A recycling plant which specialises in handling toxins from electronics waste will protect water used by farmers.
Enviroserve UAE in Dubai Industrial Park will be the largest electronic waste management facility in the region, capable of treat 39,000 tonnes of electronics annually.
These could otherwise be sold abroad illegally or thrown into a UAE landfill, causing environmental damage.
Circuitboards containing metals such as arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury can decompose in landfills, seeping potentially carcinogenic toxins into soil and underground aquifers. These toxins can make their way into food and cause health problems. Much of the water used for growing UAE produce comes from underground water sources that could be contaminated by improperly disposed electronics.
The Dh120 million project, backed by the Swiss Government Export Finance Agency, is one of the largest foreign direct investments in environmental management and will open by the end of the year.
“Our new integrated recycling plant will be a true game-changer in electronic and specialised waste recycling for Dubai and the wider Middle East region,” said Stuart Fleming, group chief executive of Enviroserve UAE.
“At a higher cost, we’re using Swiss technology that will basically treat e-waste with zero to air and zero to landfill cost.”
The plant will be completely solar-powered with photovoltaic panels installed throughout the building. It will recycle electronics used by consumers as well as industrial appliances and military gear, including specialised waste such as aerosol cans and light bulbs.
The centre will also be the only dedicated refrigerant reclaim facility in the UAE.
“At Dubai Industrial Park, we strongly support environment-friendly solutions as part of our strategic commitment to promoting sustainable manufacturing and socially responsible practices,” said Abdulla Belhoul, chief executive of Dubai Wholesale City, which includes the park.
“We are confident the project will spearhead the development of a sustainable electronic waste management market in the region.”
The UAE is one of the region’s leading electronic waste generators. A UN-sponsored project showed that the average resident generates 17.2 kilograms of “e-waste” annually, with Kuwait residents producing the same amount, followed by Bahrain residents at 16.4kg.
E-waste generation in the GCC was estimated to be 600,000 tonnes in 2015, and is expected to reach 900,000 tonnes in 2020.