Solid Waste Management in the MENA Region

Karim Elgendy

The Middle East and North Africa generates slightly more Municipal solid waste per capita than the global average. Yet per capita waste generation widely between regional countries that have high levels of material consumption and waste generation and others with much lower levels of consumption. This variation is most obvious between the GCC countries on the one hand, and the Levant and North African countries on the other.

With an average of 1.5 kilograms of municipal solid waste generation per person per day in the GCC, waste generation is more than double that of the average Levant and North Africa resident, which is estimated at 0.7 kilograms. One exception to this is Israel, which at 1.77 kilograms of solid waste per capita per day, is higher than the GCC average.

The MENA region’s countries also varies widely in how they dispose of their solid waste. Some have made progress on recycling and other forms of reuse, including Israel and the UAE (especially the Emirate of Sharjah), while others such as Iraq almost recycle nothing.

The disposal of non-recycled waste also varies across the region. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and Algeria send all non-recycled waste waste to landfill of different types, while Kuwait, Oman, and Libya throw all their waste into open dumps.

The infographic above compares municipal solid waste generation per capita in countries of the MENA Region, as well as the destination for this waste, ahead of a forthcoming publication on the Circular Economy.

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