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Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates Drive Rapid Growth in the Region, Backed by High Waste Volumes, Government Initiatives and Low Recycling Rates
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Municipal waste management has become a significant concern amongst the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The total municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in the region is expected to reach as high as 127.5 million megatonnes (MT) in 2020. The existing landfilling strategies in the GCC region will not suffice to handle such a high volume of waste. This gap in requirements will result in countries adopting alternate mechanisms to tackle waste management.The critical gap in the present waste management value chain is source segregation. GCC countries do not follow adequate source segregation but have an efficient collection and transportation system. Although the United Arab Emirates still lacks sufficient source segregation, the country is better than other GCC nations in terms of waste management infrastructure with transfer stations, material recovery facilities and engineered landfills. The GCC countries also lack sufficient waste-to-energy plants.Frost & Sullivan expects the GCC countries to make a shift towards integrated waste management with an emphasis on waste-to-value methods, such as recycling. This shift in approach can already be seen in the form of recent tenders for waste management in the GCC, as well as the much broader Middle East and North African regions. The new approach will also cause severe disruptions to the existing waste management industry, which has so far been focused on aspects of collection and transportation primarily. Additionally, there is also a need for greater focus on improving the segregation process, both at source and material recovery facilities. Such disruptions will result in the emergence of opportunities in the sector for companies that can deliver solutions around segregation, recycling, treatment and waste to energy across services, technology and equipment. The growth opportunities would not be limited to equipment specific to waste. Even energy equipment and pollution control equipment manufacturers stand to gain with an increase in demand for boilers, incinerators and flue-gas treatment systems.Considering the present situation, waste management companies must focus on skill development, partnerships and technology acquisition. Frost & Sullivan predicts that municipalities in the GCC would play a key role in accelerating optimization through benchmarking, assessment of successful models in other regions and implementing those learnings in the regional context. This development will bring in more technology and industrial internet of things (IIoT) adoption in the waste management sector. Smart bins, drones and artificial intelligence/data analytics are all expected to be deployed in the waste management value chain in the long term to improve recycling and efficiency.
Key Issues Addressed
Author: Smita Sundaresan
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