How Qatar Invest Garbage
Posted on June 19th, 2017

Dr. Chandana Jayalath

Officials always say that new projects are in the pipeline, or long-term plans are waitlisted. Neither kicks off. Municipalities continue dumping nearly 800 tonnes of garbage in Colombo itself. Piles are only mounted daily, some thousand residents are paying the price. Politicians, past and present, point finger each other. Piles of garbage stand unattended around street corners and shopping zones, choking the areas with the odor of perishing food waste and persistent plastic. Residents erupt in protest. The question is where do we dump the city’s waste? Let us see what is happening some 3000 miles away?

Municipal solid waste management is one of the most serious challenges faced by any nation obviously on account of high population growth rate, urbanization, industrial growth and economic expansion. This is not therefore an exception to Sri Lanka. Qatar is among the countries having the highest per capita waste generation rates which is as high as 1.8 kg per day. Qatar produces more than 2.5 million tons of municipal solid waste each year. Various researches reveal that solid waste stream is mainly comprised of organic materials (around 60 percent) while the rest of the waste steam is made up of recyclables like glass, paper, metals and plastics.

Similar to Sri Lanka, municipalities are responsible for solid waste collection in Qatar both directly, using their own logistics, and indirectly through private sector contracts. Waste collection and transport is carried out by a large fleet of trucks that collect garbage from thousands of collection points scattered across the country. As usual, the predominant method of solid waste disposal is landfilling. The collected is discharged at various transfer stations from where it is sent to the landfill. There are three landfills in Qatar; Umm Al-Afai for bulky and domestic waste, Rawda Rashed for construction and demolition waste, and Al-Krana for sewage wastes. However, this has been found to be impractical wherever the land availability is limited.

According to Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016, the country will adopt a multi-faceted strategy to contain the levels of waste generated by households, commercial sites and industry – and to promote recycling initiatives. To my understanding, this has been achieved. Qatar adopt integrated waste hierarchy of prevention, reduction, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and as a last option, landfill disposal.

A comprehensive solid waste management plan is being implemented to coordinate responsibilities, activities and planning for managing wastes from households, industry and commercial establishments, and more importantly, the construction industry. The target is to recycle 38 percent of solid waste, up from the current 8 percent, and reduce domestic per capita waste generation. Five waste transfer stations have been setup in South Doha, West Doha, Industrial Area, Dukhan and Al-Khor to reduce the quantity of waste going to Umm Al-Afai landfill. These transfer stations are equipped with material recovery facility for separating recyclables such as glass, paper, aluminium and plastic.

In this respect, one of the most promising developments has been the creation of Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre (DSWMC) at Mesaieed. This centre is designed to maximize recovery of resources and energy from waste by installing state-of-the-art technologies for separation, pre-processing, mechanical and organic recycling, and waste-to-energy and composting technologies. It will treat 1550 tons of waste per day, and is expected to generate enough power for in-house requirements, and supply a surplus of 34.4 MW to the national grid. We need only one third of the foregoing.

Meanwhile, Qatar enforce strict waste management legislation and create mass awareness about 4Rs of waste management viz. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recovery. Legislations are necessary to ensure compliance, failure of which will attract a penalty with spot checks by the Government body entrusted with its implementation. Qatar is a country that Sharia law principles are adhered to. Citizens play by efficacy a vital role in improving waste management initiatives in Qatar by helping to reduce garbage generation.

One of the laudable ongoing garbage projects is the waste transfer station project located at Al Khor, the suburban of Doha. The project is a state-of-the-art domestic solid waste management facility, comprising of an automated sorting system, with all necessary equipment and machinery for the separation and sorting of the mixed domestic waste, in addition to other functional facilities such as weighing house, weighing equipment, load and reload centre. The project is operated on the basis of design, construct and deliver the whole project within 550 days plus 400 days defects liability. It is a popular Build Own Operate modality where the contractor carries out the sketch design, preliminary design, and finally the detailed design based on the frame conditions described in the Tender Document, build the facility, supply and install the equipment, test and commission, maintain for a define period in future and turn the key back to the relevant municipality.  One of the Sri Lanka firms of quantity surveying has been engaged in cost consultancy.

Promer Qatar has chosen TOMRA Sorting as one of the main technology suppliers to a brand new state-of-the-art garbage plant in Al Khor. As the second large-scale garbage project in the country, it will process up to 1,500 tons of mixed garbage per day on two lines. The plant represents a total investment of 150 million QAR.  Beware, we need only one third of this capacity, and I am pretty sure, we can solicit a technically competent foreign contractor via competitive bids entertaining the best value for money. Promer Qatar, part of Promer, one of Turkey’s leading construction companies, was established in June 2006 and has since delivered a number of large-scale construction projects throughout Qatar. The plant has been designed with the very latest in sensor based sorting technology for optimal recovery of valuable waste materials.

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