Though construction picked up across Qatar in 2014, contractors across the country dramatically cut down on the amount of waste sent to landfills, recently released government figures show.
More than 9.35 million metric tons of construction waste was sent to landfills in Rawdat Rashid and Mesaieed in 2013, the Ministry of Planning Development and Statistics (MDPS) said in a wide-ranging environmental report released last week.
That dropped nearly one-quarter to 7.06 million tons in 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available.
However, domestic waste continued to grow, the report said.
Construction waste – which consists of excavated material and rubble, as well as scraps of insulation, wiring and metal used in building – made up 71 percent of all trash sent to landfills in 2014, down from 77 percent the previous year.
The report didn’t offer any explanation for the decline. However, it comes after years of proposals and various projects aimed at reducing the amount of waste generated by construction.
A major part of those efforts include recycling.
In 2012, the Ministry of Environment said it was finalizing standards for re-using construction waste in other projects.
Two years later, the ministry and Ashghal worked together to construct a 1-kilometer stretch of road using 210,000 tons of recycled stones from a construction site.
Proponents of this and similar projects say they hope it’s just the beginning:
“Despite the large quantities of construction waste generated, the use of recycled aggregate is still very limited,” Khaled Hassan, the country director of the Transport Research Laboratory at the Qatar Science Technology Park told Qatar Construction News earlier this year.
“There is great potential to convert construction waste from a landfill material … into quality aggregate.”
However, with work on the GCC-wide network stalled, large mounds of rock and sand are still piled up at Qatar Rail’s Al Messila logistics center off Jassim bin Hamad Street, near Al Rayyan Road.
Domestic waste increasing
While less construction waste was sent to landfills in 2014, the amount of garbage produced by residents continued to increase.
It climbed by more than 12 percent in 2014, increasing to 1.05 million tons from 930,663 tons and outpacing the growth in population that year.
Last year, a government official said a national recycling program – which would make it mandatory for households and government organizations to separate their trash – was in the works.
More recently, the minister of municipality and environment told the Central Municipal Council that his department was rolling out more recycling bins across the country.