The United Arab Emirates is building one of the world's largest waste-to-energy generation facilities to cope with the growing load of garbage.
Dubai is building a $ 1.1 billion facility that will burn garbage to generate energy. A smaller facility - the UAE's first on a commercial scale-will be operational in the Emirate of Sharjah later this year. When two other projects in Abu Dhabi are finished, the country could burn almost two-thirds of the household waste it currently produces.
Energy from waste causes emissions, so it is generally considered appropriate to dispose of only the last debris after all recyclable materials have been removed. The projects could make it harder for the UAE to net carbon emissions, which it sees as a target by 2050.
But the Persian Gulf state has little choice but to stop the huge piles of plastic, paper and organic waste on the outskirts of its desert cities from rising further. It has many facilities for sorting waste and recycling some of its building materials, tires and electronics, but few are able to convert household waste into new products.
Recycling plants also require a lot of investment, but do not have the advantage of generating energy. And sending rubbish to other countries is getting harder. Those importing rubbish, including China, no longer want it, while others, such as Turkey, face pressure from environmentalists to stop .