Oman’s be’ah plans strategy for plastics segregation from waste

MUSCAT, SEPT 9
Oman Environmental Services Holding Company SAOC (be’ah), the sole entity overseeing the management of solid waste in the Sultanate, says it working on a strategy to segregate the prodigious amounts of plastic waste currently ending up in landfills around the country.
According to the government-run agency, plastic waste – which it dubs “the biggest threat to our environment” – makes up 21 per cent by weight and 50 per cent by volume of the engineered landfills set up across the length and breadth of the country.
“Volume is the main issue in landfills because all landfills are designed and structured to hold specific capacities,” said be’ah, warning that the massive quantities of plastic waste generated around the Sultanate threaten to overwhelm these dumpsites.
Writing in its newly published 2019 Annual Report, be’ah said it is working to segregate and divert recyclable types of plastic, chiefly polyethylene terephthalate (PET) based waste, and thereby reduce the quantities of waste being disposed of in landfills.
“Nearly 50 per cent of plastics or 190,000 MT in our landfills is considered as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Diversion of PET bottles from landfills will eventually help reduce space consumption, which in turn, will increase the life of each landfill. be’ah is currently working on a PET diversion strategy and segregation plans,” it said.
The move comes as Oman prepares to enforce a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags with effect from January 1, 2021. A ministerial decision issued by the newly renamed Environment Authority prescribes fines ranging from RO 100 to RO 2,000 for violations of this mandate.
In recent years, be’ah has explored opportunities that support the segregation, recycling and commercialisation of waste streams in line with its vision to support the growth of a circular economy in Oman.
“Be’ah sees environmental and economic potential in commercialising waste streams such as Construction and Demolition Waste (C&D), End of Life Tyres (ELT), Lead Acid Batteries (LAB), green waste, Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and End of Life Vehicles (ELV). It is in the process of developing an integrated system for these with the objective of having a system in place for waste collection at source, its transportation and identifying an attractive market for the private sector to invest in a processing facility,” the agency stated.