by Hana Namrouqa | May 16, 2013 | 23:15 Updated: May 16, 2013 | 23:15

AMMAN — With less than 5 per cent of Jordan’s solid waste being recycled, environment experts on Wednesday called for setting up a national waste management plan to reduce trash and encourage recycling.

Around 2.13 million tonnes of waste, and 18,000 tonnes of medical and hazardous materials, are generated annually in Jordan, according to experts and workers in the field, who said that waste increases by 3 per cent in Jordan every year.

The experts also called for raising public awareness on recycling and urged the government to distribute sorting bins in different neighbourhoods to encourage people to separate household waste.

They made the remarks during a seminar held at Wild Jordan on recycling and its role in saving the environment. The Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature organised the event in cooperation with the Dutch embassy in Amman and the Friends of the Environment Society.

Herman Huisman, waste management expert from the Dutch ministry of infrastructure and the environment, elaborated during the seminar on the best practices for recycling from the Netherlands.

Huisman said that 50 per cent of the waste generated in his country is recycled, noting that Holland is one of the top five countries in recycling in Europe.

Meanwhile, Thomas Stocker, co-owner of a local recycling company, said during the seminar that 52 per cent of solid waste in Jordan is organic, 17 per cent plastic, 13 per cent paper and cardboard, and the rest varies between glass and metal among other types of waste.

Stocker said that the waste management sector in Jordan remains untapped, noting that there is potential and opportunities in turning trash into a source of income and jobs.

Safe disposal of solid waste in Jordan remains a concern, with most of the Kingdom’s municipalities — except for Amman — disposing of solid waste in open dumpsites with no lining, management or biogas collection, according to environment experts.

On average, 2,200 tonnes of waste are collected daily in the capital and sent to the Ghabawi Landfill, which is situated some 25 kilometres east of Amman and serves the capital and the central region.—-experts