Economic development comes with the price of protecting the environment, and that is shared by both developed and developing countries. Whereas it is known that developing countries produce little or no solid waste, the laws that have been designed to control the discharge of industrial waste remains a challenge. Organizations such as World Trade Organization, have created their business operations specifically meant for the Lesser Developed Countries (Al-Qaydi 2006, p.1). This paradigm shift takes the advantage of the available natural resources for these developed countries. To some extent this has forced some developing countries to update their environmental laws, with most of them being neglected by foreign investments. In the quantification of the problems related to the industrialization of lesser developed counties, several treaties have been signed (Al-Qaydi 2006, p.1). Most of them are geared towards management of industrial waste. The 1989 Basel Convention, an example of such treaty, requires that any developing country must have strategies that are dedicated to managing industrial waste. The key is to ensure the administration of any arising legal issues on the matter and create basic infrastructure that supports product recycling. All over the world, people are encouraged to recycle used items as it is the most economical way of handling the problem of solid industrial waste.
UAE has recently become an economic power house on issues to do with tourism and trade as well as industrial development thereby listed as one of the Newly Industrializing Countries in the world (Al-Qaydi 2006, p.1). It is clear that waste disposal is a major hazard. The question is whether Dubai is ready to manage its solid industrial waste that comes from many industries in the country. It is a fact that countries industrialized in the past have already installed advanced technologies, in turn there is a raising concern whether they are doing enough. The concerns are both local and global, but for the LDCs and NICs such as Dubai, the environmental issues may not raise serious concerns since the countries are focused on other issues such as poverty which is not the case for countries like the United States. Such countries have enough time and resources to effectively handle industrial waste management.
As of 2002, there were over two thousand industries concentrated in Dubai contributing to the ranking of UAE as the second nation in terms of waste per capita. The Dubai municipality department of waste manages around five major landfills. The sites are used to handle the waste that comes from nearby sources. They are also provided with any equipment to facilitate processing of such waste. A plan is to ensure that within the next few years the landfills will be relocated to other areas far from residential and agricultural zones. Such landfills are: Al-Qissaiss, Al-Warqqa, Al Awir, Hatta and Jebel Ali landfill (Al-Qaydi 2006, p.2). These landfills were meant to cope with many industries that wanted to place their factories in Dubai. The landfills are designed with technologies in a way that they are highly monitored. Dubai has also gained a global recognition in industrial waste management, by classifying its waste into residential, medical, animal slaughter houses, factories waste, animal waste and construction waste.
Waste from industries is always known to be more hazardous when mishandled. This is why the local authorities implemented a comprehensive solid waste management program since 1992. Due to the increased volume of solid waste, the municipality in its strategic plan opened a recycling facility that is located in Jebel Ali (Al-Qaydi 2006, p.4). This landfill was able to replace the traditional methods of dumping without any preparation. The facility is able to recycle any waste into nonhazardous with the local authorities monitoring the equipment. The equipment meets the international standards in waste management. The Dubai municipality is also a party to conferences that are themed to deal with solid waste management issues.
Arab countries face many solid waste management issues, with most of this waste being municipal solids with a high percentage of organic matter (Tolba Saab, 2008). Whereas some countries have advanced solid waste management systems, other are faced with issues including absence of solid waste management policies coupled with minimal resources for this sector (Tolba Saab 2008, p.111). Some are still handling the lack of surveys and statistics on hazardous waste materials. In countries like Sudan, there is not much legislation and political enthusiasm to enforce such laws. In some cases technical infrastructures in countries like Egypt do not permit the existence of such systems (Tolba Saab, 2008, p.120). Some are limited in financial resources also facing low level of awareness and participation of non-governmental organizations in the sphere solid waste management (Tolba Saab 2008, p.120).
So as to establish whether a country has a serious plan in waste management, various environmental indicators are used. The most commonly used factor is Greenhouse gas emission. This is the recently most used parameter determined by tracking the air and the GHGs situation of a particular country. The second factor is energy use mix and renewable energy applications. Countries that emphasize the use of renewable energy are by far more compliant to waste management systems. The existence of hazardous and nonhazardous waste statistics implies the possibility that these countries are striving to ensure that the waste is handled effectively. A country’s waste management system is typically measured by the amount of such waste in the air, water and soil.
Al-Qaydi, S 2006, ‘Industrial solid waste disposal in Dubai, UAE: A study in economic geography’, Cities, vol. 23, no. 2, pp.140-148.
Tolba, M.K. and Saab, N 2008, Arab environment: Future challenges, Arab Forum for Environment and Development, Web.