Waste Awareness in Qatar: A Survey

recycling-qatarWaste awareness in Qatar has gained traction in recent years, but more efforts are required to make the masses aware about the consequences of reckless waste generation and disposal, and how sustainable living practices and recycling can help in making Qatar a truly sustainable nation. Below is the outcome of an interesting survey on waste awareness which was conducted among Qataris and non-Qataris (expatriates).

Plastic is the most common waste generated in a typical household in Qatar. One-third of overall respondents say that of all products, the volume of the plastic waste generated is higher, followed by food waste (19%) and paper (12%). Metal, electronic waste and glass are the least amounts of waste generated in Qatar.

Overall, half of the surveyed people recycle either at home (11%), work (16%) or both (23%). Another half never recycled. Women are more likely to recycle than men. However, the different is not significant (57% vs 48%). There is a sizeable difference between Qataris and non-Qataris. Non-Qataris are particularly more likely to recycle compared to non-Qataris (51% versus 38%). Women recycle more than men.

A clear majority (71%) of Qatari men do not recycle compared to 58% of Qatari women. Low-income non-Qataris are more likely to recycle than higher-income groups. Younger non-Qataris of age group 25-25 are least likely to recycle (80% reported they do not recycle). This shows that the attitude may not necessarily reflect in behavior.

Public’s response to recycling in Qatar

A vast majority (82%) of public say there are not enough recycling facilities close to their home or office and another one-in-ten say it is too time consuming. Roughly three-fourths (72%) of Qataris claim there are not enough recycling facilities and 13% recycling is time consuming.

There is a prominent generational divide. Young Qatari adults, 17-24, say a little over half say there are not enough recycling facilities, 14% of young adults say recycling takes too much time, and an equal share lack of faith in the facilities.

Whereas the response for other age group is not so divided; 93% of Qataris of age group 36-50 said there were not enough recycling facilities. Majority (90%) of public earning more than QAR 20,000 complain that recycling facilities are insufficient.

Public’s response to factors that can encourage recycling in Qatar

The survey asked public’s opinion about having segregated recycling bins in public places. There was an overwhelmingly positive opinion of having segregated recycling bins. A sizeable minority (45%) of public say it makes recycling easier, 42% say it promotes awareness. Only 13% of public remained skeptical; people do not care and will put everything in one bin and a waste of money.

Both men and women are optimistic about recycling bins in public places. Roughly half of women and 44% of men claim that segregated recycling bins in places makes recycling easier and promotes awareness. A fewer than 10% of men and women are pessimistic about this idea. An overwhelming number (87%) of Qataris strongly support this idea claiming it will help in promoting awareness and facilitating recycling.

Overall, people are willing to take simpler actions to avoid household waste. Eighty percent of public say they would buy exactly what is required (be it food and other products), 10% said avoiding over-packaged goods, and 6% report donate/sell items for reuse.

Only a 3% of public say they would make an effort to get broken appliances and other items repaired before buying new ones. Even the younger people among Qataris and non-Qataris prefer easy option – buying exactly what is required. Income does not influence people to mend their appliances and reuse them.

About Sayeed Mohammed

Sayeed Mohammed is currently working as Research Associate at Qatar Environment & Energy Research Insititute (QEERI). He is also pursuing his PhD from the Queensland University of Technology on Political Economy of Low Carbon Transition in Qatar. His research interest includes integrated water resources management, environmental politics, and policy. Sayeed was the background author of 4th Human Development Report of Qatar, also part of environmental youth group based in Qatar. He is also running his own environmental think-tank in India known as Progressive Vellore.
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One Response to Waste Awareness in Qatar: A Survey

  1. Rakeeb Mohamed Sarifdeeen says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thanks for sharing this useful information.

    I am also living in Qatar where I could not witness an improved recycling system. Mixed waste collection and transportation is common in Qatar. Waste collection bins are placed at every household where no source segregation is done for reuse or recycling.

    Segregation and collection of cartons takes place almost in all super markets and hypermarkets. Large quantity of plastic and aluminum cans are going to the landfill along with food waste.

    Action on awareness in all sectors is very much needed to improve the quality of waste management (reduction, reuse, recycling) in Qatar.

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