Waste can be categorised as either hazardous or nonhazardous, and it is either disposed of or is waiting to be disposed. It may be generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, or other human activities. The key challenge facing Abu Dhabi Emirate over the last few decades is the amount of waste generated, a figure which has increased rapidly as a result of a growing population and high-consuming society. Official 2015 figures estimated that 8.48 million tonnes of waste was generated, more than 23,200 tonnes per day. Along with the large quantities of waste dumped at thousands of illegal sites scattered around the emirate, this poses a significant threat to the emirate’s biodiversity and threatens the health of the general population.

Current State

1.65 KG Per Capita

per day of municipal solid waste generated in 2015


Population growth (resulting in increasing consumption and waste), rapid economic development without a concomitant increase in waste treatment infrastructure, and consumer behaviour are key drivers of a change in the state of waste in the emirate.


Currently, there is a lack of incentives and deterrents and an absence of adequate infrastructure to encourage the proper management and treatment of waste.


There is a continued increase in waste volumes and illegal dumping, reflecting the lack of appropriate infrastructure in the emirate. In 2015 the waste per capita was 1.65 kg/day of municipal solid waste.


Current waste management practices in the emirate have an impact on energy consumption and release of emissions, and adverse impacts on human health, air quality, climate change, biodiversity, land and water.


The emirate has developed a number of measures to improve waste management, including: public awareness initiatives and engagement in sustainable consumption; improved infrastructure based upon accurate data; incentive programmes to encourage waste minimisation, reuse and recycling; and enhanced, enforceable regulations. A comprehensive regulatory framework and the proposed integrated waste management master plan will also help Abu Dhabi Emirate achieve national and local targets.

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