Muscat: Oman must introduce a landfill tax throughout the Sultanate to prevent households and industries from freely, or illegally, disposing of waste, according to waste management specialists.
A waste tax measure could reduce the burden on government caused by waste management, and encourage waste recycling in residential homes in Oman.
“It’s worked in the United Kingdom. It could work here, as well,” Mike Beedham, Business Development Director of Tradebe, one of the largest waste management treatment companies in the UK, told Times of Oman in an exclusive interview.
“However, it needs to be regulated. They (authorities) need to make sure that people are not landfilling or they are not just dumping or fly tipping,” he said.
Beedham was recently in Oman to speak at the Waste and Environmental Services Conference held at Oman International Exhibition Center. In the Unied Kingdom, people or businesses pay tax on top of normal landfill fees if they bury waste in landfill sites.
However, the public can receive tax credits if the waste from landfill is sent to be recycled, incinerated or re-used.
“It makes people start to think that they should recycle waste or shouldn’t go for disposal,” Beedham added.
Steve Halls, Chairman of Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment - Oman, told Times of Oman that the same model exists in Australia and could easily be adapted in Oman.
“If you, as a private individual, want to take waste to a landfill, you get charged an amount of money, which is the same in Australia. So the incentive to you is to reduce the waste you produce,” he said.
“There is no way that they adjust the amount they charge you based upon how much waste you produce. It’s a fixed fee. It’s a collection fee. In Australia, it’s around 200-300 Australian Dollar per year, depending on where you live. It’s based on the location of houses. It’s a significant amount,” Halls said.
Oman has nearly 317 dumpsites and four landfills. The Sultanate produced about 1.85 million tonnes of municipal waste in 2015, and is projected to reach 2.04 tonnes by 2040. Further, authorities continue discussing proposals that recycling must be performed at the household level, before waste is disposed of.
On Monday, Oman’s Be’ah agency - responsible for solid waste management - said it plans to use solid waste as fuel in ocean water desalination plants.
“If you look at the current exchange rates, it could be around OMR50-70 per year per household. That’s not an insubstantial cost, because waste disposal here is proportionately higher and the cost of collecting waste is also proportionately higher than in Australia,” Halls said.
Further, authorities must look at the size of households and locations if they want to introduce landfill taxes it in the Sultanate, added Halls.