By Hana Namrouqa – Apr 28,2018

AMMAN — A new draft law on the management of waste is now in its final phases to becoming Jordan’s first separate contemporary waste management law that follows the international “polluter pays” principle, according to sector insiders.

Environment experts described the draft law as both “timely” and “imperative”, indicating that its core objective is to define the role of every government agency in the management process of waste and to unify the reference in this domain.

Ministry of Environment Secretary General Ahmad Qatarneh underlined that the new draft law regulates the relation and role of every institution, be it governmental or private, in the management process of waste.

“Under this new draft law, the role of every institution dealing with waste has become clear and this is rather important as we have in Jordan 13 agencies that tackle or are concerned with waste management,” Qatarneh told The Jordan Times.

Also this is the first time a law touches upon the waste to energy process, according to Qatarneh, describing it as “an important development”.

“The law encourages and regulates public-private partnership in waste management while tackling the issue of illegal and random dumping of waste at undesignated areas. Most importantly, it introduces stricter penalties against those who pollute the environment, whether individuals or facilities,” he underlined.

“We have completed discussions over the draft law with the Lower House’s committee on health and environment. It is now with the Cabinet, which will refer the final draft law to Parliament for final discussions,” the government official said.

President of the Jordan Environment Union Omar Shoshan hailed the introduction of a separate contemporary waste management law based on the “polluter pays” principle, noting that it intensifies penalties on polluters and defines the role of every agency in the process of waste management.

“It is a good draft law; it is a milestone to have a separate law for the management of waste in Jordan. And what is also vital is that it made the role of every ministry clear in dealing with waste and gave the supervision role to the Ministry of Environment,” Shohan told The Jordan Times.

He highlighted the importance of introducing heftier fines against those who pollute, especially individuals who litter.

“In Jordan, we have sufficient control over industries when it comes to waste disposal, but what is lacking is effective control on individual littering. The draft is introducing heftier fines and I’m in favour of this to stem the phenomenon,” Shoshan said.

While the environment expert welcomed the draft law, describing it as “a progressive contemporary law”, he said that the law left out several grey areas unhandled.

“I wished that it tackled radioactive waste and sludge as those two domains should not have been excluded from the draft law,” Shoshan underlined.

Just as the draft law entails penalties against polluters, it should also have featured articles on “incentives” for those who abide by the law or entail motivations that encourage people to sort out waste for example, the environmentalist added.