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Bahrain ‘running out of waste space’

Manama, October 9, 2011

Bahrain is quickly running out of space to dump its household garbage and industrial waste and must find better ways of making use of it, an expert has warned.

The problem is replicated in other countries, but could lead to a major crisis if no solutions are found, said First Bahrain Waste Management Forum and Exhibition chairman Nisbet Smith.

The issue and other pressing topics in the field of recycling and waste management will be discussed during next month's event, at the Gulf Hotel's Gulf International Convention Centre.

More than 300 industry professionals from the GCC, Middle East and North Africa region and around the globe are expected to take part in presentations and workshops.

Being staged on November 14 and 15, the forum will take place with the theme Towards Zero Waste.

It is being organised by Bahrain Polytechnic and will be held under the patronage of Municipalities and Urban Planning Affairs Minister Juma Al Ka'abi.

The United Nations Environment Programme, Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife and Tamkeen are supporting the event.

The Gulf City Cleaning Company has also signed up as a platinum sponsor.

"While a lot can be done, we have to attempt to change the way humans think, and that will make a difference," said Smith.

He said although landfills have been used to dump garbage for years, pressure on space is increasing all the time and there would soon be a time when there will be no space left.

"In any case, landfills are no longer considered the most viable way to dispose garbage because this leak into the sea and nowhere is this more applicable than in Bahrain," said Smith, who is also Bahrain Polytechnic's professional development director.

He said for island nations waste management was of major environmental concern that had to be addressed and managed.

"Environmental management and development projects need to be aligned to achieve conservation of nature and sustainability," said Smith. "Such projects are more challenging, more critical, more sensitive and more constrained compared with projects undertaken by continental nations."

Smith said Bahrain was challenged by its own unique characteristics. "First, it has the geographical isolation factors and limitation of available land and this is exacerbated by the very high population density, especially in Manama," he said.

The expert explained the fact that natural water resources were relatively close to the surface of the land limited development above and below the ground.

This, combined with majority of the island having to be serviced by air and sea freight carriers, also restricted the range of options for waste management.

Smith said waste management initiatives needed to embrace suppliers, manufacturers and industrial producers as well as consumers.

"This conference will inform the stakeholders of more feasible opportunities of waste management and resource recovery and consequently the economic gains and environmental benefits," he added. "It will further enhance Bahrain's capacity for waste management aimed to achieve zero waste."

Bahrain Polytechnic chief executive officer John Scott said the forum was happening at a key time.

"Economic growth must never come at the expense of the environment and the long-term well-being of our people," he said. "No effort will be spared to protect our environment and preserve our cultural heritage." – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | Manama | Garbage disposal | Household waste | Waste Management Forum |

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