Abu Dhabi: About 300,000 tonnes of farm waste annually will be turned into compost fertilisers according to a project launched by the Centre of Waste Management (CWM) in Abu Dhabi.

The plan is to convert most organic waste from farms into compost that will help improve agriculture, said a senior official from the centre.

To encourage farmers to send their organic waste to compost factories in the emirate, the centre has announced several measures. It will conduct awareness programmes among farmers and provide them certain exemptions in fees and mandatory requirements for waste handling, officials said.

Announcing the initiative at a press conference yesterday, Dr Salem Al Ka’abi, Deputy Director of the CWM, said four factories in the emirate are converting the organic waste into compost already.

“The centre will encourage farm owners to segregate organic waste from inorganic waste so that they can send them to compost factories,” said Dr Al Ka’abi.

It is estimated that farms in the emirate of Abu Dhabi produced 295,000 tonnes of waste last year. The figure is growing annually.

As per a CWM regulation, all waste transportation vehicles in the emirate must install tracking devices. Farm owners are given exemptions so that they don’t need to spend money on the devices.

Coupon fees at the entry point to landfills will also be waived for the owners. The decision was recently issued by the Board of Directors of the centre.

According to the announcement, pick-up vehicles of farm owners will require to get permits at the gates of landfills that document the number of trips and type of waste that such vehicles carry, as well as the location of the site at which the waste was produced. This exemption does not include the transportation of hazardous farm waste such as pesticides, asbestos, oil and lubricant containers.

However, the decision stipulates that farm owners must meet the centre’s rules regarding appropriate handling and transportation of waste, which must be disposed of in sites approved by the centre. In the event of any violation, a farm owner is liable for sanctions while the exemptions could also be cancelled.

Al Ka’abi said the new decision will support farm owners and encourage agriculture and livestock production, apart from restraining illegal waste dumping in Abu Dhabi.

The centre’s awareness campaign will also educate them on the negative impact of illegal waste dumping on the environment, he said.

Established in 2008, the CWM is responsible for developing sustainable and integrated waste management practices in the emirate. It coordinates policy, strategy and contractual systems of waste management across Abu Dhabi.