The UAE’s Federal National Council (FNC) has passed a bill punishing illegal waste disposal as the country seeks to rectify its status as one of the world’s highest waste producers per capita.
The new law covers all processes of waste management from production to classification, collection, transport, storage, recycling, treatment and disposal.
Its provisions include a punishment of Dhs1m ($272,235) for any private entity found to dispose of, landfill or burn waste in undesignated areas including open areas, roads, public parks and water channels.
FNC speaker Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi said the bill was “an unprecedented federal legal framework to deal with challenges posed by the issue of wastes management, which is closely related to the issues of environment protection and public health”.
She added: “It is a turning point in environment management in UAE.”
The average person in the UAE generates 2.7kg of waste per day compared to 1.2kg in Europe, Dubai Carbon CEO Ivano Ianelli said in 2016. Waste generation by person almost doubles to 5.4kg per day during Ramadan, according to the official.
Dubai has recently been pushing ahead with plans to convert more waste into energy.
The emirate announced new waste disposal fees in February and awarded a contract for the world’s largest waste-to-energy plant the previous month.
The $680.6m plant aims to treat 1.82 million tonnes of sold waste a year, allowing it to generate enough power for 120,000 homes or 2 per cent of Dubai’s annual electricity consumption, according to Dubai Municipality.
The authority plans to use in-house technology to treat waste and sort it using artificial intelligence under a goal to move 100 per cent of waste away from landfills by 2030.
The initiative, unveiled last month, will include the development of a decentralised waste-treatment units for buildings and residential districts that will raise the temperature of waste to break down its chemical components and produce clean energy.
The system will also produce 17,500 tonnes of good ash for the production of green concrete that could be used by local developers as early as this year.