A number of policies geared towards environmental protection are implemented by the UAE governmental agencies to address national ecological issues. In particular, waste management and regulation are among the major priorities of the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (2016), which intends to bridge the gaps in quality assurance. This paper aims to analyze the licensing and enforcement policy for the waste sector by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and discuss its economic impact.
The core statement of the policy revolves around the concern about economically and socially sustainable waste management and the accomplishment of the Abu Dhabi Environment Vision 2030 goals. According to the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (2016), the policy establishes the “requirements of ensuring high-quality waste management services meeting international standards to be provided by the Environmental Service Providers (ESPs)” (p. 4). Besides, their number is limited to the needs of a specific area or activity.
Rules and Regulations
The licensing and enforcement policy is supported by several rules and regulations. They aim to reduce the amount of waste generated in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and promote reuse, recycling, and resource recovery. Modern technologies are to be applied to treat waste in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. Unauthorized waste dumping is not permitted in open areas, highway sides, the desert, and other places. Disposal in a sanitary landfill is allowed if no other management method can be implemented (Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, 2016). Besides, the open burning of waste is prohibited unless a specific environmental permit is obtained from the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi.
The licensing and enforcement mechanism was designed for the regulatory compliance of the waste management sector. As per the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (2016), a waste management permit must be obtained by all Environmental Service Providers (ESPs) from the Center of Waste Management Abu Dhabi, along with other relevant approvals. Other concerned agencies issuing permits for various ESPs include the Industrial Development Bureau, Department of Economic Development, Abu Dhabi Police, Regulation and Supervision Bureau, Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company, and others (Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, 2016). In addition, commercial and industrial waste producers must obtain a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Center of Waste Management to renew their commercial or industrial license.
The policy suggests three steps for the new waste treatment permitting procedure. First, the technology must be evaluated in detail by the Center of Waste Management, and an environmental permit must be obtained from the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. Then, an onsite assessment is conducted to estimate the conformity with the initial permit, and a Certificate of Conformity (CoC) can be required. Eventually, a final permit is issued based on the relevant technical documents. According to the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (2016), they include test certificates of waste, “calibration certificate, AD Civil Defense certificate, wastewater discharge consent (if applicable), Operational Environment Permit from EAD,” and others (p. 9). The licensing and enforcement policy is one of the documents establishing the regulatory framework for cohesive waste management in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
History of the Policy
Waste management is a broad area regulated, among others, by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. Over the recent decades, significant changes can be observed in the waste management strategy and the responsibility of waste generators. The debate on the waste hierarchy and life cycle approach of the Center of Waste Management suggested that an integrated waste management system is required as an economically affordable and sustainable. Furthermore, the gaps in quality assurance implied the need to enforce regulatory requirements in the sector.
Scope of Impact
The policy primarily impacts the ESPs and waste producers in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. As the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (2016) reports, “entities that collect, transport, transfer, trade (within the country), process, recycle, treat, dispose the waste, or otherwise handle waste” must be licensed in accordance with their activity. As per the Environment Agency, Abu Dhabi (2016), commercial and industrial waste generators are affected, including “healthcare facilities, schools, shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, labor camps, … agriculture farms, animal farms, and livestock” (p. 6). Overall, the policy requires the appropriate licensing and regulation of all ESPs and waste management facilities.
Economic Impact of the Policy
The economic impact of the licensing and enforcement policy includes improving the emirate-wide system of waste management due to the established permitting requirements. The environmental damage caused by illegal waste dumping can be avoided. Furthermore, the policy promotes recycling and sustainable waste treatment. As claimed by the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (2016), the measures proposed can result in “100% proper treatment of all waste before final disposal” (p. 14). Waste trafficking inside and outside the Emirate of Abu Dhabi can be minimized due to the permit procedure. Finally, the policy promotes healthy and safe conditions for people, protecting their welfare and the environment.
To summarize, the effective licensing and enforcement policy in the waste sector of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi can contribute to the economic development of the region. The promotion of recycling and reusing waste materials has a positive impact on numerous industries while also protecting people’s safety and health. The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi improves the quality of the waste management services and thus contributes to the emirate’s achievement of environmental objectives.
Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. (2016). Licensing and enforcement policy for waste sector. Web.