Qatar’s first e-survey of household energy consumption patterns and behavior has resulted in a call for more recycling facilities and new ways of encouraging people to save power at home.
The study, conducted by the Qatar Green Building Council – which is a member of Qatar Foundation – launched last September and involved 1,600 expat and Qatari residents logging details of their usage of electricity, water and gas for one month. They recorded their overall consumption, as well as how they used different household appliances.
The project is part of an initiative to create new ways of encouraging people to live in more environmentally sustainable ways and reduce their ecological footprint.
The researchers found that two-thirds (65 percent) of those who took part said they did not have access to convenient recycling facilities and half of all respondents said that more user-friendly facilities for common household waste such as paper and glass would encourage more people to recycle.
Such methods could include doorstep collection or the installation of more local recycling points, within walking distance from homes, QGBC said in a statement on Qatar News Agency.
There are a few public recycling points around Doha, including bins at Katara Cultural Village, Education City and at some schools and housing compounds, but they are generally far from widespread.
Meanwhile, several local companies specialize in recycling industrial materials such as cabling as well as paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and other consumer goods.
Results from the survey also found that residents could be more energy-aware in their use of household appliances:
- While almost all respondents used a washing machine regularly, on average, over 50 percent of the washes were only half full or less;
- One third of those surveyed admitted that they often left their air conditioning running when they were out of the house, with only one in 25 using the timer function; and
- 50 percent said they only switched their TV to standby mode when they had finished watching, rather than turning it off at the main switch, which would save more energy.
“In each of these cases, changes to expatriate and local residents’ behavior will cut both household energy bills, and reduce use of the nation’s precious energy resources that could instead be spent on other projects to benefit the nation,” QGBC added in the statement.
The researchers also found that a “significant amount of water is wasted at homes,” adding that QGBC would use the data to draft “practical and cost-effective solutions” in a bid to tackle the problem.
This issue is in itself not new. Qatar is known to be one of the world’s biggest consumers of water, using four times as much as many European countries and 10 times more than many others.
The desert state has a 48-hour emergency water supply, although it is trying to increase this capacity to seven-days through intensive investment in new desalination technologies using solar power and other systems, in addition to a US$2.7 billion scheme to build five “mega” reservoirs outside Doha by 2016.
Qatar’s lack of energy efficiency has in part been attributed to its heavily subsidized (or free, for nationals) utilities which provide little incentive for residents to curb their electricity use.
The national utilities company Kahramaa is considering several measures to improve awareness, such as installing smart meters in homes and its ongoing Tarsheed campaign to reduce consumption.
Qatar’s waste generation is among one of the highest figures per capita in the world, at around 1.6 to 1.8kg per day. Daily, it produces around 7,000 tons of waste, with 30 percent of that (2,100 tons) generated by households, with the remainder coming from construction and demolition.
The 2011-16 National Development Strategy has listed several targets to reduce the amount of waste produced, including a goal to increase recycling rates from 8 percent to up to 25 percent.
And after Qatar hosted the UN Climate Change Conference COP18 in 2012, there was talk of setting up a national recycling program in a bid to improve Qatar’s waste diversion rates.
However, the plan, which involved placing bins in major malls and popular hangouts like Souq Waqif, faltered due to bureaucracy.
As the population continues to expand, the country is struggling to find ways to accommodate the increasing amount of waste produced.
According to BioEnergy Consult, there are three landfills in Qatar, and all are running out of space – one is in Umm Al-Afai for bulky and domestic waste; one is in Rawda Rashed for construction and demolition waste; and one is in Al-Krana for sewage waste.
Its state-of-the-art, domestic solid waste management center near Mesaieed operates at full capacity, according to a senior official from the company that designed, built and now manages the waste center.
As a result, 400 tons of domestic waste are dumped in landfill daily, Stefan Kipp, regional director (MENA) of Singaporean company Keppel Seghers, said last year.
The company has submitted proposals to the government for a QR2 billion (US$550 million) expansion of the current facility that, if accepted, would enable the plant to process up to 5,000 tons of domestic waste daily by 2024.
While this site has advanced means of separating waste which is able to be recycled, it doesn’t actually recycle any materials.
Qatar is beginning to make some progress in its efforts to recycle construction material, albeit some way behind many other countries internationally.
In November last year, for the first time in Qatar, a road was constructed using reclaimed and recycled stones from a construction site and landfill as part of a research initiative by the Ministry of the Environment and other partners.
The initiative, which was a pilot project between MoE’s Qatar General Organisation for Standards and Metrology (Qatar Standards) and the public works authority Ashghal, was part of a wider campaign to encourage the public and private sector to reuse and recycle construction materials where possible.
Meanwhile, Transport Research Laboratory, in partnership with Qatar University, Qatar Standards and Ashghal, is undertaking a three-year study to monitor the performance of recycled aggregates (granular material) in a range of real construction projects.
Would you recycle more if it was easier? Thoughts?
Alternative heading: Survey sparks recycling of old Doha News article.
Where is the closest recycling point to West Bay and when can we hope to see more of them?
There is one opposite of city centre mall, just in front of the qatar financial centre building. It’s big and blue, can’t miss it.
I will look for this and start to use it. Do you know if they take plastic, paper and glass?
Katara has plenty of recycling bins (if you have a car). Otherwise park near Landmark. Al Bidda/Rumeillah Park used to have recycling facilities but no idea where these now are due to park being closed.
The other third of residents being labourers dreaming of having soemthing to recycle.
but it almost all goes into a hole in the ground – bins don’t compensate for a lack of true recycling, an ignorance in regard to litterings or teeth to back up the words about a green Qatar – one trip to the industrial area shows the hollowness of all the rhetoric!
“Shinu this recycling thing”?
My friends think recycle meant they get the bottle then put it back in the bagalah
the lack of recycling facilities here is super depressing. Other countries have been recycling glass, paper, aluminum, compost etc for decades. It’s not rocket science.
no in fact! It is culture and education.
Thanks, I didn’t know recycling was culture!
well yes!!! The culture teachers are inculcating in the young children at school. The culture of recycling means also preserving. It means also the culture of no abusing the Planet!
I understand in many parts of the “new world” it might sound strange…when all people around don’t think and just throw.
By re-cycling we leave a better place for our children, very hard to understand?
Why not make the world’s tallest mountain from recycled waste (construction materials)? Somewhere near Al Khor would be nice. Now, that would be an interesting project. As for the food waste there’s one easy solution-make a farm of “noodles” as they’ll eat anything and feed it back to those pesky expats that always complain. This I see as true recycling 😉
Majority of people dump their goods once broken ( electronics, furniture, cars, etc ) , either due lack of professional repair service with reasonable price, or simply because they can afford buying a new item. The idea to salvage usable parts from a broken devise barely exists, while buying a new item instead of repairing the old one is almost not an option. I wish for all residents and expats to see the potential of recycling and to take it seriously. Wise investors together with government support can lead to a great industry, considering the amount of waste that can be refurbished.
to be fair to people, many modern appliances are essentially designed not be easily repairable.
The included list of recycling companies have not been checked – I called them and ask whether they recycle paper from my office and the answer is NO. So there is absolutely no recycling scheme.
The country that has hosted the international conference on environment a few years back is the one that wastes so much and does not enough with recycling, considering that recycling can be a business and they could make a lot of money and even considering that with the amount of cash they have they could put something in place at a fast pace.
For sure I would recycle more if it was easier. Now, I only recycle paper and batteries because there is a place to bring it to on our compound. Sometimes, I bring my plastics all the way to the park recycle bins. But it feels silly to drive up there with my fuel wasting SUV to contribute to the environment.
‘Back home’ they let people pay for there ‘ordinary’ waste, so that the people are very motivated to make that part of the garbage small by saving up plastic, cartons, aluminum, cans and paper to recycle. According to a monthly schedule this will be collected by the government for free. Could this also work in Doha?
Ikea has three recycling bins in the customer service area (where you request home delivery, etc). One for paper and cardboard, one for plastic, and one for lightbulbs and batteries.
Good guy ikea
Do you know where can I recycle GLASS? In Education City there are only bins for plastic, paper, and cans.