Improper waste management incurs loss of $1.7b annually

April 20, 2022 - 17:23

TEHRAN – Improper waste management brings the environmental damage amounting to 448 trillion rials (nearly $1.7 billion) to the country, Hassan Pasandideh, director of the waste management office of the Department of Environment (DOE), has announced.

Today, one of the most serious problems of the country’s environment is improper management of all municipal, household, industrial, hospital, and hazardous wastes, which has caused environmental pollution and a negative impact on the quality and quantity of biological resources (water, soil, and air), he explained.

Developed countries recycle nearly 70 percent of the total waste, but in Iran, an estimated 10 to 17 percent is recycled, which shows that we are weak in segregation at source, he lamented.

He went on to say that the most important problems and obstacles in waste management in the country are the lack of implementation of the national program by setting specific goals, lack of necessary control in decision-making, lack of proper organizational, executive, and operational structure in related organizations, lack of priority on environmental issues, especially waste management in urban, rural, medical, industrial and agricultural sectors.

Developed countries recycle nearly 70 percent of the total waste, but in Iran, an estimated 10 to 17 percent is recycled. Specifically, the first law that deals with the issue of waste is the "Waste Management Law" approved by the Majlis [Iranian Parliament] in 2004, with no revision in over 17 years.

One of the most important environmental problems in the country is the issue of improper management of urban and rural wastes, especially in the northern provinces, he further highlighted.

He estimated the amount of waste produced in Mazandaran and Gilan provinces as 3,500 and 300 tons per day, respectively.

Proper implementation of waste management programs in these two provinces and promoting education and community members’ attention to their social responsibility towards the environment, creating a suitable platform for non-governmental sector participation and encouraging private sector investment, the introduction of appropriate technologies, and utilization of knowledge-based firms in this sector will lead to the development of waste recycling, which will lead to sustainable job opportunities for local communities, and economic benefits for all sectors, even citizens, he suggested.

Iranians produce 50,000 tons of waste per day

Per capita waste production in European countries is 300 to 350 grams, and in Iran, it is 700 grams and sometimes up to one kilogram, which unfortunately a very small part of it is separated and recycled.

With an average per capita of 700 grams to 1 kg, Iranians produce more than 50,000 tons of waste per day, which is basically twice the world standard.

This situation is worse in the capital city of Tehran. The per capita waste production in Tehran is 750 to 800 grams per person daily. In fact, every person in Tehran produces about 5 times their own weight of waste every year.

According to statistics, about 8,000 tons of waste is produced daily in Tehran, nearly 17 percent of which is recycled, and the rest is landfilled, while in the developed world 70 percent of the waste is recycled and 30 percent is buried.

Many countries have been so successful that some even claim to reduce waste to zero by 2030, and some are looking to generate energy from waste.

In Iran, it requires the promotion of a culture that must begin in schools, or governments must adopt incentive and punishment systems to reduce waste production and make separation at source into a culture among Iranian families.

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