Solid Waste Management in Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago of around 33 islands, the largest being the Bahrain Island. The population of Bahrain is around 1.2 million marked by population density of 900 persons per km2, which is the highest in the entire GCC region. The country has the distinction of being one of the highest per capita waste generators worldwide which is estimated at 1.67 – 1.80 kg per person per day. Infact, Bahrain produces largest amount of waste per person among GCC countries despite being the smallest nation in the region. Rising population, high waste generation growth rate, limited land availability and scarcity of waste disposal sites has made solid waste management a highly challenging task for Bahrain’s policy-makers, urban planners and municipalities.

Solid Wastes in Bahrain

Bahrain generates more than 1.2 million tons of solid wastes every year. Daily garbage production across the tiny Gulf nation exceeds 4,500 tons. Municipal solid waste is characterized by high percentage of organic material (around 60 percent) which is mainly composed of food wastes. Presence of high percent of recyclables in the form of paper (13 percent), plastics (7 percent) and glass (4 percent) makes Bahraini MSW a good recycling feedstock, though Informal sectors are currently responsible for collection of collection of recyclables and recycling activities

The Kingdom of Bahrain is divided into five governorates namely Manama, Muharraq, Middle, Southern and Northern. Waste collection and disposal operation in Bahrain is managed by a couple of private contractors. Gulf City Cleaning Company is active in Muharraq and Manama while Sphinx Services is responsible for Southern, Middle, and Northern Areas. The prevalent solid waste management scenario is to collect solid waste and dump it at the municipal landfill site at Askar.

Askar Landfill

Askar, the only existing landfill/dumpsite in Bahrain, caters to municipal wastes, agricultural wastes and non-hazardous industrial wastes. Spread over an area of more than 700 acres, the landfill is expected to reach its capacity within the next few years. The proximity of Askar landfill to urban habitats has been a cause of major environmental concern. Waste accumulation is increasing at a rapid pace which is bound to have serious impacts on air, soil and groundwater quality in the surrounding areas.

Askar Waste-to-Energy Project

The Askar Waste to Energy Project is a pioneering Public-Private Partnership venture and will be based on Build-Operate-Transfer model. The USD480 million waste incineration facility will treat 390,000 tons of solid wastes per year thereby generating 25MW of power which will be fed into the national grid. The project is expected to increase the life span of Askar landfill which is filling up rapidly and would reach its capacity by 2016. The project, expected to commence operations in 2013, will also ease solid waste management situation in the capital city Manama and provide an alternative means for power production in the country.


The Kingdom of Bahrain is grappling with waste management problems arising out of high population growth rate, rapid industrialization, high per capita waste generation, unorganized SWM sector, limited land resources and poor public awareness. The government is trying hard to improve waste management scenario by launching recycling initiatives, waste-to-energy project and public awareness campaign. However more efforts, in the form of effective legislations, large-scale investments, modern SWM technology deployment and environmental awareness, are required from all stake holders to implement a sustainable waste management system in Bahrain.  

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About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is a renowned consultant, advisor, entrepreneur and writer with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. He is the Founder of EcoMENA, in addition to being the CEO of consultancy firm BioEnergy Consult. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is a professional writer and is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability. He can be reached at or
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4 Responses to Solid Waste Management in Bahrain

  1. Pingback: Solid Waste Management in Bahrain « Cleantech Solutions

  2. We should only seek sustainable solutions. Someone wrote that the highly developed cultures that existed before us has disappeared because of the inability to manage waste. How do you and your colleagues describe sustainable systems for the WTE? My suggestions for the assessment of sustainability are based on how different systems affect the living. Available at Comparison between Present and Future Waste Management

  3. Pingback: Solid Waste Management in Bahrain | Solid waste in the Gulf countries

  4. James franco says:

    a low air emissions trash to power plant that maintains air, land and water quality is a very acceptable solution – the issue is always economics – a tipping fee in the order of USD 90 to 130 is typically required as the cost of power is insufficient to pay for capex, opex and profit margin needed by the owner, operator of the incineration facility.

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