Abu Dhabi: Waste does not have to be an environmental burden – it can be a resource to power homes and businesses, says Dr Salem Khalfan Al Kaabi, Acting Director-General of Abu Dhabi Waste Management Centre (Tadweer).
Dr Al Kaabi should know – he has overseen the waste-to-energy power plant project, in cooperation with the Water and Electricity Company, in Abu Dhabi.
“The plant will help turn household waste into electrical energy. This project directly reflects my own ambition to develop innovative projects and solutions in the field of waste management and to support advancing the circular economy in the UAE,” he told Gulf News in an interview.
“I also support building the Centre’s key partnerships to ensure proper waste management and transform waste into an economic resource. At Tadweer, we are keen on leveraging environmentally friendly, technology advanced solutions across all our projects and services, and we continue to launch innovative initiatives in line with the best global practices.”
Separate recycling centres
One of the main facilities of Tadweer is the plastic recycling plant, located in the city of Al Ain. It is considered the largest recycling plant for plastic containers in the UAE. The plant was developed in cooperation with the Emirates Environmental Technology Co. Ltd.
The Centre also supervises a factory that recycles motor oil, which is managed by DureOil Middle East Foundation in Abu Dhabi with a capacity of 2,750 liters per day.
“We also treat construction and demolition waste, as well as used tires, to ensure the protection of environment using sophisticated technology [as well as] agricultural residues and organic waste coming from waste treatment plants,” he added.
Tadweer owns four factories – with a total capacity of 700 tonnes per day – in Abu Dhabi for recycling green waste that can be fermented and is free of impurities, which is used to produce organic fertiliser without unpleasant odor, improving soil quality and increasing fertility.
“We have made a number of promising achievements over the past year, which reflect our commitment to building integrated waste management systems, combatting threats to public health, and providing valuable services to our customers and the community,” said Dr Al Kaabi.
Tadweer also launched the commercial operation for three medical and hazardous waste treatment facilities in Abu Dhabi, and the fallen livestock incinerator for Abu Dhabi and Al Dhafra.
The Centre opened nine new facilities for collecting recyclable material to support and encourage the community to contribute to separating waste at source.
In January, Tadweer signed four operational contracts and service projects for the management and operation of landfills at Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra Region, and public health pest control services in Al Ain Region.
Four-pronged job profile
Dr Al Kaabi’s role is split across four major segments, which include strategic planning, budget management, organisational performance management, and employee management.
“For strategic planning, I oversee the implementation of the Centre’s strategic plan and ensure working towards its objectives, as well as set key performance indicators for the Centre’s employees in accordance with the Centre’s strategic plan,” he said.
Dr Al Kaabi has a key role in distribution of the Centre’s budget to all departments, managing expenses, and proposing mechanisms to ensure managing budgets efficiently. “I manage the Centre’s organisational performance by ensuring the improvement of the Centre’s performance and reviewing performance reports, in coordination with the Strategic Planning and Policies Department.”
He added: “As our employees play a key role in the Centre’s success, my role also involves employees management, which centres on setting recruitment plans, managing the performance of employees and guiding them, and setting training plans.”
Engineer at heart
Dr Al Kaabi started his career as Materials Engineer in the Road Department at Al Ain Municipality, before being promoted as Director of the Public Health Department at the Municipality.
As the Director, his role involved supervising and monitoring the execution of waste management projects, supervising the Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) for construction and business activities, checking the performance of slaughterhouse sections, and supervising the activities of the public monitoring and inspection.
As part of his job profile, he successfully developed a strategic plan to achieve integrated waste management in the city of Al Ain, and focused on educating the community on the importance of reducing the amount of waste to achieve sustainable development goals.
Dr Al Kaabi first joined Abu Dhabi Centre of Waste Management (Tadweer) in 2012 as Acting General Manager. He then served as the Acting Director-General of Operations Affairs at the Department of Municipalities and Transport, before becoming its Directo- General of Operations Affairs.
In 2022, he joined Tadweer again as the Acting Director-General.