Zero Waste can never be attained, but attempting on it is a journey towards ‘wastelessness’. Speaking on the sidelines of theBahrain’s First Waste Management Forum 2011 (WMF 2011), professionals in the field have observed that the world is on the road’ towards zero waste. The theme of the first of its kind two-day forum was ‘Towards Zero Waste’.
The patron of the forum andBahrain’s Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Minister Dr. Juma Al Kaabi lauded the efforts of the organisers on the ‘mammoth task’ of the forum, on such a challenging topic and with a wonderful theme. “The theme signifies our concern towards waste and our desire to minimize waste towards environmental benefits,” said Dr Al Kaabi.
“Zero waste is new concept gaining international popularity and a multifaceted approach to conserve the earth,” he noted.
Dr Al Kaabi said he was optimistic that the forum’s plans and suggestions will be practical and feasible.
“I look forward to the outcome of the forum and the recommendations from the participants on how to make ‘zero waste’ a reality forBahrain,” he said.
Forum’s key note speaker UNESCO-IHE Assoc. Prof. Maarten Siebel, from theNetherlandssaid that radically ‘zero waste’ doesn’t exist.
“You may not be able to waste material, but you always need energy to get materials that you no more use back into shape, which can get very far,” said Prof. Siebel.
“Efficiency in electric power plants is just 30 to 40 pc, where the wastage is huge,” he said.
Prof Siebel addressed the topic ‘Cleaner Production – Key to Transitioning from Managing Waste to Managing Resources’ at the forum.
“We can never reach to ‘zero’ but we can reach close to it,” said Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife, Waste Disposal Unit Directorate of Environmental Control Eng. Rehan Ahmed.
“Businesses have achieved 90% waste reduction,” he added.
Citing an example Ahmed said, “Soft drink glass bottles which are cleaned and filled with products, after its initial use are often discarded in waste streams where they land up at landfills or are segregated for recycling. But with a zero-waste concept, the bottles are re-used and returned to the point of sale since they are tied up with a deposit, which is returned to the bearer upon redemption. The bottle is then washed, refilled, and resold”.
Ahmed said that the only material waste is the wash water whereby energy loss has been minimized.
“We have to stop buying things we do not need, and industries have to stop making things, which cannot be reused in some way,” he added.
“Zero waste is practically possible but not overnight,” noted Bahrain Polytechnic Professional Director and Forum Chairman Nisbet Smith.
“It will happen over a happen in a time period with a team work. Common man must realize that economic development, infrastructure development and environment sustainability can go hand in hand”.
The primary initiative must be taken up by individuals in terms of own responsibility towards a greener environment, said Smith.
“To be honest, we are 25 years behind the target,” said Kissan Compost Planning Director and guest speaker at the forum Dr Ata-Ul-Haq. “We are on the road map and one day we will reach there,” he said. Dr Haq said that not a single developed country which claims to be on zero waste, practically exists.
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