Saudi Arabia’s war on waste: New refuse management system to handle 106 million tons by 2035

Saudi Arabia’s war on waste: New refuse management system to handle 106 million tons by 2035

RIYADH (RAHNUMA): As rapid industrialization, high population growth and fast urbanization has led to increasing waste and pollution, waste management has become an essential need for Saudi Arabia, where more than 106 million tons of waste are expected to be treated by 2035.

While maintaining responsibility toward its people and environment, Saudi Arabia has taken serious measures to improve recycling and waste management in the country, which is home to more than 34 million people.

The Saudi Cabinet recently approved a waste management system that will contribute to unifying the regulatory and legislative framework in the Kingdom. Details about the system will be announced in less than two months as it will also reveal if certain waste management fees will be imposed on the public.

Speaking to Arab News, Abdullah Faisal Al-Sibai, CEO of MWAN, the National Center for Waste Management, said that their vision stems from the Saudi Vision 2030 in protecting and preserving the environment in general along with the improvement of waste management.

“The Saudi Vision 2030 emphasizes working on reducing pollution by raising the efficiency of waste management and diminishing all kinds of pollution,” he said. “For that reason, we are establishing an integrated project for waste recycling.”

Al-Sibai also said the waste management sector would annually contribute an estimated amount of nearly SR120 billion ($32 billion) to the national gross domestic product by 2035.

“The waste management sector is expected to generate 77,000 job opportunities by the same year,” he said.

Stimulating investment and maximizing the participation of the private sector is one of the center’s strategic objectives, Al-Sibai said, while also enhancing the sector’s economic sustainability.

The environmental degradation caused by solid waste in 2021 was estimated at $1.3 billion, the CEO said.

“Saudi Arabia produces about 53 million tons of waste every year, and such quantity can surely increase soil pollution and contamination of groundwater,” Al-Sibai said. “That is in addition to its effect on wildlife and the environment of the country’s seawater and coasts.”

Highlighting the quantity of waste that can be recycled and the optimal ways to dispense with the waste that cannot be recycled, Al-Sibai said that the center is working toward its goal of recycling 35 percent of all types of waste by 2035.

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