Regulatory framework for waste sector due out in 2018

A long-awaited framework for the regulation of solid waste in the Sultanate is expected to be issued next year, a top official of Oman Environmental Services Holding Co (be’ah) — the nation’s solid waste management flagship — announced here on Wednesday.

Shaikh Mohammed Sulaiman al Harthy, Executive Vice-President, said: “A proper legal framework is key to achieving be’ah’s aspirations in the development and management of the waste sector. To this end, we are working very closely with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) in having a draft of the new sector law out hopefully by the beginning of 2018. This framework will cover all aspects of waste management in the Sultanate.” He made the announcement in a keynote address at the opening of the Oman Waste and Environmental Services Conference & Exhibition (OWES 2017), which began at the Sheraton Oman Hotel on Wednesday.
Mohammed bin Salim al Tobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, was the chief guest at the inauguration of the two-day event, organised by Oman Expo in partnership with be’ah.
A sound sector law and framework, said Al Harthy, is imperative to the achievement of targets set by be’ah in its drive to elevate the waste sector to international standards. One such goal is to achieve a reduction in the amount of waste generated per capita from 1.2 kg per day to 1 kg by 2040.
This will help pare the estimated two million tonnes of municipal solid waste being produced annually which presently end up in landfills, he noted. “By 2020, we intend to divert around 60 per cent of waste from landfills, rising to 80 per cent by 2030.”
Much of the infrastructure for the handling and management of municipal solid waste is now in place, according to the official. Reputable contractors are handling waste collection and landfilling services in seven of 10 governorates under contracts awarded by be’ah. As for the three remaining governorates — Muscat, North Al Sharqiyah and Wusta, contracts will be awarded “very soon”, said Al Harthy, adding the transfer of waste services from municipalities to be’ah would be completed by 2019.

Conrad Prabhu