Mounting waste spurs review of Target 555

DUBAI - Dubai Municipality is reviewing its plan on the Target 555 campaign, a community waste minimisation programme that was officially launched in 1997, to determine the kind of redesigning and reshuffling it will require, Qassim Sultan, Director-General of the civic body, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview recently.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 7 Feb 2004, 12:06 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 1:36 PM

"We are reviewing our plans on the waste minimisation programme. Maybe our estimate was not correct," Mr Sultan said replying to a question, and added that it would require a much better response from the members of the general public. The staggering increase in waste generation in Dubai over the years is attributed to a steady growth in population and rapid economic development coupled with the consumerist attitude that is prevalent and widespread in the emirate today.

The population in the emirate has risen steadily over the last few years, and according to the figures available it stood at 805,000 in 1998, reached 857,000 in 1999, was about 862,000 in 2000, and today stands just above a million. The amount of general waste generated has naturally risen with this increasing population.

When the municipality started the Target 555 programme, with a view to bringing down annual waste generation to 555kg of waste per person by the end of 2001, the general waste generation in Dubai was well over 600kg per person per year. Figures show that it continued to rise steadily, from 753kg in 1998 to 779 in 1999, 941kg for 2000-2001, and well over 1.1 tonnes during 2002-2003.

"There is a lot of wastage. I am amazed how foreigners are affected when they come to Dubai, they become like the residents here (in that their habits change causing increased waste generation)," Mr Sultan said.

According to an official at the municipality some vital points are not considered when the issue is discussed. "One has to keep in mind the fact that Dubai is a city where major events which involve a lot of people flying in from abroad, keep happening around the year. Consider events like Dubai 2003 (the IMF-WB meetings), Dubai Shopping Festival and the Dubai Summer Surprise, and you realise that a considerable percentage of the waste generated has its origins here," the official noted.

He admitted that the generation of waste in the emirate was exceptionally high, but added that the civic body has continued, albeit in varying quantities, to recycle paper, plastic, oil wastes and other products. "And it is unfair to lump the entire domestic waste generated into the account of the residents," he commented.

The volume of waste generated in Dubai makes it one of the highest per capita waste generation city in the world, with a waste production that is much higher than the standard 550kg of the European Union's Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

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