Strategy for management of end-of-life vehicles in Oman

Be’ah — the Sultanate’s solid waste management utility — is putting in place an integrated strategy for the management of vehicles that have reached the end of their useful lives (formally known as ‘End of Live Vehicles or ELV’) in the Sultanate. The goal, according to senior official of the wholly government-owned company, is to introduce an environmentally friendly system for the reuse, recycling and recovery of ELV stock and their parts, while ensuring the safe disposal of any unrecyclable waste.
“We are putting together an integrated strategy for ELV (stock) which should be ready by the end of this year, and we will offer this plan as an opportunity for investment shortly thereafter,” said Mohammed al Harthy, Executive Vice President — be’ah.
According to the official, around 4,600 vehicles become obsolete annually in the Sultanate, based on vehicle-related statistics published by the Royal Oman Police (ROP) in 2014. As of March 2017, there were around 1.4 million vehicles on the Sultanate’s roads. As many as 100,000 new vehicles were registered in 2016 alone, he said.
While a percentage of these vehicles — across all classes and types — reach the end of their useful life every year, figures vary from one year to the next as old vehicles are refurbished, reconditioned or simply exported. Insurance firms that end up acquiring a good chunk of ELV vehicles either because they are accident or flood-damaged, ultimately sell the stock to scrap dealers.
The integrated strategy, according to be’ah, will replace the existing, informal practice of salvaging components and parts before the metal body is sold to scrap dealers — a system that is environmentally unsound and unsustainable.
While it has spawned a thriving cottage industry in used automotive spares and parts in places like Al Wadi al Kabir, Ghala and Al Mawaleh in the capital region, it has also led to unsightly stockpiles of scrapped vehicles, salvaged parts and other waste in these locations.
Underpinning the new integrated management system advocated by be’ah are environmentally approved disposal practices that promote the recovery and recycling of materials like steel, copper and aluminium for ultimate reintroduction into the materials cycle. Any hazardous material, like heavy metals if any, will be safely disposed of.
The move is one several initiatives launched by be’ah in line with its ‘diversion strategy’ espousing the safe and proper handling of all kinds of waste streams with a view to promoting recycling, recovery and re-use of these wastes in a departure from the current practice of simply landfilling it.
The ‘diversion’ of waste from landfills into recycling projects also opens up abundant investment and economic activities, be’ah has stressed.

Conrad Prabhu