Abu Dhabi: Incentives will be given to residents of Abu Dhabi emirate for joining a comprehensive recycling scheme, launched by the Centre of Waste Management (CWM) on Monday.

The scheme aims to increase awareness on minimising waste and making recycling a daily habit.

While those who actively reduce waste and take part in the recycling process will benefit from the incentives, penalties may be imposed on those who stay away from it after regulations are put in place. However, this proposal is pending approval.

The recycling scheme is a preliminary step, and will be implemented in phases. The scheme involves distribution of two garbage bins — a green bin for recyclables and a black bin for waste, to each household. Sorted trash would then be collected by private companies contracted by the centre to do the job.

To enable residents in flats to recycle, a new procedure for waste disposal will be announced shortly, as the dual sort system is not practical for each flat in each building.

"We are launching an eco-friendly recycling scheme, the first of its kind in the region, to help make our city a greener place. Its success depends on the participation of each member of the public and our aim is to create awareness to ensure maximum cooperation," said Majid Al Mansouri, who heads the CWM.

In Focus: Wipe Out Waste

"We are kick starting the scheme in three areas — Khalidiya, Bein Al Jisrein and Officers city. Over a period of one year, the scheme will be rolled out to cover the entire city," he stated.

The objective of the scheme is to reduce landfill disposal and maximise resource recovery, Al Mansouri said, calling on all residents to embrace the scheme for a greener city. In the next few weeks, the scheme will be extended to Al Ain and then Al Gharbia.

The UAE's capital ranks high among the cities which produce the highest level of waste in the world. On an average, every resident in Abu Dhabi generates about 4.2 kilogrammes of garbage per day. This was found out by a recent study conducted by CWM appointed consultants.

Urgent attention

Meanwhile, the average per capita waste generated daily by residents in developed countries is roughly 1.54 kilogrammes. Every single day, about 1,500 tonnes of municipal waste and about 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes of construction waste ends up in landfills, posing a major threat to the environment: "The [waste] situation clearly needs urgent attention and practical solutions," Al Mansouri told Gulf News.

An army of trained volunteers went door to door on Monday explaining the importance of recycling, the way to do it and the objectives of the scheme. Illustrative brochures with guidelines on sorting were also distributed.

In 2007-2008, the emirate produced 5.9 million tonnes of waste. Most of it ended up in landfills and dump sites, where biodegradable waste generated a large amount of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.