The UAE has one of the highest waste generation rates, with each person in the country estimated to produce from 1.9kg to 2.5kg of waste everyday. This is a high output that has a direct impact on waste management policies and the eventual outcome for the country’s environmental goals. One of the measures announced last week — the levy of fees on the waste generated by commercial establishments, factories, private and public institutions as well as residential communities and freehold properties belonging to developers that are served by private waste collection companies — is a step in the right direction.

The decision by Dubai Municipality to impose fees will have a direct bearing on the eventual reduction of waste as the stakeholders paying the fees will come to realise that the more waste they generate, the higher fees they pay. This will hopefully encourage them to review their habits and lead a less wasteful lifestyle. In 2016, for example, Dubai generated 8,200 tonnes of solid municipal waste per day. This places a huge burden on the authorities to dispose of it, using the right eco-friendly methods. In fact, these figures are reflective of the role each resident plays in creating this predicament to begin with.

The new move, including the civic body’s investment on recycling services and working on waste-to-energy plant, which is expected to start operation in the second quarter of 2020, will yield the desired results as Dubai moves towards its target of reducing 75 per cent of waste going to landfills by 2021. This is not the Dubai Municipality’s target alone — every resident needs to consider it as his or her target as well.