With representation from a broad range of companies, SWIG brings together environmental experts and the broader public in a programme of national dialogue to deliver solutions for solid waste management and help create efficient and effective public policy.
Alex Amato, chairman of the research and innovation committee at QGBC, commented: “Irreparable environmental damage is one of the consequences of ineffective solid waste policies, associated with unsustainable construction techniques. One of QGBC-SWIG’s aims is to help companies formulate and implement comprehensive solid waste management strategies through collaborative research, education and practical action.”
Following an integrated dog-walk and beach cleanup effort covering a 0.5sq km mangrove area at Al Wakrah recently, QGBC-SWIG member Ronnie Anderson, business development and Qatar branch manager AMEC Black Cat, presented the findings of an analysis of the solid waste collected at the cleanup, reporting that the majority came from the built environment.
Through this effort, more than 2,400kg of waste was collected, consisting of 27% industrial waste and 51% construction waste. The waste also contained extremely hazardous materials such as used engine oil, car batteries, spent gun cartridges, tyres and a corroded canister containing phosphorous.
In her presentation, Sarah Clarke, co-ordinator at QGBC-SWIG, said that Qatar generates more than 7,000 tonnes of solid waste each day, of which approximately 30% is domestic and 70% commercial, construction and industrial waste. The majority of this waste comes directly or indirectly from the built environment and ends up in landfills due to a lack of disposal facilities that can segregate and recycle waste.
One initiative that Clarke would like to see implemented is for the government to impose a tax or fee on the use of landfills to encourage companies to find innovative solutions for dealing with their waste. She said that Abu Dhabi recently implemented a similar policy, which is in keeping with a well established landfill tax in Europe.
In the meantime, SWIG will be conducting a recycling and waste management mapping exercise to determine what companies are doing with their waste and what they can do. They will also be conducting a feasibility study for a materials exchange programme, which will see companies exchange and reuse waste materials when possible. SWIG will be supporting an art initiative to use waste as a creative medium to get young people thinking creatively about waste, as well as creating an award for responsible contractors.
The official induction ceremony of the interest group was ushered in with presentations on local success stories in the solid waste management frontier.
Alexander Jovcic, waste management co-ordinator, Qatar Shell GTL Plant, spoke about initiatives on the subject at the facility in Ras Laffan Industrial City, where employees from many countries and backgrounds are receiving training on proper recycling practices. He said that the lack of proper incineration facilities, and the fact that the law prohibits the incineration of some hazardous materials as well as the export of waste to other Gulf states, means that some waste must be sent all the way to Europe for proper disposal.
Enrico Balugani, technical manager at Qatar Plastic Products, shared plastic production techniques designed to reduce waste to near zero, and presented some new reusable materials made from waste products.
Abdulrahman Khalil Jawhari, vice president, special projects at The Pearl-Qatar, spoke about the state-of-the-art technology used on the island to dispose of solid waste safely and other recycling initiatives.
Aside from SWIG, the QGBC education committee chaired by Mohamed Jaber, head of electrical engineering, KEO, is driving sustainability programmes industry-wide through training initiatives including a leadership in energy and environmental design training workshop on December 12-14 and a Qatar Sustainability Assessment System (QSAS) workshop from January 23-25
The Green Infrastructure Interest Group is also set to be launched this January.