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Dec 22, 2014

Gaza: Toil & Rubble

Al-Shijaiyya neighbourhood East of Gaza city (photo by Hosam Salem)

This article was firstly published in the CIWM Journal ( December, 2014).

In April 2013, Ramy wrote an article for the CIWM Journal entitled, "Gaza's challenge". The aim of the article was to review Gaza’s solid waste management system and suggest strategies to improve current practices. Considered to be a territory of conflict, Gaza faces numerous barriers that thwart any initiatives to improve environmental conditions and develop the waste management sector. It is indeed a challenging task. But today, Gaza is facing a once in a lifetime challenge, which is far greeater any challenges addressed in the article witten in 2013.

On the 8th July 2014, the Israeli army launched a new military offensive on the Gaza Strip. More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed during the conflict. In addition 71 Israelis were killed – six of them civilians. The 2014 war is incomparable to previous military escalations in terms of duration, casualties, and the level of destruction. UN General Secretary, Ban Ki Moon, described it as a “nightmare”, urging to stop the violence in the region.

The Gaza Strip is a narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean cost. It borders Israel to the east and north and Egypt to the south. It covers a total area of 365 square kilometers, which is nearly the same geographical area as Bradford city. Currently, approximately 1.8 million citizens, of whom almost one million are UN-registered refugees, are distributed across five governorates. The 2008 UN report previously warned that Gaza is expected to be “unlivable place by 2020”. Inevitably, the 2014 war would bring this date closer. From an environmental outlook, this war has deepened Gaza’s environmental crisis. The people of Gaza suffer from daily power cuts, water quality deterioration, and environmental hygiene issues.

The scale of damage resulting from the 50-day escalation in hostilities is unprecedented. All governorates in the Gaza Strip witnessed extensive aerial bombardment, naval shelling and artillery fire, resulting in a considerable amount of rubble. According to recent statistics, more than 2 million tonnes of debris was generated.  Approximately 10000 houses were leveled to the ground including two 13-story residential buildings. A tremendous amount of debris remains scattered in Gaza. Serious efforts and a high budget are required to handle this challenge.  More importantly, and based on a UNEP study after the 2008 war, the debris is highly likely to be contaminated with PAHs and probably with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dioxins, and furan compounds.

Three compelling reasons exist to consider Gaza rubble one of the vastest challenges Gaza has ever had: the amount of debris is considerably huge to be reused in a small geographical area; the contamination of debris reduces options which could be considered; and the devastating situation persuades potential donors to priorities humanitarian projects rather than debris removal. According to a recently published report by the Palestinian Economic Council for Development & Reconstruction (PECDAR), local experts have suggested three options to deal with the rubble.
  •      Crushing it to be reused as an aggregate replacement in road infrastructure projects.
  •    The use of rubble for deliberate dumping of Gaza beach to expand its geographical area.
  •         Rehabilitate Gaza coast by building waves breaker.

The first step to handle the debris for any recycling or reuse (including land rehabilitation by dumping into the Mediterranean) is to ensure that there are no UnExploded Ordnances (UXO) in the debris which could pose a risk to debris workers. Secondly, the debris should be decontaminated of any hazardous materials as well as non-inert materials such as timber and furnishings. Leaving these materials in the debris will lead to void spaces developing once the debris has been placed in situ resulting in unstable roads or land. Once the debris has been ‘decontaminated’, simple crushers can be deployed to reduce the debris to a gravel material for reuse. This process requires a significant amount of work to make the debris ‘recyclable’. However, on the positive side there is experience in Gaza for this type of work, as well as numerous other countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the Balkans.

From our perspective, and in order to introduce a pragmatic solution, both environmental and economic aspects should be considered prior any attempt to remove the rubble. Firstly, and in order to reduce transportation costs, rubble should be handled on-site using a mobile crusher. A key consideration will be the opportunity to import plant and machinery (with relaxations of the current embargos). Once rubble is crushed, it could be stored in designated sites, which should be systematically chosen close to future project sites. Thus, costs can be reduced significantly. Additionally, on-site processing gives an opportunity to identify any contamination, sort it onsite and dispose of it at a separate facility.

Organizations such as Zero Waste MENA and Disaster Waste Recovery have the experience to implement such projects and maximize the debris’ value. We are also happy to cooperate with any interested UK industry willing to take part in this project. 

Ramy Salemdeeb is the founder of Zero Wate MENA and current PhD researcher at Cambridge University.
Martin Bjerregaard is a director at Disaster Waste Recovery. He is also specialized in waste and debris management in post-disaster and post-conflict areas.

Sep 26, 2014

The Waste Management & Recycling Summit in Qatar

Qatar being one of the highest generators of waste across the world with an average of 1.8 kgs of waste generated each day. Waste management and waste recycling have become the most pressing issue for the government and the stakeholders in Qatar. With active tie ups and government initiatives being taken in this pursuit, the third edition of Waste Management & Recycling Summit was organized in Doha to address these issues.

International and National experts has joined this event to share their views and best practices on waste handling techniques and the role of technology in effectively disposing of this waste. The principle of REDUCE – REUSE – RECYCLE is the need of the hour.
Zero Waste MENA was one of the media sponsors of this event. Ramy Salemdeen, the founder of Zero Waste MENA has expressed his attributes to the organizer of this event. He also said that 

"The third edition of Waste Management & Recycling Summit was a great platform to look back to our existing practices in order to develop future sustainable practices. Renowned speakers shared their experience and thoughts about the future of waste management industry in Qatar." 

Aug 29, 2014

New SWEEP-Net 2013 country Reports

The SWEEP-Net (the Regional Solid Waste Exchange of Information and Expertise Network) has published its new series of country reports for 2013, New SWEEP-Net 2013 country reports.

The yearly publications document the state of solid waste management in each of the network nine member countries and they are one of the most comprehensive state-wide data on the solid waste management (SWM) sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

SWEEP-Net website also provides the direct links to the reports for each specific country: TunisiaAlgeriaEgyptJordan,LebanonMauritaniaMoroccoPalestinian TerritoryYemen.

Cambridge Open days

Aug 20, 2014

قطاع إدارة المرافق الكويتي يستعد لتحقيق نمو لافت

قطاع إدارة المرافق الكويتي يستعد لتحقيق نمو لافت

18 أغسطس 2014
يتوقع مراقبون بأنّ تساهم مجموعة مشاريع البناء الجديدة في الكويت في دفع عجلة النمو ضمن قطاع إدارة المرافق المحلي، لا سيّما في ظل الطلب المتنامي من قبل مالكي المباني على الخدمات عالية المستوى التي تلبي تطلعاتهم وتعزز استثماراتهم على المدى الطويل.

وتتيح إدارة المرافق لمالكي المباني تعهيد كافة خدمات الصيانة والتنظيف والأمن إلى شركة واحدة متخصصة في إدارة المرافق. وتعتبر الكويت من الدول التي تتقدم على صعيد تطور قطاع إدارة المرافق وإدراك مالكي المباني للمزايا الاقتصادية المترتبة عن تبني هذه الحلول والخدمات من بعد الإمارات والولايات المتحدة الأمريكية وأوروبا الغربية.

وتستعد الكويت إلى استضافة "المؤتمر الأول لإدارة المرافق" في 22 أيلول/سبتمبر المقبل "معرض الكويت الدولي"، وذلك خلال فعاليات اليوم الأول من معرض  "الخمسة الكبار الكويتي"، معرض البناء والتشييد الأكبر في الكويت.

وأوضح ميك دالتون، رئيس مجلس إدارة "المعهد البريطاني لإدارة المرافق" والذي سيترأس "المؤتمر الأول لإدارة المرافق"، بأنّ العمليات التشغيلية وخدمات الصيانة والتنظيف تنتشر على نطاق واسع في دولة الكويت، إلاّ أنّ مفهوم إدارة المرافق لا يزال محدوداً نسبياً.

وسيتمحور جدول أعمال "المؤتمر الأول لإدارة المرافق" حول مختلف الجوانب المتعلقة بقطاع إدارة المرافق، اعتباراً من مساهمته الفاعلة في المشاريع الإنشائية وصولاً إلى دوره الحيوي في الحفاظ على قيمة المباني وزيادة دورة حياة الأصول وتعزيز الاستدامة وترشيد استهلاك الطاقة.

وسيتخلل الحدث مناقشة سلسلة من دراسات الحالة التي تتناول واقع إدارة المرافق في عدد من أبرز المشاريع المرموقة في الكويت ومجموعة من الأمثلة الناجحة، بما فيها واقع إدارة المرافق في مونية صباح السالم الجامعيّة والمبادرات المستدامة في "قصر السيف" والهندسة القيمية في مبنى مجلس الوزراء الكويتي وتطبيق إدارة المرافق في مستشفيات الكويت.

وقال دالتون: "تعتبر إدارة المرافق إحدى القطاعات الحيوية المهمّة بالنظر إلى كونها تجسيداً حقيقياً للتغيير الاستراتيجي الواجب تطبيقه لإحداث نقلة إيجابية في بيئات العمل وأماكن السكن بما يضمن تحسين جودة الحياة. 

وأضاف دالتون: "على غرار العديد من دول الخليج العربي، تخطو الكويت خطوات سبّاقة على صعيد تطوير إدارة المرافق في الوقت الذي يُتوقع فيه أن تبرز شركات إدارة المرافق على المستويات المحلية والإقليمية والدولية. ونحن على ثقة تامة بأنّ السوق المحلي سيشهد بلا شك تطوراً لافتاً وستحظى إدارة المرافق بالمزيد من التقدير والثناء."

وأشار دالتون إلى أنّ مشاريع البناء الجديدة ستسهم إلى حدّ كبير في تعزيز الوعي بأهمية إدارة المرافق، لا سيّما وأنّ النظم الحديثة والتقنيات المتطورة المعتمدة في المشاريع الجارية حالياً تتطلب إدارة متكاملة على مستوى عالٍ من الكفاءة والفعالية، فضلاً عن أنّ المستثمرين يطالبون الآن بالمزيد من الضمانات لحماية أصولهم والحفاظ على قيمة استثماراتهم على المدى البعيد.

وأفاد دالتون بأنّ "السنوات الأخيرة شهدت ارتفاعاً واضحاً في مستويات الوعي بأهمية قطاع إدارة المرافق بالتزامن مع ارتفاع أعداد المباني الضخمة والمشاريع المرموقة وتزايد الحاجة إلى الحفاظ عليها بالشكل الأمثل من ناحية الصيانة"، مضيفاً: "تشتمل العوامل الأخرى المؤثرة على اتساع نطاق الاهتمام بقطاع إدارة المرافق من قبل المجتمع المالي والتعامل معه باعتباره قضية ذات أولوية."

وسيشارك بسام حمادي، مهندس في مدينة صباح السالم الجامعية في المشروع الضخم الممتد على مدى 15 كيلومتر جنوب مدينة الكويت، في "المؤتمر الأول لإدارة المرافق" للتحدث عن إدارة المرافق المتكاملة المعتمدة في المشروع البالغة قيمته 6 مليار دولار أمريكي والذي يغطي 6 كيلومتر مربع والذي سيستوعب 39,000 طالب مقيم.

وأكّد حمادي بأنّ إدارة المرافق تعتبر اليوم حاجة ملحّة في الكويت، لافتاً إلى أنّ السبب يعود إلى عوامل عدة أبرزها نقص الوعي حول أهمية إدارة المرافق أو عدم تبني هذا المفهوم الحديث على نطاق واسع أو نتيجة الظروف المناخية القاسية.

ولفت حمادي إلى أنّ القطاع العام قد بدأ بإتخاذ زمام المبادرة لدفع عجلة نمو قطاع إدارة المرافق في إطار التوجّه الحكومي نحو توطين الوظائف وتوظيف المزيد من الكفاءات الوطنية وتفعيل مساهمتها في مسيرة التنمية الشاملة.

وأضاف حمادي: "يواصل القطاع الحكومي تطبيق سياسة التوطين على نطاق واسع وبالأخص ضمن القطاعات الإدارية، مما يفتح آفاقاً واعدة أمام الكفاءات البشرية الكويتية للقيام بدور فاعل ضمن قطاع إدارة المرافق."

وأعرب حمادي عن تفاؤله بتحقيق المزيد من النمو ضمن قطاع إدارة المرافق في الكويت، وأضاف: " لم ينضج قطاع إدارة المرافق بالكامل في الكويت، و هو يحتاج إلى تكثيف المزيد من الجهود للوصول إلى دول الخليج الأخرى. إلّا أننا متفاؤلون بالنظر إلى المشاريع الحكومية المرموقة مثل مكتب ديوان المحاسبة والمقر الرئيسي لوزارة الأشغال العامة."

ولمزيد من المعلومات حول معرض "الخمسة الكبار الكويتي"، المقرر انعقاده في 22 أيلول/سبتمبر المقبل في "معرض الكويت الدولي"، يرجى زيارة الموقع الإلكتروني:


نبذة عن "دي.أم.جي إيفنتس" (DMG events):

تُعنى "دي.أم.جي إيفنتس"، الشركة العالمية المتخصصة بالنشر والفعاليات، بتنظيم معارض ومؤتمرات عالية المستوى لقطاع الطاقة والإنشاء والتسويق الرقمي والضيافة والتصميم الداخلي والطلاءات في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وأمريكا وأوروبا وآسيا.

وباعتبارها مزود رائد لخدمات التبادل المباشر للمعلومات في قطاع الأعمال من خلال التركيز على تخصيص العمليات والعلاقات بما يتناسب مع احتياجات العميل، تسعى الشركة لتحقيق أهدافها الرئيسية المتمحورة حول توفير المعلومات وتعزيز التواصل المباشر بين الشركات والعملاء في سبيل خلق أسواق ديناميكية عبر مختلف المنصات والفعاليات المتخصصة.

وتدير "دي.أم.جي إيفنتس"، التي تأسست في العام 1989، عملياتها التشغيلية في منطقة الشرق الأوسط منذ العام 1995. وتنظم الشركة عدداً من أبرز الأسماء الرائدة في عالم المعارض والمؤتمرات، وفي مقدمتها معارض "الخمسة الكبار" و"معرض أديبيك" و"معرض ومؤتمر النفط والغاز" ومعرض "إنديكس" (INDEX) للتصميم الداخلي. ولمزيد من المعلومات حول الشركة، يرجى زيارة الموقع الإلكتروني:

وتعد "دي.أم.جي إيفنتس" شركة فرعية مملوكة بالكامل من قبل "دايلي مايل آند جينيرال تراست" (DMGT- التي تعتبر بدورها مجموعة من الشركات الدولية الرائدة في مجال الإعلام وتنظيم الفعاليات ونقل المعلومات الرقمية.

للمزيد من المعلومات، يرجى الاتصال بـ
أورينت بلانيت للعلاقات العامة والتسويق
ص. ب: 500266، دبي، الامارات العربية المتحدة
هاتف: 4562888 4 971+
فاكس: 4549528 4 971+ بريد الكتروني: موقع الكتروني:

Aug 9, 2014

We can do it because of this...

A few days ago, I read about an amazing project in France to avoid food waste. Intermarche, the French supermarket giant, has introduced a successful campaign called 'Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables'. It's an incredibly creative idea which can be simply described as ' a glorious fight against food waste'.

The grotesque apple... the ridiculous potato.... the hideous range ... the failed lemon (see image below)

Intermarche bought all the ugly fruit, which are usually discarded for cosmetic reasons, displayed it in special aisles, and sold them at a 30 per cent discount. When it was launched, the program was an immediate success; within a month, it reached over 13 million people and stirred a national conversation about food waste and just what makes a piece of fruit, or a vegetable acceptable to the consumer.

The campaign only faced one problem: All items are quickly sold out. Now the ugly fruits and vegetables are available in soup and fruit juice form. Intermarche calls it 'a glorious fight against food waste'.

I believe this story should be seriously considered by all food retailers. I has a great potential for both producers and consumers.

I will not keep you any longer. Hope you enjoy the video which would change your minds.

Jul 1, 2014

A war on food waste

A war on food waste

“Have you ever wondered what lies behind supermarkets’ deliciously crustless sandwiches?”

According to ‘Feeding the 5K’ organisation (2009a), 13,000 slices of crusts are thrown away every day by a single sandwich factory which is featured in the figure above. More recently, Tesco, one of the largest UK food retailers, has published its sustainability report admitting that the company generated 28,500 tonnes of food waste in the first six months of 2013 (TESCO 2013). TESCO’s report also state that 47% of the bakery produced is wasted. In terms of GHG emissions, DEFRA (2011) estimated that food waste is associated with 20 Mt-CO2 equivalent/year, which is equivalent to 3% of the total annual GHG emissions.
Globally, 1.2-2 billion tonnes (30%-50%) of food produced is thrown away before it reaches a human stomach (IMechE 2013). Food waste, if conceived as a state, is responsible for 3.3 Bt-CO2 equivalent/year, which would make it the third biggest carbon emitter after China and USA (FAO 2013). Regionally, numerous studies have also addressed food waste as one of the key solid waste issues in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (Salemdeeb 2012; Salemdeeb 2013). What makes food waste an even more significant issue is the substantially high demand for food which is estimated to grow 70% by 2050 due to the dramatic increase of population which is expected to reach 9.5 billion by 2075 (Kerbs 2013; IMechE 2010). Therefore, there is an urgent need to address food waste as a globally challenging issue which should be considered and tackled by sustainable initiatives.
A war on Food Waste
The overarching consensus to tackle the food waste issue has led to the implementation of various policies. For instance, the European Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) set targets to reduce organic waste disposed to landfill in 2020 to 35% of that disposed in 1995 (EC 1999). More recently, the European Parliament discussed a proposal to “apply radical measures” to halve food waste by 2025 and to designate the 2014 year as “the European Year Against Food Waste” (EurActive, 2012). In the light of IMechE’s report (2013), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in cooperation with FAO has launched the Save Food Initiative in an attempt to reduce food waste generated in the global scale (UNEP, 2013).
In the UK, WRAP declared a war on food waste by expanding its organic waste programme in 2008 which was primarily designed to “establish the most cost-effective and environmentally sustainable ways of diverting household food waste from landfill that leads to the production of a saleable product” (WRAP 2008). DEFRA has also identified food waste as a “priority waste stream” in order to achieve better waste management performance (DEFRA 2011). In addition to governmental policies, various voluntary schemes have been introduced by local authorities such as Nottingham Declaration which aims to cut local CO2 emissions 60% by 2050 (Hogg et al. 2007).
Engineering for Sustainable Food Waste Management
Engineering has introduced numerous technologies to deal with food waste. Many studies have been carried out to examine the environmental and socio-economic impacts of food waste management options (Bernstad & la Cour Jansen 2012). This article covers the two most preferable options; anaerobic digestion and composting.
In-vessel composting (IVC) is a well-established technology which is widely used to treat food waste aerobically and convert it into a valuable fertilizer (Salemdeeb 2011). IVC is considered a sustainable option because it helps by reducing the amount of food waste landfilled. Hence, complying with the EU regulations, and producing a saleable products avoiding the use of natural resources (WRAP 2009). IVC is considered an environmentally favourable technology compared with other conventional options (i.e. landfill and incineration) (Khoo et al. 2010). It contributes less than 0.06% to the national greenhouse gas inventories (Amlinger at al. 2008). However, considering its high energy-intensive collection activities, the overall environmental performance is “relatively poor” (Lundie, Peters 2005). Therefore, Bjorklund et al. (1999) considers IVC a “transitional technology” towards applying more sustainable solutions.
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is a leading technology which has had a rapidly growing market over the last few years. AD is a biologically natural process in which micro-organisms anaerobically break down food waste and producing biogas which can be used for both Combined Heat & Power (CHP) and digestate that can be used as soil fertilizers or conditioners (Arsova 2010 and Salemdeeb 2010). AD has been considered as the “best option” for food waste treatment (Finnveden et al. 2005 and Minnini et al. 2008) Therefore, governmental and financial support has been given to expand AD in the UK (DEFRA 2009; DEFRA 2011). AD is not only a food waste treatment technology, but also a renewable source of energy. For instance, It is expected that AD would help the UK to meet the target of supplying 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 (EC 2009). Furthermore, AD technology has the potential to boost the UK economy by providing 35,000 new jobs if the technology is adopted nationally to process food waste (DEFRA 2011). This economic growth will significantly improve the quality of life among potential beneficiaries and thus all sustainability elements are considered (Dresner 2002).
Towards integrated sustainability

Engineering has provided us with advanced technologies in order to tackle the environmental and economic impacts of food waste. However, due to the lack of fund and technological expertises, the MENA region should look into this issue form a different perspective. Food Waste should be tackled based on changes in our social behaviours which would eventually lead to food waste reduction in the first place. One of the key justifications for my thoughts is our traditions and religion which encourage us to consume food and drinks wisely. Allah says in the holy Quran; “ ... eat and drink but do not be excessive for God does not love those who are excessive (in what they do).” Chapter (7) sūrat l-aʿrāf verse (7:31).

Inspired by the previous verse from the Quran, Zero Waste MENA, a regional initiative established in last year to promote sustainable waste management practices, took the initiative to deliver this message to Middle Easters via social media and other communication channels. We also invite all interested parties to take part in this noble goal and help us to spread the word and protect our environment.


About the author

Ramy Salemdeeb, BEng(Hons) MSC GradMCIWM ISWA, is a solid waste management consultant with a focus on post-conflict zones and developing countries. He is the founder of Zero Waste MENA. Mr. Salemdeeb is currently a PhD researcher at Cambridge University.

References are available upon request