by Mohammad Ghazal | Feb 13, 2014

Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji (2nd left) attends a meeting held by EDAMA Association in Amman on Thursday to discuss the potential of using waste as an energy source (Petra photo)

AMMAN — The potential for generating money from garbage is “huge” in Jordan, as several international companies have shown interest in investing in projects to turn waste into energy, officials said Thursday.

Officials called for facilitating more investments and public-private partnerships to enable the implementation of projects that turn waste into energy, thus creating jobs, preserving the environment and making profits.

In Jordan, each individual generates one kilogramme of solid waste every day, while 16,000 tonnes of solid waste are generated daily throughout the country.

“Many companies from Brazil, the US, Germany and France… come to us to invest in our waste to produce energy,” Amman Mayor Aqel Biltaji said Thursday at a meeting held by EDAMA Association under the theme: “Waste to Energy: Challenges and Opportunities”.

“We want Amman to be a model when it comes to turning waste into energy… such projects will play a key role in creating jobs,” said Biltaji at the meeting, held with the support of USAID and ECO Consult.

Edama — Arabic for sustainability — is a local business association that seeks “innovative solutions for energy and water independence and productivity”, according to its website.

Highlighting the potential for business in this field, EDAMA Association CEO Hala Zawati said: “Jordan is a very poor country when it comes to resources, but in terms of waste, Jordan has plenty,” noting that this can be turned into an advantage.

About 32 companies have submitted bids to the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources to implement projects to generate energy from waste in the country’s 17 landfills, participants at the meeting said, calling for speeding up efforts to decide on these projects.

Official figures indicate that 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 say that waste increases by 3 per cent in Jordan every year.

Raouf Dabbas, senior adviser to the Ministry of Environment, said no significant efforts have been made in Jordan recently to tap into the potential in this regard.

“Management of waste and projects using waste to make energy help in supporting green economies. Clean energy and good money can come out of landfills, and the government needs to do more in this regard,” said Dabbas.

Hussein Mheidat, head of the local communities council at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, said a strategy is being drafted on how best to use the country’s 17 landfills and manage solid waste.

The strategy, which will include detailed procedures, is expected to be ready before the end of this year, he noted.—-officials