Dubai, located in the United Arab Emirates, is home to some of the most grandiose infrastructures in the world with human-made islands in the middle of the ocean and a ski resort in the desert. Dubai is also currently home to the tallest building in the world, and is a shopping mecca for locals and tourists.
With massive wealth comes massive consumption.
In 2012, the residents of Dubai created 3,150 kg of waste per capita. It is one of the highest waste producing areas in the world. In comparison, Halton residents created 427 kg of waste per capita in 2012. Only 10 to 2% of Dubai’s waste that is collected is recycled. Even in the most desolate of places — the desert — garbage is found abundantly in the sand dunes. Camels even mistake the garbage as food.
The Dubai government identified the current model for waste management as unsustainable. A decree was made to cut waste generation from the Emirate to near 0% by 2030. As landfills in Dubai are quickly reaching capacity, the Emirate installed one of the largest landfill gas recovery facilities in the region. Public education campaigns were placed in popular public attractions. In addition, all the waste created in the food court areas of malls are sorted by housekeeping staff for recycling and composting.
Dubai continues to be a hot bed for massive development and consumption. We can applaud the efforts undertaken by the government and citizens to reduce the amount of waste that will go to landfill.