global warming than carbon dioxide.

Anaerobic digestion technology is another option. Anaerobic digestion not only decrease GHGs emission but also it is the best technology for treatment of high organic waste through converting the biodegradable fraction of the waste into high-quality renewable calorific gas. Currently, with the growing use of anaerobic technology for treating waste and wastewater, it is expected to become more economically competitive because of its enormous advantages e.g. reduction of pathogens, deactivation of weed seeds and production of sanitized compost.


Sorting at the place of generation and recycling e.g. paper, plastic, glass and metals needed to be practiced at the country level or at least where these technologies implemented. Incinerated waste containing plastics (not sorted) releases carbon dioxide, toxic substances and heavy metals to the atmosphere and contributes thereby to climate change and to global warming.

Challenges to Overcome

Waste-to-energy technologies offer enormous potentials as a renewable energy sources and to mitigate climate change in Joran. However, these technologies pose many challenges to the country and discussion makers. Currently, the waste sector is administrated by the government. Poor regulation and insufficient financial resources are limiting the available options toward adapting these new technologies. Private investments and collaboration with the private sector is the key solution in this regard.

Recycling of PET Plastic Wastes

Like all other modern urban centers, the Middle East also faces challenges in environmental protection due to tremendous tonnage of waste produced in different forms. The gross urban waste generation from Middle East countries exceeds 150 million tons per annum, out of which 10-15 percent is contributed by plastic wastes. The burgeoning population, growing consumption, and an increasing trend towards a “disposable” culture, is causing nightmares to municipal authorities across the region and beyond.

Plastic consumption has grown at a tremendous rate over the past two decades as plastics now play an important role in all aspects of modern lifestyle. Plastics are used in the manufacture of numerous products such as protective packaging, lightweight and safety components in cars, mobile phones, insulation materials in buildings, domestic appliances, furniture items, medical devices etc. Because plastic does not decompose biologically, the amount of plastic waste in our surroundings is steadily increasing. More than 90% of the articles found on the sea beaches contain plastic. Plastic waste is often the most objectionable kind of litter and will be visible for months in landfill sites without degrading.

Recycling Process

After PET plastic containers are collected they must be sorted and prepared for sale. The amount and type of sorting and processing required will depend upon purchaser specifications and the extent to which consumers separate recyclable materials of different types and remove contaminants.

Collected PET plastic containers are delivered to a materials recovery facility to begin the recycling process. Sorting and grinding alone are not sufficient preparation of PET bottles and containers for re-manufacturing. There are many items that are physically attached to the PET bottle or containers that require further processing for their removal. These items include the plastic cups on the bottom of many carbonated beverage bottles (known as base cups), labels and caps.

Dirty regrind is processed into a form that can be used by converters. At a reclaiming facility, the dirty flake passes through a series of sorting and cleaning stages to separate PET from other materials that may be contained on the bottle or from contaminants that might be present. First, regrind material is passed through an air classifier which removes materials lighter than the PET such as plastic or paper labels and fines.

The flakes are then washed with a special detergent in a scrubber. This step removes food residue that might remain on the inside surface of PET bottles and containers, glue that is used to adhere labels to the PET containers, and any dirt that might be present. Next, the flakes pass through a “float/sink” classifier. During this process, PET flakes, which are heavier than water, sink in the classifier, while base cups made from high-density polyethylene plastic (HDPE) and caps and rings made from polypropylene plastic (PP), both of which are lighter than water, float to the top.

After drying, the PET flakes pass through an electrostatic separator, which produces a magnetic field to separate PET flakes from any aluminum that might be present as a result of bottle caps and tennis ball can lids and rings. Once all of these processing steps have been completed, the PET plastic is now in a form known as “clean flake.” In some cases reclaimers will further process clean flake in a “repelletizing” stage, which turns the flake into “pellet.” Clean PET flake or pellet is then processed by reclaimers or converters which transform the flake or pellet into a commodity-grade raw material form such as fiber, sheet, or engineered or compounded pellet, which is finally sold to end-users to manufacture new products.


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Significance of E-Waste Management

Electronic waste (or e-waste) is the fastest growing waste stream, and its disposal is a major environmental concern in all parts of the world. More than 50 million tons of e-waste is generated every year with major fraction finding its way to landfills and dumpsites. E-waste comprises as much as 8% of the municipal solid waste stream in rich nations, such as those in GCC. Globally only 15 – 20 percent of e-waste is recycled while the rest is dumped into developing countries. However, in the Middle East, merely 5 percent of e-waste is sent to recycling facilities (which are located in Asia, Africa and South America) while the rest ends up in landfills.

What is E-Waste

The term ‘e-waste’ stands for any electrical or electronic appliance that has reached its end-of-life, such as refrigerators, washing machines, microwaves, cell phones, TVs and computers. Such waste is made up of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, wood, circuit boards, ceramics, rubber etc. The major constituent of e-waste is iron and steel (about 50%) followed by plastics (21%), and non-ferrous metals (13%) like copper, aluminum and precious metals like silver, gold, platinum, palladium etc. E-waste also contains toxic elements like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium, selenium and chromium.

E-waste is different from municipal and industrial wastes and requires special handling procedures due to the presence of both valuable and expensive materials. Recycling of e-waste can help in the recovery of reusable components and base materials, especially copper and precious metals. However, due to lack of recycling facilities, high labour costs, and tough environmental regulations, rich countries either landfill or export e-waste to poor countries which is illegal under the Basel Convention.

Health Hazards

Recycling techniques for e-waste include burning and dissolution in strong acids with few measures to protect human health and the environment. E-waste workers often suffer from bad health effects through skin contact and inhalation. Workers, consumers and communities are exposed to the chemicals contained in electronics throughout their life cycle, from manufacture through use and disposal. The incineration, land-filling, and illegal dumping of electronic wastes all contribute toxic chemicals to the environment.

Electronics recycling workers have been shown to have higher levels of flame retardants in their blood, potentially from exposure to contaminated indoor air. Similar exposures are likely for communities where recycling plants are located, especially if these plants are not adequately regulated. Much of the electronics industry in the Middle East, Europe and North America has outsourced manufacturing and disposal to developing countries of Southeast Asia, China and India. Uncontrolled management of e-wastes is having a highly negative effect on local communities and environment in these countries.

E-Waste Recycling and Metal Industry

Electrical and electronic equipment are made up a wide range of materials including metals, plastics and ceramics. For example, a mobile phone may contain more than 40 elements including base metals like copper and tin, special metals such as cobalt, indium and antimony, and precious metals like silver, gold and palladium. Infact, metals represents almost one-fourth of the weight of a phone, the remainder being plastic and ceramic material. Taking into account the fact that worldwide mobile device sale totaled 1.8 billion in 2010, this will translate into significant metal demand each year.

If we consider the high growth rate of electronic devices, including cell phones, TVs, monitors, MP3 players, digital cameras and electronic toys, it becomes obvious that these equipment are responsible for high demand and high prices for a wide range of metals. These metal resources are available again at final end-of-life of the device which could be used for manufacture of new products if effective recycling methods are implemented.

Mining plays a vital role in the supply of metals for electrical and electronic industry. The environmental impact of metal production is significant, especially for precious and special metals. For example, to produce 1 ton of gold or palladium, 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide is generated. If recycling processes are used to recover metals from e-waste, only a fraction of CO2 emissions will occur, apart from numerous other benefits.

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Waste Management Implications of 3D Printing

The rapid deployment of 3D printing is one of the most exciting developments since the appearance of the smart phone. This is technology with some serious potential to change how and where goods are manufactured, transforming supply chains. The New Scientist has gone so far as to herald 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, as ushering in a second industrial revolution. But is anyone thinking about how what this new development means for the waste sector?

Whilst the technology is already being put to some dubious uses, the ability to manufacture pretty much anything wherever and whenever it’s needed is certainly appealing. Interest isn’t confined to those frustrated inventors whose imaginations have been constrained by the tools they can fit in the garden shed; there’s likely to be take-up from businesses, householders – and even space agencies, apparently.

Insights into 3D Printing

By building up layer upon layer of material, a 3D printer can produce objects to any pattern, up to the maximum size it can handle. However, the applications to which these objects can be put to may be limited by the physical properties of the materials that will inputted in to 3D printers – the equivalent of the ink in the printers we’re all familiar with. Clearly, you can’t print a toaster if your 3D printer only uses plastic – but an oven knob, or even a wind-powered robot with dozens of moving parts, is no problem.

A quick scan of helpfully outlines the different methods 3D printers are able to deploy, which I’ve summarised here. Each appears to require its own TLA (Three Letter Acronym). Perhaps in the future terms such as Stereolithography (SLA), Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and PolyJet photopolymer will become as ubiquitous as DVD and VHS have been in the past. Each of these techniques is compatible with a selection of materials, primarily plastics – but some are able to use metals, ceramics or even play-dough.

Environmental Implications

Moving significant amounts of manufacturing away from factories (predominately in Asia) to our own door steps will no doubt have profound impacts on the balance of goods and services across the globe. The economic and social implications of the technology have the potential to be significant– as do the environmental implications.

There is potential for greenhouse gas emissions savings from reduced shipping – not just cutting the number of products that make the long journey across the seas from China, but also reducing road freight. Fewer trucks on the motorways could be one of the unexpected effects 3D printing. But what are the waste management issues associated with mass deployment such technologies. And if we are future gazing, is their deployment consistent with the ‘zero waste economy’ envisaged by governments across the Middle East?

For those who haven’t yet thought too hard about what the technology is; think of it like the ‘replicator’ devices as featured in Star Trek. The replicator was a machine capable of creating objects by voice command, from what appeared to be thin air. 3D printing is only a shade less magical.

Waste Management Perspectives

3D printing is something of a double-edged sword when it comes to waste. It creates new recycling problems, but has considerable potential to help prevent waste. It could even be an outlet for recycled plastics. The opportunity for DIY repairs, especially to everyday items that we might otherwise decide were uneconomic to fix, appears enormous.

But with the higher profile that waste management has these days, I feel that we ought to be making 3D printing the first technology to be designed with recycling in mind. The waste management industry is a service industry; and typically it has had to adapt retrospectively to technology changes that it has not been able to influence. After more than a decade, we’re still catching up with the introduction of plastic milk bottles in lieu of glass. But this reactive approach clearly isn’t the best way to achieve a zero waste economy.

3D printing offers numerous challenges and opportunities to the waste management industry. As we, as a society, become more aware of material security, I’d suggest that the best approach would be for the waste management industry to engage positively with the designers and manufacturers of the 3D printing devices, trying to identify opportunities to ensure that the circular economy doesn’t become an afterthought.

The most appealing possibility would be if the machines could recycle waste polymers themselves, and re-use them as feedstock. Could we see a scenario where the machines become the recycling facility, thus greatly reducing the need for even the print medium to be transported? Bringing the nascent 3D printing industry together with experts in waste management could help to make this new technology contribute to rather than challenge our ambitions for a zero waste economy.

Note: The article is being republished with the kind permission of our collaborative partner Isonomia. The original article can be viewed at

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أسلوب حياة أخضر

green-lifestyle-arabicتبني "أسلوب حياة أخضر" هو محاولة لترشيد استغلال الفرد أو المجتمع للموارد الطبيعية عن طريق تغيير أساليب النقل واستهلاك الطاقة، واستخدام المياه وغيرها. ويعنى أسلوب الحياة الأخضر بتلبية الاحتياجات البيئية والاجتماعية، والاقتصادية الحالية دون المساس بقدرة الأجيال المقبلة على تلبية احتياجاتها. ويعد انخفاض حجم البصمة البيئية أو الكربونية هو النتيجة الطبيعية لأسلوب المعيشة المستدامة.

ويعتبر تلوث المياه، وتلوث التربة، وتلوث الهواء، والتخلص من النفايات والمحافظة على الموارد الطبيعية، وحماية الحياة البرية من التحديات البيئية الرئيسية التي تواجه البشرية. ولكلٍ منا دور يمكن أن يلعبه لتحقيق الاستدامة، وذلك من خلال تبني أسلوب حياة خضراء. وفيما يلي بعض النصائح التي يمكن أن تساعد في خلق بيئة صحية لك ولعائلتك، وللأرض كذلك:

  1. اتبع/ي التسلسل الهرمي للتعامل مع النفايات: يمكن تحقيق ذلك من خلال التدرج ابتداءً من تقليل الاستهلاك، ثم إعادة الاستخدام ثم إعادة تدوير ما تبقى.
  2. جرب/ي تغيير استخدام الاشياء: وذلك بتحويل النفايات إلى مواد أو منتجات ذات جودة أو قيمة أعلى من السلعة الأصلية، على سبيل المثال تحويل كيس من البلاستيك إلى بطانة داخلية لحاويات القمامة أو تحويل عبوة بلاستيكية إلى حاضنة بذور.
  3. حول/ي المواد العضوية إلى سماد: حيث يمكن انتاج السماد بتخمير المواد العضوية لإضافة المواد المغذية لتربة حديقة المنزل وتقليل نفاياتك المنزلية في نفس الوقت.
  4. أعد/أعيدي استخدام المياه: على الرغم من أهمية المياه كمورد لا يمكن الاستغناء عنه إلا أن محدوديتها تقضي بضرورة تدويرها و إعادة استخدامها؛ كاستخدام المياه الرمادية -بعد معالجتها -في نظام التدفق في المراحيض، وفي ري الحدائق. كما يوفر تجميع مياه الأمطار مصدرا اخر من المياه ذات النوعية الجيدة.
  5. بادر/ي بترشيد استخدام الطاقة: تعتبر الطاقة هي القوة الدافعة للتنمية، ويمكن القيام ببعض الممارسات للتقليل من هدرها كإطفاء أجهزة الكمبيوتر ليلاً، واستبدال المصابيح بتلك الموفرة للطاقة وتجنب وضع الأجهزة في وضع الاستعداد في حال عدم الحاجة لها.
  6. أعد/أعيدي التفكير في حاجتك للمياه المعبأة في عبوات بلاستيكية: لابد أن نتنبه إلى أن عبوات المياه البلاستيكية تستغرق آلاف السنين لتتحلل.لذا من الأجدر الاستغناء عنها بعبوة قابلة لإعادة الاستخدام.
  7. حاول/ي إعادة تدوير الهواتف المحمولة القديمة: يتم الاستغناء عن مئات الملايين من الهواتف المحمولة في كل عام مما يتسبب بإدخال العديد من المواد السامة إلى الأنظمة البيئية، في حال التخلص منها في مكبات النفايات المنزلية. هناك العديد من المشاريع التي تقوم بإعادة تدوير الهواتف ,أغلبها لتمويل مبادرات نبيلة.
  8. أعد/أعيدي تدوير الألومنيوم والزجاج: يمكن انتاج عشرين علبة ألمنيوم معاد تدويرها بنفس كمية الطاقة اللازمة لتصنيع علبة واحدة جديدة. وبالمثل، فإن كل طن من الزجاج المعاد تدويره يوفر ما يعادل تسعة غالونات من زيت الوقود اللازم لصنع الزجاج من المواد الخام.
  9. تجنب/ي استخدام الأكياس البلاستيكية: يتم استهلاك حوالي تريليون كيس في جميع أنحاء العالم كل عام مما يتسبب بأضرار عديدة في الأنظمة البيئية. ويمكن الاستعاضة بأكياس القماش القابلة للتحلل والتي يمكن إعادة استخدامها.
  10. نمي الأفكار: المعيشة المستدامة ليست مهمة صعبة المنال. يمكن لأشياء بسيطة، مثل زرع شجرة، أن تحدث فرقا ملموسا.




سمر طه

يوسف بنغزواني


Recycling Attitudes in Saudi Arabia: A Survey

recycling-bin-jeddahThe waste management and recycling industry in Saudi Arabia is underestimated source of income. The continued increase in population and industrial development in the Kingdom has increased individual waste generation manifolds in the past few decades. The shortage of recycling industries in Saudi Arabia cost around SR 40 billion. The focus of Saudi recycling industry is plastic, papers and metals. If recycling industry targeted only plastic and paper and metals they can meet the need of the Saudi market efficiently. According to Arab League, recycling industry can save over 500 million SR just from iron, paper and plastic waste. The distribution of recycling companies is manly in big cities which make sense for the huge expected amount of waste products. There are several recycling companies operating in the big cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

The new orientation of Saudi Arabia as a country is toward the global investment as per Vision 2030 released by Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.  The envisioned industrial growth of Saudi Arabia emphasizes the need to adopt modern recycling practices and encourage recycling attitude in public. 

Recycling Attitude in Saudi Arabia

The government did its part by encouraging recycling industry and while I was searching I noticed that there are many recycling companies in the Kingdom.  The question is not why the recycling attitude is not active or obvious, rather than how to make it a daily habit? At the beginning, I did a personal interview with few people in their 50-60 years old about recycling and why they should do it? The answers were disappointing because of lack of knowledge and awareness. Then I thought to switch to the young generation who are more educated and knowledgeable.  

I did a short survey to get a sense of young generation recycling attitude in Saudi Arabia. The survey was addressed to the University students in the age group of 18-24 years. I asked about several issues and whether if they agree with the recycling act or not? And if there are recycling services nearby where they live? The survey showed that majority of people acknowledged the importance of recycling act and would like to contribute.  


The survey showed that 74% of the sample think that recycling is very important but 45% of them recycle their house waste sometimes, while 44% don’t recycle at all. The challenge for 50% of the people on survey sample was the lack of recycling containers near where they live. However, around 15% of the sample think that sorting material is difficult while 12% think that recycling is not important.  


Key Takeaways

It seems that majority of the young generation in Saudi Arabia accept the fact that recycling is a healthy choice and important to the environment but lack the facilities or containers other than embedding the attitude of recycling in their daily behavior. The need to embed the healthy recycling behavior is very important especially in this era of economic challenge. To enhance the recycling act, we should start from school to implant recycling importance in education. Although decision makers are predominantly from the older generation but discussing the present and future issues should be always directed to the young generation since they represent majority of the population in Saudi Arabia. As per latest data, the population of Saudi Arabia is 32,384,951, with median age of 28 years old and 15 person per km2 population density. The urban population represents 78% of Saudis with 1.5 percent growth rate.


The global issues associated with unbalanced environment should be more clear to the public. The global warming, the plastic virtual life, how many years until all these products degraded and do not affect the microflora and other creatures. The importance of diversity in creatures and soil, air, water microorganisms. Why we should care when we through stuff without sorting? Why recycling is a sign of high manners? All these questions and more should be answered and included in education.  

The other major step is to establish environmental center under the government supervision to provide containers and production lines. The step of environmental care center establishment should be accompanied with recycling industry business broadcasted on all sort of media. Social media such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram became the broadcasting tool for the young generation. Using the media nowadays is necessity as a part of transparency. Applying transparency is an essential key to gain people trust and attention to their contribution toward any case. Making recycling attitude as an obvious contribution of people encourages them to continue the healthy act.  

Waste Management Perspectives for Egypt

Egypt occupies 7th position in the list of countries with the most mismanaged plastic waste, according to a recent report published in Science magazine. The report was based on data collected in 2010 and one must wonder whether the results of the report would have been different if the zabbaleen had been allowed to continue their work unhindered.

A History of the Zabbaleen

The zabbaleen, or garbage collectors, are the descendants of farmers from Upper Egypt who moved to Cairo in the 1940s. Together with another migrant group, they have made a living in Cairo collecting, sorting, salvaging, and recycling the waste of the city's nearly 20 million residents. With the help of NGOs, the zabbaleen recycled up to 80% of the waste they collected, more than three times the amount of waste recycled by garbage collectors in major cities in developed nations. The zabbaleen collected the garbage free of charge; they were part of Cairo's informal public sector. Their work was not supported by the government. Their income came from selling the recyclable material and from the pigs they raised on the organic waste. Many residents also gave monetary tips to the garbage collectors. This meager income barely supported the zabbaleen, who live together in different settlements around the city, all of them extremely poor.

Believing the zabbaleen's system to be backwards and unhygienic, in 2003, the government sold contracts to three multinational companies (and one local company) to collect Cairo's waste, pushing the zabbaleen out of the system. These companies were required to recycle only 20% of the waste collected, the other 80% making its way to landfills. It did not take long for residents to complain about this new service. They now had to pay for their garbage collection and that did not include door-to-door pick-up. There were not enough bins in the streets to hold all the waste and streets quickly filled with the overflowing garbage. The new companies simply could not keep up with the waste being produced. Not only did this have a devastating effect on the waste management situation in Cairo, it destroyed the zabbaleen's way of life as they lost access to the garbage that was the foundation of their economic activities. At one point, the private companies realized they needed the zabbaleen and tried to subcontract them, but the zabbaleen were highly underpaid and the system failed. Some residents, though, continued to hire the zabbaleen on their own.

Adding to both the city's garbage woes and the plight of the zabbaleen, in 2009, in response to the H1Ni influenza outbreak, the government ordered the culling of all the zabbaleen's pigs. These pigs were an essential part of the zabbaleen's recycling program. The pigs consumed all of the organic waste that was sorted from the garbage. When they lost their pig herds, the zabbaleen stopped collecting organic waste and the effect was felt almost immediately. Again, residents complained about the trash piling up on the streets. The trash piles became home to rats and disease. And once again, the zabbaleen suffered as they were no longer able to earn enough money to support themselves and had lost an important food source.

Change is in the Air

Since the 2011 revolution, many changes have taken place in Egypt, spurred on by environmentally-minded individuals, small businesses, and new government ministers. One of the more hopeful changes involves the collection of garbage. The government has finally implemented a proposal for officially employing the zabbaleen, replacing the international companies with smaller zabbaleen-run companies. Once registered, the local companies are given uniforms, government vehicles and business training from an NGO. The system had a test-run and debuted in a few areas late last year. If successful, there are plans to expand over the next two years. This is good news for Cairo's waste management and even better news for the zabbaleen.

Other private-sector initiatives are tackling recycling as well.  Recyclobekia is a new company that offers electronic waste recycling services. The company collects, sorts, and dismantles e-waste – old laptops, computers, cameras, phones, and more – and in return companies and individuals are given credit for an online shop or even cash if they recycle more than 500 kg of waste. GreenTec is an exciting recycling initiative that offers Automated Recycling Machines. With these machines, individuals can deposit their plastic water bottles and receive credit for their mobile phones. Another new venture coming out of Cairo is Refuse, a company that upcycles plastic bags and creates backpacks, tote bags, laptop covers, and other accessories with this waste. They also offer workshops to teach others how to upcycle.  Gamayit El-Misbah El-Mudii, started in 2005, provides free collection and recycling of paper, plastic, glass, and other items. They collect from individuals, schools, and businesses. Resala, a charity organization, also offers recycling services. As these initiatives and companies continue to grow, so will the awareness and action of individuals in terms of waste management and recycling.

Individual Action

While our local and national authorities attempt to improve the collection and recyling of our waste at the city level, it is important to remember that we as individuals can do a lot as well. The first and simplest action we can take it to sort our trash into organic and non-organic waste. Our garbage collectors, whoever they may be, will appreciate this effort and it will keep any paper or board waste clean so that it can be recycled. Once you've sorted your trash, make sure it's getting recycled. If the zabbaleen do not collect in your area, contact one of the organizations listed above. The most important action we can take is to reduce the amount of waste we are creating in the first place. Less waste produced means less waste needing to be managed. We can start by refusing to use or purchase disposable plastic. Bring your own reusable bags to the supermarket so that you don't need the plastic ones. Invest in a water filter and a reusable bottle so you can drink your tap water and skip the plastic water bottles. Avoid buying food packaged with polystyrene; it's not recyclable. Read this guide to a plastic-free life and search other websites for tips and ideas on reducing plastic waste. You'll find that most of the suggestions will be better for your health and the health of our environment, and at the same time, save you money. If we all do our part by taking these steps, perhaps Egypt won't make the top ten list of worst plastic offenders again.

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إعادة استخدام الملابس القديمة وتطويعها لأغراض أخرى

عشرات الملايين من أطنان الملابس القديمة يتم التخلص منها في جميع أنحاء العالم كل عام.  في البلدان الغنية، حوالي% 5-6 من النفايات البلدية الصلبة  تتألف من الملابس المستعملة. في عام  2010تخلص الأميركيين من 13,1 مليون  طن من المنسوجات ، منها  %15 فقط تم إعادة استخدام ، في حين أكثر من 11 مليون طن من المنسوجات كانت ملقاة في  مرادم النفايات في جميع أنحاء البلاد. الوضع لا يختلف في الشرق الأوسط حيث أن  كمية كبيرة من الملابس وغيرها من الأقمشة تتراكم في المنازل سنويا.

عندما يتم ألقاء الملابس و الأقمشة في حاويات النفايات الموجودة في كل منطقة, يتم نقل النفايات إلى موقع المكب ، حيث يتم ألقائها و دفنها مع الأخذ بعين الاعتبار أن هذه العملية تستحوذ على منطقة كبيرة من مساحة المكب و تكلفة مالية  لنقل وحمل هذه النفايات.اضافتا الى ذلك, أن تحلل المنسوجات يبعث غاز الميثان الضار بالبيئة, وهو من الغازات الدفيئة, حيث  يساهم بشكل كبير في ظاهرة الاحتباس الحراري.  ليس ذلك فقط حيث أن المنسوجات تتكون من الأصباغ و المواد الكيميائية والتي تتسرب إلى التربة، وتلوث كل من المياه السطحية والجوفية.

السبب الرئيسي في تراكم الملابس في منازلنا هو الشراء المتهور في وقت التنزيلات و الخصم, و التي تستحوذ على جزء كبير من مساحة خزانة الملابس. و السبب الآخر هو الشعور بذنب إضاعة المال عند التفكير في التخلص منها. و لا سيما النساء خاصة تخزن ملابس معينه ذات الموضة على امل عودتها من جديد.

المهمة الأولى هي تقييم ما لدينا من ملابس ملبوسه و ماذا سنستخدم منها و أيا منها سيتم التخلص منه. والمهمة الثانية هي استطاعتنا في تغيير قطعت الملابس الى شكل آخر أو أعادة ارتدائها من قبل احد افراد العائلة. المهمة  التالية هي معرفة ما إذا كان يمكن لهذه الملابس إعادة استخدامها أو جعلها لأغراض أخرى  مثل استخدامها كأقمشة ستائر لنوافذ، و الأغطية، والمراوح الخ. و آخر خيار هو التبرع بالملابس للمحتاجين من الناس و توزيعها على  المنظمات التي تعود بالفائدة على المجتمع مثل الجمعيات الخيرية.

علينا أن نفهم أن أكثر من  70٪ من سكان العالم يستخدم الملابس المستعملة.  فلتكن هذه الملابس سببا لجلب الابتسامة على وجوه  المجتمعات الأقل حظا. هذا العمل اللطيف  ليس فقط لإرضاء أخلاقنا و دينيا ولكن أيضا  توصف مدى اهتمامنا بالنفايات، المجتمع والبيئة.  العديد من الجمعيات الخيرية المحلية في الشرق الأوسط  تفهمت هذا الوضع لذلك  وضعت الحاويات و صناديق لجمع الملابس المستعملة من المجتمع.

اذا كانت الملابس غير صالحه للارتداء، يمكن تحويلها إلى مناديل  تستخدم لاحقا في اغراض التنظيف المنزلي مثل؛ تنظيف البقع، الغبار، وتنظيف السيارات الخ. في حين يمكن جمع و استعمال المنسوجات المهترئة كمواد حشو في مقاعد السيارة، والمفروشات، والعزل، منديل الملابس,  و الباقي منها يتم التخلص منه في المكب.  كما أن أقمشة الملابس يمكن تطويعها لأغراض أخرى مثل أكياس القماش، القبعات، وما إلى ذلك استنادا الى إبداعك و استخدامك. وأخيرا, يجب أن يكون لديك نظام لتخلص من الملابس و تأكد من محتويات خزانة الملابس  قبل الذهاب لشراء مشتريات جديدة.


بدرية الكيومي/ تخصص علوم بيئية, عضو في جمعية البيئة العمانية

الترجمة ليس بالضرورة أن تمثل رأي أو توجه المترجمة

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Recycling of Aluminium

The demand for aluminium products is growing steadily in the Middle East because of their positive contribution to modern living. Aluminium finds extensive use almost all walks of life including transport, food and medicine, packaging, construction, electronics and electrical power transmission. Infact, the use of aluminum exceeds that of any other metal except iron. Aluminium is the second most widely used metal whereas the aluminium can is the most recycled consumer product in the world. 

Disposal Woes and Recycling Potential

Disposal of aluminium wastes is a challenging task as aluminium exposed to fires at dumpsites can be a serious environmental problem in the form of poisonous gases and mosquito breeding. Recycled aluminium can be utilized for almost all applications, and can preserve raw materials and reduce toxic emissions, apart from significant energy conservation. 

Aluminum has a high market value and continues to provide an economic incentive to recycle it. The excellent recyclability of aluminium, together with its high scrap value and the low energy needs during recycling make aluminium lightweight solutions highly desirable.

The contribution of the recycled metal to the global output of aluminium products has increased from 17 percent in 1960 to 34 percent today, and expected to rise to almost 40 percent by 2020. Global recycling rates are high, with approximately 90 per cent of the metal used for transport and construction applications recovered, and over 60 per cent of used beverage cans are collected.

Aluminium does not degrade during the recycling process, since its atomic structure is not altered during melting. Aluminium recycling is both economically and environmentally effective, as it requires a lot less energy to recycle than it does to mine, extract and smelt aluminium ore.  Recycled aluminium requires only 5% of the energy used to make primary aluminium, and can have the same properties as the parent metal. However, in the course of multiple recycling, more and more alloying elements are introduced into the metal cycle. This effect is put to good use in the production of casting alloys, which generally need these elements to attain the desired alloy properties.

The industry has a long tradition of collecting and recycling used aluminium products. Over the years, USA and European countries have developed robust separate collection systems for aluminium packaging with a good degree of success. Recycled aluminium can made into aircraft, automobiles, bicycles, boats, computers, cookware, gutters, siding, wire and cans. 

Regional Trends

Middle East, especially GCC, is responsible for generation of huge amount of aluminium wastes each year. The enormity of the problem can be gauged from the fact more than 500 million beverage cans are used in UAE alone, out of which only 5% is recycled while the rest goes to scrap dealers or landfills. Middle East has a very strong aluminium industry which could benefit a lot from aluminium recycling initiatives. Recycling of aluminium is a long-term viable option for the region as it reduces the need for raw materials and use of valuable fossil fuels.

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My Little Paper Recycling Project

Paper industry is considered as one of the world’s largest consumers of fossil fuels and biggest industrial polluter. The industry is criticized by environmental groups for being responsible for massive deforestation around the world. With the use of modern technology such as the printing press and the highly mechanised harvesting of wood, paper has become a cheap commodity. This has led to a high level of consumption and waste. Worldwide consumption of paper has risen by 400% in the past 40 years, with 35% of harvested trees being used for paper manufacture. 

Paper wastes constitute as much as one-fourth of the solid wastes stream in the Middle East. Infact the percentage of paper wastes in municipal solid waste is around 28 percent in GCC countries like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. These grim statistics are a major wake-up call for all concerned stakeholders to cut down on paper consumption and adopt paper recycling in a big way. High paper consumption and waste generation rate in the Middle East makes it imperative on regional countries to embrace the sustainable waste management strategy involving Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

Why Recycling?

Material recycling process is one of the best ways to protect the environment.  Waste management can be initiated in private households and organizations by minimizing the consumption of electricity, water, food, paper etc. Recycling is processing used materials (waste) into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfilling) by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Use of 3Rs of waste management can also reduce dependence on landfills, protect environment, conserve natural resources and also generate revenues.

Manufacture of Pencils from Paper Wastes

I started this project last year in my college to encourage and motivate students to recycle papers. Like other educational institutions, paper consumption is very high in our college and I devised a simple cost-effective method to transform old papers and magazines into a high-quality quality pencil which can be used at school or at work. The following materials are required to start your paper recycling project.

  • White Glue
  • Lead from any stationary store
  • Old newspapers
  • Pencil for drawing lines
  • Ruler
  • Scissor

Step 1

Use 4 to 5 pages of the newspaper and measure the right size for the lead which is about 18 cm length x 10cm width. You can also draw with the pencil to make sure it fits the right size of the lead.

Step 2

Cut the newspaper following the lines you have drawn and it will look like a rectangle shape.

Step 3

Apply glue at the edge of the rectangle shaped-paper and place the lead to start the rolling process.

Step 4

Carefully roll the paper with lead inside by using glue at fixed intervals.

Step 5

After finishing the rolling process, let it dry for few minutes. Re-start the rolling process with another piece of newspaper until the pencil is of the same size as a regular wood pencil.  Finally, your pencil, which will be same as a normal wooden pencil, is ready for use.

What Can You Do?

Be an active part of your local environmental community by participating and organizing paper recycling campaigns at your school, college or organizations. This also works when you are at home by sending reminders and emails through social networks and building global communities by sharing recycling ideas and activities that people can adapt while they are moving on their daily activities.

Please propagate this environmental message among your friends and co-workers. These 5 simple steps have the potential to make a big impact on the environment. Don’t forget that recycling a ton of paper saves 17 trees and 3.3 cubic yards in landfill space!

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مشكلة رمي النفايات في الأردن

garbage-ammanفي الماضي القريب، كانت عمان تعتبر واحدة من أنظف المدن في العالم,  حالياً، وكما هو الحال في البلدان الأخرى، يشكل رمي النفايات على الأرض في المناطق العامة مشكلة بيئية متزايدة في الأردن, والتي بدورها تشوه المظهر العام للبلاد كما أن لها آثاراً خطيرة على البيئة والإقتصاد والصحة العامة.

"القمامة غير المرئية"

تعتبر ظاهرة الرمي العشوائي للنفايات كارثة وطنية، حيث تنتشر النفايات المختلفة مثل العلب المعدنية والأكياس البلاستيكية وأعقاب السجائر والمحارم وأغلفة الطعام والإطارات القديمة على جوانب الطرق. لتسليط الضوء على المشكلة, قامت كاتبة المقال بدراسة ماسحة في عام 2011، حيث كشفت الدراسة عن المفاهيم الخاطئة لدى العامة لمفهوم "النظافة" في الأماكن العامة مثل شارع الوكالات، حيث أنه بناءً على ردود عينة عشوائية من المارة وبالرغم من تراكم كميات القمامة على جوانب الطريق والتي تملأ أحواض النباتات، إلا أنه تم التغاضي عنها ووصفت المنطقة " بالنظيفة "

أسباب المشكلة وجذورها

لقد أدى تغيير الأنماط السكانية خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية إلى تغيير جذري في كافة أشكال الأنشطة البشرية، والذي بدوره أدى إلى إنتاج كميات متزايدة من النفايات. إن الطبيعة المؤسسية للبلديات، وإنعدام البنية التحتية لإدارة النفايات، وزيادة معدل الفقر، وتدفق اللاجئين، والأهم من ذلك،التغيرات السلوكية لدى المواطنين بسبب قلة الوعي, أسباب أسهمت جميعها في تفاقم مشكلة رمي النفايات. وكما كشفت الدراسة المذكورة سابقاً عن سبب آخر للمشكلة ألا وهو التعريف الخاطئ لـمفهوم "النظافة" في الأماكن العامة .كما أدت الفجوة بين الجوانب النظرية والعملية للمعرفة البيئية إلى عدم ربط الأردنين بين المشاكل البيئية وبين كيفية تأثيرها المباشرعلى حياتهم اليومية، وبالتالي فإنه من غير المرجح أن تكون سلوكياتهم صحيحة بيئياً.

التصورات الإجتماعية لإلقاء القمامة

ينظر الأردنيون إلى رمي النفايات من ناحية أخلاقية وثقافية، حيث يعتبر رمي النفايات دليلاً على الجهل والإهمال وعدم التحضر وعلى أنه حرام في الإسلام .

الحلول العملية المقترحة للقضاء على الظاهرة

هنالك جهود تطوعية جبارة من قبل الأفراد ومنظمات المجتمع المدني تعمل على تنظيم العديد من حملات النظافة وتثقيف المجتمع بهذا الخصوص. يمثل التشجيع على تغيير السلوكيات السلبية تحدياً كبيراً بسبب القضايا الإجتماعية والإقتصادية الملحة مثل الفقر والبطالة. تعتبر المشاركة الشعبية حجر الأساس لحماية الطبيعة, لذلك، فإنه ينبغي لجهود حماية البيئة أن تشتمل على دعم ومشاركة المواطنين والباحثين والبلديات وقطاع الصناعة وغيرها من القطاعات, وذلك لإعطاء حلول عملية للسيطرة على المشكلة. من المهم أن تكون تلك الحلول متناغمة مع خلفيتنا الثقافية وأن تكون مشتقة من تراثنا العريق كما يجب دمجها مع العلم الحديث. وفيما يلي عدد من الحلول العملية المقترحة للمساهمة في الحد من المشكلة:

1. خدمات البنية التحتية في البلديات لإدارة النفايات

لم تكن البنية التحتية لإدارة النفايات في البلديات قادرة على مواكبة الإنفجار السكاني وتدفق اللاجئين, إن وجود بنية تحتية للتخلص المستدام للنفايات ومحطات إعادة التدويرهي شروط أساسية لحل الواقع المرير للمشكلة.

2. الوعي العام والمشاركة الشعبية

لحسن الحظ، فإن وعي الأردنين للقضية آخذ في الإزدياد، لكن للأسف، فإن الإحباط يتسلل لهمة المتطوعين نتيجة ذهاب نتائج عملهم الشاق هباءً منثوراً تحت طبقة جديدة من القمامة الملقاة في الأماكن العامة. وبالتالي، فإنه ينبغي تبني برنامجاً متكاملاً لتغيير السلوك البيئي لدى المواطنين وعلى المستوى الوطني. بالرغم من إدراج الموضوعات البيئية في المناهج الدراسية وتبني وسائل الإعلام للقضية، إلا أنه يوجد فجوة بين الجوانب النظرية والعملية للموضوع,لذلك، يجب أن يتم ربط المحافظة على البيئة في الحياة اليومية، ويجب ترسيخ  مفهوم "النظافة" الصحيح لدى العامة  كما هو متجذر في الثقافة العربية الإسلامية, كما ينبغي إعتماد المزيد من البرامج البيئية في المدارس، فمثلاَ, يضرب برنامج المدارس البيئية والتي تتبناه  JREDS مثالاً يحتذى به, يجب أن يمتد تطبيق هذه البرامج إلى الجامعات، عن طريق إدارج مساق "خدمة المجتمع" كمتطلب إجباري لتخرج الطلبة على أن يشمل هذا المتطلب حملات نظافة للأماكن العامة. ولا يغفل المرء عن الدور الفعال والقيادي الذي يمكن للمساجد أن تقوم به لحل المشكلة.

3. الملكية

يولي الأردنيون عناية كبيرة بكل ما يشعرون أنه ملك لهم, لذلك ينبغي ترسيخ مفهوم ملكية المواطن الأردني للأماكن العامة وأنه ليس ملكاً للحكومة فقط, كما ينبغي أن تعرض فكرة الوطنية والولاء للوطن كمسؤولية المواطن عن البلاد وبيئتها.

4.سن وتفعيل القوانين والتشريعات

في عام 2012، أطلقت أمانة عمان الكبرى حملة ما زالت مستمرة حتى يومنا هذا تهدف إلى الحد من سلوكيات رمي النفايات, وذلك عن طريق فرض غرامات قد تبلغ 20 ديناراً لمخافلة رمي النفايات، ولقد أظهرت الإحصاءات إنخفاضاً ملموساً في عدد الإنتهاكات بنسبة 13% خلال عام واحد فقط (2014-2015)، مما يؤكد على أهمية تنفيذ التشريعات وتفعيلها لإنهاء المشكلة. وبما أن رمي النفايات أرضاً هو سلوك غير قانوني في الأردن، فهنالك حاجة إلى حملة تنشر القوانين التي تحظر رمي القمامة، كما يجب إعتماد نظام المكافئات لمن يقوم بالتنظيف.

تعتبر ظاهرة الرمي العشوائي للنفايات

تعتبر ظاهرة الرمي العشوائي للنفايات

5. بنك مجتمعي لإعادة تدوير

يعتبر تعزيز المشاركة المجتمعية في حل المشاكل البيئية أمر ضروري للتأثير على سلوكيات الأفراد نحو الهدف المنشود.يمكن لمبادرات إعادة التدوير الإستمرارعند تفعيل دور أفراد المجتمع المحلي، كما ينبغي أن تستخدم هذه المشاريع لإدرار الدخل للأسر المشاركة في المبادارات، حيث يكون البدء بفصل المواد القابلة للتدويرعلى مستوى الأسرة، ومن ثم تخزينها في بنك إعادة التدوير المحلي ليتم بيعها لاحقاً لتجار الخردة، وهكذا ستساهم هذه المبادرة في القضاء على النفايات عن طريق تحويلها من عبئ إلى مصدر دخل.

6. مسؤولية أصحاب الأعمال والمصانع

يجب أن تلعب الأعمال التجارية والتي بطبيعتها تولد القمامة بشكل كبير مثل مطاعم الوجبات السريعة دوراً فعالاً في الحد من المشكلة، حيث تحتم عليهم مسؤوليتهم الإجتماعية وإلتزامهم نحو زبائنهم تشجيع التخلص السليم من النفايات المتخلفة عن منتجاتهم من خلال حملات نظافة وتثقيف وحوافز مختلفة. كما ينبغي على المسؤولين إلزام أصحاب العقارات وأصحاب المصانع بالحفاظ على أرضهم خالية من مخلفات البناء والنفايات الصناعية للحفاظ على المظهر العام .

7. إستصلاح النفايات غير الرسمي

إستصلاح النفايات هو جمع وإعادة إستخدام أو بيع النفايات التي كانت ستؤول إلى مكبات النفايات البلدية. إن إنشاء نماذجاً للأعمال والتي تنظم وتتعاون مع تجار الخردة ومستصلحي النفايات، سيساعد بدوره في حل مشكلة النفايات وتوسيع فرص العمل الأردنية.

كلمة أخيرة

في النهاية, يجدر القول أننا في أمس الحاجة للتقنيات المستمدة من تراثنا والمتوافقة مع حضارتنا وهويتنا ومناخ بلادنا ومع معتقداتنا الإسلامية والتي تنص على الحفاظ على علاقة متوازنة مع الطبيعة, وذلك لحل مشاكلنا البيئية وتحقيق المكانة التي نطمح إليها إقليمياً وعالمياً.

المراجع العربية

نوره عبود