The Middle East Cleaning Technology Week (MECTW) introduced a whole new platform for knowledge sharing – a conference on sustainable waste management in the Middle East. Middle Eastern countries are amongst the highest per capita waste producers in the world, as recent figures indicate. Ninety-five million tonnes of waste was generated in the GCC region in 2015 and this is expected to reach 120 million tonnes by 2020. One cannot emphasise enough the need for sustainable strategies and solutions to deal with the region’s growing environmental requirements.
It was in this context that the inaugural edition of the Sustainable Waste Management Middle East Conference was held on November 7, 2017. The forum focused on the key theme of ‘Sustainability’ and brought together prominent local and international professionals in the waste management industry. Government and private sector experts, and other stakeholders discussed the latest trends, emerging topics and lead interactive sessions on waste management and the significance of recycling in effectively closing the loop.
In the opening session, senior experts from various municipalities touched upon major issues involved in waste management and shared their master plans and steps they are taking for effective diversion including the projects, awareness initiatives and strategies for improvement in this area. The panelists were: Eng. Naji Al Radhi, Waste Management & Treatment Expert, Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality; Ahmed Al-Sabahi, Head of Municipal Solid Waste Planning, Be’ah, Oman; and Sonia Nasser, Executive Director, Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency. This was followed by a presentation by Nadia Ibrahim, Waste Management Consultant at Farnek, which touched upon various issues and solutions related to sustainable waste management in the hospitality sector.
In the session that focused on smart waste management strategies for the residential and commercial sectors, a panel of experts including Andrea Deutschbein, Director FM-Soft Services, The Dubai Mall; Jules Adem, Commercial Manager, Suez Middle East Recycling; S. Madhumohan, Director of Waste Management, Dulsco; and Khalid Issa, Head of Business Development and Sales, Bee’ah, provided interesting insights into the current status, key issues and trends in residential and commercial waste management. The panelists discussed the main problems in the region including infrastructure, financial concerns, awareness issues, and the plans and strategies best suited for waste diversion and improved resource efficiency in these sectors.
Ahmed Al-Sabahi, Head of Municipal Solid Waste Planning at Be’ah, Oman gave a presentation on the practices in managing healthcare waste in Oman. He examined the key topics related to healthcare operations including current procedures, public health, occupational and environmental issues, as well as technology for the treatment of healthcare waste.
The final session on food waste management in the hotel and catering industry saw a healthy discussion on strategies to reduce and divert food waste in the sector. The panelists included Christiane Zeidan, Corporate Director of Environment, Health and Safety Rotana Hotel Management Corporation; Sheeba Tharayil, Quality and Sustainable Development Manager, Accor Middle East; Ranji Koshy, C&S Controller, HSEQ Dept., Etihad Airport Services; Rafael Lopez, Regional General Manager-GCC, Blue; Mateo Dugand, Energy & Landfill Engineer, Ras Al Khaimah Waste Management Agency; and Raja Narayanasamy, Cluster Chief Steward, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island / DoubleTree by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah.