Why we must talk about sustainability in UAE?

I would like to start by sharing some facts with you. According to UAE carbon reports average person in UAE generates around 2,7 kg (5,4 kg during Ramadan) of waste every day. Just to understand how big is this number, let me tell you that the average in Europe is around 1,2kg per day. In 2015 UAE collected 6 million tonnes of municipal waste. Out of which only 1,5 million tonnes was recovered. Which means that 75% municipal waste ended up in landfills. UAE consumes 1,5 million plastic bags annually. 24% of  UAE waste is plastic,  3% is textile, 0,5% is leather, and most interestingly 38%  of it is food that is being wasted.

As I live in Dubai, I would like to tackle more the situation in this city :


3rd quarter statistics in Dubai according to Dubai statistics center:


Category Treatment method Quantity
Final disposal Recovery
Incineration Landfill Composting Recycling
Domestic 0 685138 0 145788 830926
Horticulture 0 34797 453 0 35250
Construction & Demolition 0 3920183 0 0 3920183
Sludge 0 49485 0 0 49485
Total 0 4689603 453 145788 4835844


As we can see the highest number of waste is from the constructions and demolitions which is not surprising in a growing city like Dubai. The number of people keep on increasing. In 2014 there 2.3 million people, in 2016 estimated number was almost 2,7 million. That affects the increasing domestic waste.

I believe number talk by themselves and I don’t need to convince you that there is huge room for the improvement. UAE government is aware of the issue and is taking actions to address it. The ox-biodegradable plastic bags have been compulsory from 2013 and replaced the regular plastic bags, there are such recycling companies like Dulsco, Bee’ah, GreenEmirates and others. But unfortunately as a UAE citizen for last 5 years I must say that it is not enough, the recycling trash bins are not accessible in many areas, and people are still lacking the culture in this matter. My own experience did show that it is very easy to lose your awareness in the comfortable lifestyle, that’s why I believe the outside encouragement and information  sharing is vital in this case. We must help people make the right decision, or at least do not encourage the environmentally destructive choices.

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