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Thu 13 Nov 2008 04:00 AM

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Dulsco Abu Dhabi

Making the UAE environmentally friendly, one load of waste at a time.

Making the UAE environmentally friendly, one load of waste at a time.

Abu Dhabi is fast gaining from a revitalised private sector that has injected new life into the construction sector as well. In fact, the volume of construction activity seen in Abu Dhabi has held many to believe that the emirate will outdo Dubai within the next four years.

Industry pundits are of the opinion that Abu Dhabi is heading towards a property boom similar to that seen in Dubai six to eight years ago.

Construction waste in Abu Dhabi is growing very fast like the other emirates of the UAE. Across the GCC countries, construction waste alone accounts for nearly 55% of the overall waste that is generated. – Renjit Abraham.

At least 11,000 residential units are expected to be handed over to occupants in Abu Dhabi this year. However, analysts expect that the 150,000 units being supplied next year will mostly be for the high-income group and the mid and lower income group will still remain wanting.

The Abu Dhabi Municipality has further declared that 350 residential towers offering 30,000 apartments will be constructed by 2012, in an attempt to address the emirates' crippling housing shortage. Experts have predicted that new buildings in Abu Dhabi will meet only 20% of the shortfall in 2008, so one can imagine that the construction boom is here to stay.

Thriving industry

While construction activity climbs steadily, the question is whether the emirate is capable of handling the waste being generated from the ongoing projects. Dulsco Abu Dhabi, a waste management company involved in the collection, transportation and disposal of both solid and liquid waste, is offering a solution.

Dulsco's existing fleet operates both on schedule and on-call. By next year, its number of vehicles is projected to triple to cater to the requirements of the emirate.

"Construction waste in Abu Dhabi is growing very fast like the other emirates of the UAE. Across the GCC countries, construction waste alone accounts for nearly 55% of the overall waste that is generated," comments Renjit Abraham, general manager, Dulsco Abu Dhabi.

Dulsco offers waste management services among others to Aldar Laing O'Rourke and TDIC Leighton, both of which account for a growing number of upscale and luxury developments in the emirate.

Apart from leading players in the construction field as clients, Dulsco also provides waste management services to exhibition centres such as the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), apartment complexes, schools and the industrial sector.

The collection and disposal of household municipal waste in Abu Dhabi is outsourced to a service provider by the Abu Dhabi Municipality for a five-year period. However, Dulsco handles food waste generated by labour camps, exhibition and training centres and construction sites.

Food waste is collected and transported by refuse compaction vehicles or portable compactors to the landfills. This arrangement ensures that substantial amount of waste can be transported at any one time, reducing vehicle movements in and out of the site.

"A good thing about portable compactors is that large quantities of waste can be compacted and transported at one time. Apart from this, as the compactor is completely covered, bad odour and fire hazards are minimised. Portable compactors are generally placed in exhibition centres, labour camps and construction sites that generate large quantities of organic waste, said Tinu Mathew, senior executive, Waste Management Services."

Green building initiatives

Abu Dhabi is home to the Masdar project, the world's first zero-pollution, zero-waste city, which shows the leadership role that the emirate has played in taking up the green initiative. ‘Developers are not far behind with almost everybody vying to make progress in getting the LEED certification as part of their green initiative.According to Abraham, for any green initiative to succeed, three key factors must exist: First and foremost, people need to be educated. Each person must be made aware that with a conscious effort, they can reduce the carbon footprints directly as a result of their actions.

For example, using fluorescent lights or car pooling where possible translates immediately into benefits that are tangible and immediate.

The second, is vertical integration of the supply chain. In green building initiatives-which is now getting the attention it needs in the UAE-major developers ensure that materials used are as green as possible. For this to succeed fully, the whole supply chain needs to come together and be vertically integrated.

Businesses would like to work with a waste management company that is actively involved in recycling. – Tinu Mathew.

The third, which is often neglected, is conservation. It is where Dulsco as a waste management services company contributes in a large way. Recycling, being an integral part of waste management services, is an inherently green operation as it promotes reuse of materials thus reducing carbon footprints directly. The landfill is used only when necessary.

Therefore, Dulsco is committed to recycling initiatives. It is important to note that environmental awareness and corporate social responsibility are integral parts of its core values.

The way it works is simple. "Businesses would like to work with a waste management company that is actively involved in recycling. They get a return on the recyclable waste that is generated depending on the market rate at which the recycled materials can be sold," explains Mathew.

None of the recyclable material that is collected ends up in local landfills, which means the customer reaps both environmental and financial benefits.

According to Mathew, companies in the UAE and throughout the region are trying to minimise solid waste. "There is an effort made to drastically reduce the amount of construction waste going to the landfills. For instance, efforts are being made to reuse concrete by crushing them to build internal roads. The idea behind it is to reuse what is available instead of using energy to manufacture something altogether new."

As far as possible, segregation and sorting of recyclable material is undertaken by the companies-with the help of Dulsco-within the project premises. To facilitate this, Dulsco has site coordinators who liaise with project managers to coordinate and organise recycling operations.

In the industrial sector also, sorting waste is done on-site in the customer premises. Dulsco currently services the industrial belt in Musaffah and plans to undertake operations in Al Ain shortly.

Dulsco is also the first waste management company in the UAE to have been accredited with ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications. According to Abraham, the company's strongest USP is ‘service that the customer can trust' in terms of response time and safety. "We hold ongoing training programs wherein drivers are instructed to drive safely and workers are trained to respond in case of any emergencies," he says.

"Safety is a very important factor where the collection and transportation of waste is concerned." Dulsco Abu Dhabi also intends to install a vehicle tracking system by year-end whereby fleet operations would be monitored ensuring further safety in its operations.

Dulsco Abu Dhabi is actively involved in clean-up campaigns organized by Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi every year. "We help clean up the emirate's prominent landmarks in coordination with the initiatives taken by the EAD," he added.

The future

New initiatives aside, construction and commercial waste remain the core focus areas for Dulsco Abu Dhabi. However, an interesting demand for the collection and transportation of sewage waste to the sewage treatment facility from labour camps is being created until such time proper sewage lines are laid.

Dulsco Abu Dhabi has already started sewage tanker operations and by next year plans are already in place to increase the fleet. "Although the collection of sewage waste from labor camps is a temporary service, it presents a huge opportunity for us for the next five to ten years keeping in mind that the construction boom is here to stay," says Abraham.

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