|Basma in action, presenting her graduation project to a panel of judges!|
A couple of weeks ago, I sat down for an interview with Basma, to ask her about waste management and recycling in Jordan, and to also find out about the techniques that went into producing the amazing project. In this post, I will share with you Part 1 of the interview about waste management, along with pictures of her visit to one of the landfills of the country. Part 2, which will be posted in a few days time, will be about the art side of the project, focussing on the process of basically turning waste into art... Enjoy the interview!
|Interviewing Basma (left). It was a beautiful sunny day, so a glass of pink lemonade and a couple of hours in my backyard were much needed!|
What was the main purpose behind your graduation project?
The purpose of the whole project was not only to show people the benefits and the art that can be created from recycling and using materials that are usually considered “waste”, but it was mainly to highlight the challenges that Jordan is facing in terms of waste management; it is a serious issue that not many people are aware of, and it is a problem that needs to be addressed. Per day, in Jordan, 7000 tonnes of waste are generated. Specifically, in Amman along with the neighbouring Zarqa and Russayfeh, 3500 tonnes of waste PER DAY are generated! This amount can also double and even triple depending on the season. For example, during Ramadan, the amount of waste generated per day is considerably higher than the usual, since people tend to consume more during this month.
How did you get an insight into the reality of waste management in Jordan? What can you tell us about what you have learned?
For my project, I went to Al-Ghabawi, which is the only sanitary landfill in Jordan (out of the 3-4 landfills in Jordan). In this Ghabawi landfill, there are nine cells for the disposal of waste; each cell should last for three years or slightly more. The cells are constructed in a way where they do not affect precious groundwater. In Jordan, we rely heavily on groundwater as a natural resource, and sometimes in landfills when they burry waste in cells, harmful liquids from the waste can reach the groundwater and pollute it. So the cells in Ghabawi are covered in a way that protects the groundwater from harmful wastewater where the liquids gather in a dedicated area for disposal.
Another great aspect of Al-Ghabawi landfill is that when the waste is pressed, Methane gas is produced, and now this is being extracted for electricity use. This is only being done in Al-Ghabawi landfill, so this is a very good step towards more sustainable waste management in Jordan. Also, the way in which the waste in Ghabawi is buried is sustainable in itself, as one layer of waste is buried first, followed by a layer of soil and so on. This process ensures that years from now, the soil becomes fertile. Because the area of the landfill is huge, it really is enormous, GAM is thinking of turning this landfill in the future into either a golf course/park or into different lands for agricultural use.
|The Greater Amman Municipality (GAM) sign at Al-Ghabawi landfill.|
|The Al-Ghabawi landfill... What a sight!|
Why it is important to separate and recycle our waste?
We are using up massive lands for waste management, and this highlights the importance of recycling, because if people make it a habit to separate their waste and recycle it, a lot less land can be used, and we save more land for better and more productive purposes. Also, the Ghabawi project is supposed to last us till 2027, where all cells will be filled by then to their maximum capacity (we have already used up 3 cells). So soon enough, we will need to find more land to basically dump our waste in.
Another significant point is that the biological time and process for waste to decompose differs depending on the nature of the item. For example, paper takes around 3 months to decompose, while plastic takes up to 800 years and glass up to 4000 years! So when the waste is separated, it becomes easier to manage waste according to the time it takes to decompose. This saves a lot of land, money & of course it is just way more sustainable. And of course, needless to say, by recycling products, new products can be produced and reused out of old ones.
|Waste disposal in action!|
You mention that the Ghabawi landfill is huge. How big is it exactly?
The whole project in Ghabawi is comprised of 9 cells; each cell is 120,000m2. The depth of each cell is 15m and they keep filling the cells deep down till it’s filled up to 5m above the ground. So basically the size of each cell is massive, and just imagine how big the entire Ghawabee project is with nine cells in total.
From the interviews that you have conducted with Greater Amman Municipality (GAM), what can you tell us about their efforts to encourage recycling in Amman? What are your thoughts on the future of recycling in Jordan?
Now GAM has started small initiatives and projects to promote recycling by households in neighbourhoods in Amman. The first of these is in Umm Uthaina, where they started an awareness campaign and for every house/apartment, they installed three recycling bins: one green, one blue and one black (which is the logo of my project). The green bin is for paper/dry products, the blue for moist products that may contain water, and the black for other products such as glass and plastic. They started in Umm Uthaina first, before they expand it to the rest of Amman, to test the waters and see how people will respond to such an initiative. And so far so good! If you go to Umm Uthaina now, you will notice the bins in front of each property, and people are enjoying the whole process of recycling.
I think the future of recycling in Amman and in Jordan as a whole is looking bright. There has been a noticeable rise in the amount of green initiatives in the country, some particularly focussing on encouraging individuals to recycle. Cozmo(a large supermarket chain in Amman), has recently installed a large recycling station in their parking lot, and it has been very successful. Also, there have been quite a number of new factories that specialise in recycling waste. For example, there is one factory in Amman in specific that recycles glass and reuses it creatively by producing glass for households, swimming pools and offices. All this, in addition to GAM initiatives of course, proves that there is hope that Jordanians will make a habit out of recycling!
Be sure to stay tuned for Part 2 of the interview about the techniques that went into producing the eco-friendly project. Here's a sneak peek:
ALL IMAGES BELONG TO GREEN EVE/ANOUD AL-FAWWAZ, BASMA BATAYNEH AND SHADY ADWAN.