Times of Oman
Aug 30, 2015 LAST UPDATED AT 02:53 PM GMT
Under Cover - Muscat to see new bins soon
May 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
A view of existing garbage bins at Central Business District. Photo - SHABIN E

Forget the overflowing waste containers where you dump domestic waste every day even as flies swarm, cats feast, and dogs roam around it... Bury the memories of walking past dumpsters holding your nose tightly to escape the unpleasant odour… Muscat Municipality will soon install state-of-the-art underground waste bins with an aim to give the city a clean look.

Overground waste bins will become a thing of the past with the introduction of new units, which consist of a receiver drum and container. Refuse has to be deposited in the receiver unit at the street level. It goes straight into container encased in metal frame and sunk inside a concrete sleeve. The garbage collection cars will empty the containers everyday using hydraulic lifts.

The civic body officials have decided to pilot the project in Muttrah Business District (MBD) and Central Banking District (CBD), two busy localities in the capital region, in June this year before extending it to other areas. The company, which won the tender, has already conducted a field survey. The installation will begin after obtaining permission for re-laying utility cables (electricity, water and telecom).

"MBD and CBD will look cleaner with the introduction of underground waste collection bins," says Ahmed Noori Al Raisi, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Directorate of Health Affairs, Muscat Municipality.
"The two locations have plenty of business establishments, restaurants and supermarkets. Those are the most happening places in the capital. The locations are ideal to launch the grand project."

Cities in many developed countries have switched to the underground system, considered to be the most-efficient waste management method. "It is successfully implemented in many cities around the world. I am sure that it will work well in Muscat too," Ahmed sounds optimistic.

The new system, according to health officials, works in perfect harmony with the environment. Waste spillage never happens as the refuse goes directly into the underground container. As a result, stench does not emanate even if the organic waste begins to decompose. Unlike the overground containers, the clean receiver unit will not act as a breeding ground for pests.

Another major advantage is that children, adults and even people with physical disabilities can easily run the units. "It is easy to operate the dumping bins. Users have to open the drum and put refuse directly into the properly covered, elevated receiver drums. They should not worry about the capacity as each unit consists of four containers," says an official of the company, which executes the project for the municipality.

The first phase focuses on replacing all the overground bins with the new bins, while the second phase look into the recycling aspect. "We will go into the crucial second phase after installing the units all over Muscat. The quantity of recyclable waste will definitely increase in the second phase," he adds.

Waste collection
Meanwhile, the municipality has intensified its drive to do away with waste bins from public places. Officials claim that the campaign, which began in Azaiba and Mawaleh in December 2012, has gained further momentum with the active participation of residents. "The project to get rid of public waste bins began in Azaiba and Mawaleh in December 2012 by distributing trash bins in 500 households. They have been asked to keep the 120-litre properly-covered, green bins inside their homes, and take it out of their homes before 5 a.m. everyday. The plan worked well, and by the end of 2013 the number of houses covered rose to 3,000. We aim to add 2,500 more homes by the end of 2014," informs Ahmed Al Raisi.

The residents' enthusiasm to co-operate with the initiative was evident from the beginning. "Our neighbourhood looks clean and tidy by 6 am, as the municipality trucks collect the waste from our premises early in the morning," a Mawaleh resident told Hi Weekly.

Officials organise extensive awareness programmes before launching the programme in each neighbourhood.
"We begin with conducting awareness programmes, where we educate residents on the need to get rid of public waste bins. Then, we distribute individual trash bins. It is a time consuming process," says Ahmed Al Raisi.

"The project aims to keep Muscat clean and beautiful. We want to ensure that people breathe fresh air and lead a healthy life. Earlier, waste collection was the sole responsibility of the municipality. Residents never took it seriously. However, this project demands their participation and co-operation," he adds.

Change in timing
It may take a long time to phase out the garbage bins from public places, but the health officials have decided to enhance the daily waste collection drive in all areas that fall under the municipality. To begin with, they have revised the collection timing.

The officials have requested the residents to dump domestic waste in the bins only between 4pm and 12 midnight everyday. The municipality staff will clear the trash before 7 a.m. so that the bins remain empty during the day. "Our objective is to keep the bins empty during the day. It goes a long way in maintaining public health. Moreover, Muscat sports a cleaner look during the day," says Ahmed Al Raisi.

Advantages of using underground waste bins
•    Keeps environment clean
•    No unpleasant odours
•    No parasite growth on the surface of the bins
•    No sound and visual pollution
•    Fast and simple to use
•    Strong and resistant
•    Highly secured…….

How to deposit waste in underground bins?
Underground waste bins consist of a receiver drum and container. Waste has to be deposited in the receiver unit at the street level. It goes straight into a container encased in metal frame and sunk inside a concrete sleeve. The garbage collection cars will empty the containers once in a day using hydraulic lifts.

Change in garbage collection timing
In an attempt to give Muscat a cleaner look during the day, the municipality officials have decided to enhance the daily waste collection drive. Residents should dump the waste in public bins between 4 pm and 12 midnight, which will be cleared by 7 a.m. the next day. The initiative aims to keep bins empty during the day, which eventually will keep flies, cats and dogs away from the dumpsters.

Quotes: Ahmed Noori Al Raisi, Deputy Director for Environmental Health, Directorate of Health Affairs, Muscat Municipality: "Muscat Municipality is working hard to make the city clean and green. We have launched many waste disposal programmes, which are functioning satisfactorily. The underground waste collection bins will keep the city clean and save it from mosquitoes and unpleasant odours. Moreover, it will give Muscat a pleasant image."

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