Rise in waste, especially municipal waste, is likely to become a major reason for concern for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), with the total waste generated to increase from 94 Mn MT in 2015 to as high as 120 Mn MT per annum by 2020. Geographically, this will be spurred by the rapid increase in waste generation predominantly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Arab emirates (UAE). The rise is significant as municipalities in the GCC are not equipped to handle this level of waste generation through the existing landfilling strategies. Adoption of alternate handling mechanisms to deal with the problem of increasing waste would be required, especially when the block of countries is also striving to make amends to the energy mix. Mr. Abhay Bhargava, Associate Director & Regional Head – Middle East – Energy & Environment Practice, Frost & Sullivan notes “GCC will have to make a radical move towards integrated waste management with emphasis on “waste-to-value” methods such as recycling and waste-to-energy coming into the picture. This can already be seen in the form of the recent tenders for waste management in the GCC, as well as in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)”.
Based on recent studies that Frost & Sullivan has undertaken as part of a global waste management advisory practice, the market potential for waste can increase anywhere by 1.5-2 times in the next five years. This will also disrupt the existing waste management industry, which has so far primarily focused on the aspects of collection and transportation. Additionally, there is also a need for greater focus on optimising the segregation process, both at source and at material recovery facilities to minimise waste diversion to landfills.
Another disruption would be in waste composition itself. While waste in the GCC has predominantly been construction and demolition and municipal, a rapid emergence of electrical and electronic waste, industrial hazardous, and bio-medical waste is also being observed, which would require environmental-friendly treatment capacities in addition to what is already in place today. Frost & Sullivan feels that this disruption will result in emergence of opportunities in the sector for companies that can deliver solutions around segregation, recycling, sustainable treatment, and waste-to-energy across services, technologies, and equipment. The opportunities would not be limited to equipment specific to waste as energy equipment and pollution control equipment manufacturers also stand to gain, with increase in demand for boilers, incinerators, flue-gas treatment systems, geomembrane liners, recycling plant machinery, etc. coming in.
The need of the hour, considering the current scenario, would be to look at skills development, partnerships, and technology acquisition, all of which require a more formalised approach to the business of waste. Frost & Sullivan also believes that municipalities in the GCC can accelerate optimisation through benchmarking and assessment of successful models in other regions, and implementation of these learnings in the regional context.
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Source: Frost & Sullivan