Climate Impact of Solid Waste

By: Mousa Al Shaikh and Nivine Issa

Date Published: September 18, 2019

Download this article



Climate change is acknowledged as one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Increased emissions of Green House Gases (GHGs) have raised Earth temperature by 0.8o Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels (Richard J. Millar, 2017). Impacts of climate change will be seen worldwide, in fact, such impacts havealready been witnessed across the globe.

The climate change dilemma is often referred to as a product of the burning of fossil fuels. However, taking a thorough look at the waste management practices adopted worldwide, it can be concluded that consumption patterns and the overall waste management industry are other significant contributors to climate change.The call for climate mitigation and adaption has been rising for the past years and all nations are expected to contribute and mitigate their emissions.

The Arabian Gulf States (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia,Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman) are no exception to this call.Arabian Gulf states produced 94 million metric tonnes of waste in 2015 (Frost & Sullivan, 2016). While efforts in minimizing waste generation in some GCC countries are still minimal, others are changing their waste management practices on a rapid pace and responding to the growing need for sustainable solutions.This article discusses waste management impacts on climate change, highlighting the climate impact of common waste management practices. It discusses the waste management sector in the UAE and displays the projected emissions of generated waste during 2017.

Climate Impact of Waste

It is commonly known that warming of the atmosphere is occurring due to the greenhouse effect, this can be defined as the entrapment of heat due to the existence of certain gases in the atmosphere, such gases are known as Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). A wide range of greenhouse gases has been identified, however, the most common are CO2, CH4, N2O and fluorinated gases. Each of these gases holds a Global WarmingPotential (GWP) value. GWP is a measure of how much energy the emissions of 1 tonne of gas will absorb over a given period of time, relative to the emissions of 1 tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2).

Methane (CH4) for instance, holds a GWP value of 28 (IPCC, 2014), this means that one tonne of methane has a warming potential equivalent to 28 tonnes of CO2.Generated waste, through the different stages of its lifecycle; collection, segregation, transfer, treatment, and disposal, contributes to all major Greenhouse Gases. In fact, 5% of global emissions in 2016 we regenerated from solid waste management, excluding transportation (WorldBank, 2017). Methane is considered the main contributor to GHG emissions from the waste management sector. Methane along with CO2 are generated in the waste management sector due to the decomposition of organic materials.

However, as the emitted CO2 is of biogenic origin, it is not included in reported national totals.Emissions from the waste sector largely depend on the waste segregation scheme followed in the country, it’s segregation and eventual disposal methods. As shown in the standard waste hierarchy in the figure below, the higher the country goes in the hierarchy, the more environmentally friendly and sustainable the waste management system is. GHG emissions are most produced during the last two stages of the hierarchy; energy recovery and disposal. The following section is a description of the GHG emissions associated with the most common energy recovery and disposal strategies.

Thermal Treatment

Thermal waste treatment refers to mass-burn incineration, co-incineration (i.e. replacing fossil fuels with refuse-derived fuel (RDF) in conventional industrial processes, such as cement kilns), pyrolysis and gasification. Worldwide, mass-burn incineration is the most common technology of thermal treatment. While pyrolysis and gasification are considered Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT) options and emerging technologies, they are not as common as mass burning and RDF.

Emissions associated with thermal treatment largely depend on the technology used as well as on the waste being incinerated. For instance, if the incinerated waste is derived from organic sources, such as food, paper and cardboard, the resulting carbon dioxide is biogenic and short term, however, if plastics constitute a high percentage of the incinerated waste, the resulting carbon is derived from fossil fuels and is long term.Typically, the incineration of 1 Mg of municipal waste in MSW incinerators is associated with the production/release of about 0.7 to 1.2 Mg of carbon dioxide (CO2 output). The proportion of carbon of biogenic origin is usually in the range of 33 to 50 percent (IPCC, 2001). In addition to carbon dioxide, small portions of nitrogen oxide are emitted with the incineration of waste, this amount depends on the air pollution control device in use and nitrogen content of the waste.

N2O emissions are negligible in most cases as it is emitted in very small amounts.If energy/heat is recovered during the incineration process, GHG savings can be achieved. The amount of savings depends largely on the power/heat source it is replacing. Savings are achieved due to the fact that a large portion of the induced carbon dioxide from the incineration process is biogenic, additionally, in many cases the residual of the incineration process (ferrous metal, aluminum and ash) is recovered and used as secondary aggregate rather than using virgin material.

Mechanical Biological Treatment

MBT refers to a wide range of technologies that function for the pre-treatment and segregation of waste into non-organic and organic waste. MBT is often accompanied with another treatment option for the non-organic portion of the waste, this can be an RDF or a mass-incineration plant. The organic portion of waste is composted (stabilized) and later disposed in landfills. It is important to note that the compost of the MBT process cannot be used for agriculture as it is polluted.

Thus, MBT does not recover material nor energy from waste, it is a pre-treatment of waste for further recovery options. MBT is common in countries where it is expensive to dispose waste, as this method reduces the overall volume and mass of waste, hence reducing disposal costs. The main climate benefits of MBT are from the reduction of biodegradable waste going to landfills; hence, the reduction of methane gas in landfills, and from the recovery of the non-organic portion of waste.

Composting is done in a controlled environment, reducing methane emissions of the residue compost when disposed to landfills, also, if anaerobic digestion used for composting, the generated biogas can be used for energy generation. The non-organic portion can be further recovered for energy in RDF or mass-incineration plants. According to research, MBT reduces the landfill gas emission potential by 90%compared with untreated MSW. The remaining emission potential is characterized by half-lives of 15 – 30 years, about 10 time longer than for untreated MSW. Researchers conclude that the slow rate of residualCH4 emission means that methane oxidizing organisms in the cover soil will, in all probability, oxidize all of the CH4 released. Additionally, the residual MBT waste has a very high density when compacted, this creates an environment with very low hydraulic conductivity, thus, leachate production and subsequently its nitrogen and carbon content are reduced by up to 95% and 80-90% respectively (AEA Technology, 2001).

Composting and Anaerobic Digestion

Both composting and anaerobic digestion are processes that include the degradation of organic waste and result in a compost that can be used for soil enhancement. The main difference between the two is that composting is done in an aerobic environment, this can happen in an open or a closed area, while anaerobic digestion happens in a controlled oxygen-free environment. Successful composting highly depends on source separation of organic material to avoid contamination of the final product.

In composting, the decomposition of waste (organic waste such as food waste and green waste) is done by micro-organisms in the presence of air to form a product known as humus. This product is added as fertilizer to the soil and used in carbon sequestration. In the past, composting was mostly carried out in households but recently it is carried out in a commercial scale as centralized composting systems. These systems can be either open, semi-open (windrows which are positioned in such a way that it prevents rainfall from interrupting with the composting process) or a closed system where the temperature and humidity of the compost are controlled. The GHG associated with the composting process are CO2, CH4 and N2O. The resulting CO2 is biogenic and therefore does not contribute to the country’s GHG emission inventory. IPCC guidelines for GHG inventories provide the default values for GHG emissions of the composting process, for every kg of waste composted 4 g of CH4 and 0.24 g of N2O are emitted.

In anaerobic digestion, GHG emissions arising from the decomposition of organic matter are much less than it is in aerobic digestion/composting as it is in a more controlled environment. Emission factors set by theIPCC for anaerobic digestion are 1 g CH4/kg waste treated whereas N2O emissions are assumed negligible in this treatment process.

Emission savings associated with composting and anaerobic digestion arise from utilizing the produced compost to replace synthetic fertilizers. It is estimated that GHG savings range from 2 kg CO2-e to 79 kgCO2-e per tonne of composted waste. (Christensen, 2009) Additionally, applying the compost on soil results in a “locking up” effect that stores carbon in soil.


Landfills are facilities used for the disposal of waste. Historically, landfills were dump sites where waste is disposed without serious considerations of its adverse impacts, however, modern landfills are well engineered and designed in a way that limits any interaction of these facilities with the environment preventing possible contamination. The degree at which landfills are managed and controlled varies greatly from one country to another. Landfills can be categorized into several types depending on the type of waste it handles (municipal solid waste, industrial waste, construction and demolition waste…etc.), it can be also categorized based on the way it is managed (open dumpsite and sanitary landfill).

Methane emissions in landfills are considered the biggest contributor to GHG emissions of the waste sector contributing around 700 Mt CO2-e in 2009, this is well above the next largest source of GHG emissions o fthe same sector, that is solid waste incineration, which contributed around 40 Mt CO2-e for the same year(Jean Bogner, 2008). The quantity of methane emissions generating from a landfill depend on a variety of factors such as; waste composition, landfill management, Landfill Gas (LFG) management, cover material and climate.

Considering the various factors that contribute to GHG yields in landfills, it is almost impossible to provide estimates of GHG emissions per tonne of waste in these facilities. It is important to note that GHG savings can be achieved in landfills, this can be done through the collection of landfill gas generated in landfills to use it as energy source. The value of these savings largely depends on the efficiency of the collection system as well as on the source of energy LFG is replacing. Additionally, landfills can be considered carbon stores where recalcitrant materials that undergo minimal decomposition in the anaerobic conditions are stored, for instance it is suggested that GHG savings of 132 to 185 kg CO2-e per tonne of wet, mixed MSW input for carbon stored in well-managed, European landfills. (Manfredi, 2009)

Waste Trends in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates, with cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi being some of the fastest growing cities worldwide, has a per capita waste generation of 1.66 kg/capita/day which is well above the 0.74kg/capita/day average global per capita waste generation and the Middle East and North Africa average of0.81 kg/capita/day (World Bank , 2018). Fast-paced growth, recent booms in construction, increasing populations, and rapid urbanization, are some of the main reasons behind the high waste generation rate.The following shows the waste generation rates in the Middle East and North Africa region by country in2018. The UAE is the current second highest waste generating country in the region after Bahrain withKuwait and Saudi Arabia falling just after.

The United Arab Emirates, with cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi being some of the fastest growing cities worldwide, has a per capita waste generation of 1.66 kg/capita/day which is well above the 0.74 kg/capita/day average global per capita waste generation and the Middle East and North Africa average of0.81 kg/capita/day (World Bank , 2018). Fast-paced growth, recent booms in construction, increasing populations, and rapid urbanization, are some of the main reasons behind the high waste generation rate.The following shows the waste generation rates in the Middle East and North Africa region by country in2018. The UAE is the current second highest waste generating country in the region after Bahrain withKuwait and Saudi Arabia falling just after.

Although the population of a certain country is considered the major driver of the overall waste generation, this was not the case for UAE. Other factors such as; laws regulating the waste management sector and dominant economic activities may play a major role in this fluctuation. For instance, as construction and demolition waste makes 47% of the overall waste generation (Statistics Center, 2016), the amount of construction activities at a certain year plays a major role in the overall waste generation of that year. This can be confirmed when the overall waste generation for a certain year is compared against the added value in the construction industry for the same year.

The below graph demonstrates the above and shows that despite population increase, the waste generation fluctuated significantly irrespective of the population. In fact, the volume of generated waste in 2009 was35.3 million tonnes and 34.7 million tonnes in 2016, despite the population being almost 21% more.

The three major emirates in the UAE, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah generate the majority of waste with Dubai constituting more than 55% of the waste generated in the country.

The below shows the quantity and percentage distribution of municipality waste by emirate in 2017:

The below pie charts show the waste composition and management in the UAE as collated by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority in 2017.

As shown below, construction waste makes up 67% of waste generated during 2017 while municipal waste at 16%. The overarching waste management technique in the UAE is still dumping and landfilling with an overwhelming 86% as shown below.

Waste Emissions in the UAE

Approach and methodology

As in the case of a national Greenhouse Gas inventory, IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Inventories were followed. The latest set of guidelines was issued in 2006, however, a very recent refinement was announced in May 2019. The refinement is subject to final copyedit and layout before its final publication, it proposes some changes that have considerable effects on the results of the inventory. Therefore, in this paper two sets of results will be presented, one following the 2006 guidelines and the other adopting the changes made in the 2019 refinement. A comparison of the two will be made in the discussion section.

In order to have an accurate inventory of GHG emissions a comprehensive dataset should be in place, this includes country-specific parameters, detailed information about waste management facilities (landfills, recycling stations, incinerators…etc.) in the subject country as well as recent and historical waste generation inventories.

In the case of the UAE, data availability has confined the study with Tier 2 methods as Tier 3 requires country-specific parameters that are not in place for the UAE. Tier 2 methods use the IPCC First Order Decay(FOD) method and some default parameters, this requires good quality country-specific data on current and historical waste disposal. FOD assumes that the Degradable Organic Carbon (DOC) in waste decays slowly throughout a few decades during which CH4 and CO2 are formed, therefore, it takes into consideration the degradable organic compounds accumulated from the previous years. Considering this, it is good practice for reporting entities to use disposal data for at least 50 years to account for the cumulative effect of disposed waste. For this paper, as no historical data on accumulated organic matter is available, only the emissions generated from the waste generated in the UAE during 2017 were calculated regardless of the emissions resulting from organic matter accumulated over the years. Also, considering the way generated waste is managed in the UAE, GHG emissions were only estimated for the waste disposed in landfills and treated through composting. Other ways of waste disposal were omitted as they make less than 0.5% of the overall waste generation. All waste statistics used in the report were collected online from the FederalCompetitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA).

The basic formulas by which CH4 emissions generated in landfills can be calculated that we used for the calculations are shown below.


DDOCm = mass of decomposable DOC deposited, Gg

W = mass of waste deposited, Gg

DOC = degradable organic carbon in the year of deposition, fraction, Gg C/Gg waste

DOCf = fraction of DOC that can decompose (fraction)

MCF = CH4 correction factor for aerobic decomposition in the year of deposition (fraction)

Lo = CH4 generation potential, Gg CH4

F = fraction of CH4 in generated landfill gas (volume fraction)

16/12 = molecular weight ratio CH4/C (ratio)

For composting, the following formula was followed.

𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑒𝑑 𝐸𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠= = 𝑀 ∙ 𝐸𝐹= ∙ 10?@


Induced Emissionsi = total emissions of gas ’i’, Gg

M = Mass of organic waste treated

EFi = Emissions Factor for Gas ’i’ g i/kg

The Default Parameters Extracted from IPCC Guidelines Are:

• Fraction of Degradable Organic Carbon which decomposes (DOCf) is 0.5 as per the 2006 IPCC guidelines. In the 2019 refinement, the value changed to 0.7 for highly degradable waste (that is food and grass. This value was used for municipality waste, agricultural waste and sludge of wastewater), and remained 0.5 for bulk/uncategorized waste (this value was used for industrial and construction and demolition waste as no information is provided on the nature of these waste types)

• Degradable Organic Compound (DOC) values for different waste materials are; paper (0.4), food waste (0.15), textile (0.24), industrial general waste (0.01), agriculture waste (0.2), sludge of wastewater (0.05), construction waste (0.04). These values are recommended by the 2006guidelines and its 2019 refinement.

• Methane Correction Factor (MCF) for the waste disposed in landfills is assumed to be 0.7, that is the value set by the 2019 IPCC refinement for poorly managed semi-aerobic landfills. The same category did not exist in the 2006 guidelines, for that the default value set for uncategorized landfills was used, that is 0.6.

• Oxidation Factor (OF) is 0, that is the value set in the 2006 guidelines and the 2019 refinement for managed, unmanaged and uncategorized waste disposal sites without CH4 oxidising cover.

• Fraction of CH4 of the landfill gas is 50%, that is the value reporters are encouraged to use in both the 2006 guidelines and the 2019 refinement.

• For composting, CH4 emission factor is 4 g CH4/kg waste treated, that is the value recommended by the IPCC on a wet weight basis.

• For composting, N2O emission factor is 0.24 g N2O/kg waste treated, that is the value recommended by the IPCC on a wet weight basis.

• Wastewater sludge generation values provided by FCSA are originating from domestic use.

• Global Warming Potential for CH4 is 21 and for N2O is 310, as per IPCC Second Assessment Report (the values recommended for national reporting of GHGs by the UNFCCC)


The table below shows the estimated CH4 emissions originating from the disposal of waste in landfills per waste type in the UAE. The below volumes of waste were extracted from the 2017 data depicted earlier in this article, from which the CH4 generation in Gg was calculated using the 2006 IPCC guidelines and the newly released 2019 refinement.

Waste type
Dumped waste

CH4 generation
(Gg) – 2006 IPCC

CH4 generation
(Gg) – 2019 IPCC

Municipal waste

Industrial general waste (Nonhazardous)
Agriculture waste
Sludge of wastewater

Construction waste


Total CO2-e.
7,923 Gg CO2-e11,089 Gg CO2-e

For waste treated by composting estimated GHG emissions are shown in the below table.

Waste type

Composted Waste
CH4 generation (Gg)N2O generation (Gg)

Municipal waste
Agriculture waste73,5460.290.02
Sludge of wastewater40,5220.160.01


Total CO2-e.
24.15 Gg CO2-e21.7 Gg CO2-e


The two pie charts below show the emissions per waste type during 2017 as found using the 2019 IPCC refinement and the 2006 guidelines.

As can be seen from the results above, when the 2006 guidelines are followed, construction and demolition waste make the highest GHG contribution of all waste types. In the refinement, municipality waste becomes the highest contributor with 43.5% of the overall GHG generation of the waste sector.

It is considered unique that construction and demolition waste plays a major role in the GHG emissions of the waste sector considering its low DOC and DOCf values, this can be attributed to the high percentage it constitutes of the overall waste generation. Depending on the way C&D waste is managed, emissions from this type of waste may arise from materials such as clay bricks, concrete, fly ash, tires, asphalt concrete, asphalt shingles, drywall, fiberglass insulation, vinyl flooring and wood flooring. One big reason that C&D waste landfills can be a major source of GHG emissions is that these landfills are not managed or controlled as MSW landfills are, MSW landfills would usually have gas and leachate collection systems which help mitigate the emissions associated with the release of these discharges.

Comparing the results attained using the 2006 guidelines and those from the 2019 refinement, it can be concluded that the changes introduced by the 2019 refinement of the IPCC guidelines have a considerable effect on the inventory results. Two specific parameters that had a major influence on the results are thefraction of degradable organic carbon which decomposes (DOCf) and the Methane Correction Factor (MCF).In the 2006 guidelines one DOCf value was introduced for all uncategorized waste, that is 0.5. However, the2019 refinement introduced different DOCf values based on its degree of biodegradability. This was mostrelevant for municipality waste, agriculture waste and sludge of wastewater. For the methane correctionfactor, new categories of landfills were introduced, some of which are most relevant to UAE.

It will be invalid to compare the results obtained in this paper to those reported in National Communications by the Government of UAE to the UNFCCC. As explained previously, this paper calculates the emissions induced from waste deposited during 2017 without taking into consideration the emissions added by the accumulation of degradable organic compounds over the years, which national inventories account for.However, to create an understanding of UAE historical emissions arising from the waste sector, the below table shows the emissions reported to the UNFCCC through national communications.

ReferenceEmissions forReported value
(Gg CO2-e)
First National Communication – 200619942552
Second National Communication – 201020002622
Third National Communication – 201220057122
Fourth National Communication – 201820149802

All the values shown in the above table followed the currently outdated 2006 IPCC guidelines. However, it can be clearly seen that the volumes of GHG due to the waste management sector in the UAE have increased significantly over the years, in fact almost quadrupled in a matter of 20 years.

The first set of results presented in this paper used the same guidelines, however, these values were significantly lower than the latest reported value as it omits historically disposed waste.

It is important to note that the contribution of the waste management sector in the UAE in overall GHG emissions have been reported to be 5.1% in the fourth National Communications Report, which is aligned with the global contribution percentage of waste as mentioned previously in this article.

As the majority of the waste, as officially reported, currently is disposed in dumpsites at a proportion of86%, any effort in diverting waste from landfills will have a significant impact on overall GHG emissions reductions. A specific plan for the UAE which may not be similar to other countries is the significant contribution of construction waste to the overall total, which is why it would be essential to develop an integrated solid waste management system that enforces the principles of circular economy around reducing, reusing, recycling and recovering onto municipal as well as construction and demolition waste.

The Future of Waste in the UAE

The municipal development matters such as waste management are at the top priority for ensuring andsustaining people’s livelihood and satisfaction and continuously enhancing infrastructure systems.

The UAE has recently been ranked first regionally and 5th globally on the IMD World CompetitivenessRanking in 2019, stepping up two rankings above its 7th ranking in 2018. The UAE’s performance globally and regionally is driven by both government and business initiatives, efficiency, technological and scientific infrastructure. The initiatives, targets and plans for an integrated solid waste management system for part of that and are discussed in this section.

The UAE Vision 2021 was launched by H.H Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the closing of aCabinet meeting in 2010. The vision aims to make the UAE among the best countries in the world via six key pillars, one of which focuses on ‘Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure’. One of the targets set out with regards to waste management is to divert 75% of solid waste from landfills. As waste management in the country is managed by local authorities and entities, municipalities, private public partnerships, associations and organizations all contribute to this national target.

For example in Abu Dhabi and as part of the Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, the Emirate aims to invest in infrastructure for treatment, material recovery and disposal of solid waste and provide incentives for the implementation of the 4R’s principle across businesses and consumers. In Abu Dhabi, the center of waste management (Tadweer) was established in 2008 with the full responsibility pertaining to solid waste management policy, strategy, and contractual systems across the emirate. Tadweer operates a MaterialsRecovery Facility where the municipal solid waste is segregated into recyclable streams via a mixture of manual and automated methods, a plastic recycling plant that shreds and pelletizes plastic for use as raw materials in other plastic manufacturing plants and a composting plant that treats green waste. In 2011, a tipping fee was introduced and applied on private companies and government organizations in the aim of reducing projected increase of solid waste generation. Further tariffs are being explored with the legalframework also strengthened to minimize/avoid illegal dumping.

Some of the most recent projects by Tadweer in Abu Dhabi include a landfill gas to energy plant in Al Dhafra, medical and hazardous waste incineration plants in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and biodiesel production facilities from used oils all to be situated in Eco-park next to Al Dhafra landfill.

In Dubai, construction and demolition waste constitute the highest proportion of annual generated waste and similarly to Abu Dhabi, Dubai has also implemented many initiatives towards an integrated solid waste management system. In terms of recycling, private companies collect waste paper and old corrugated containers (OCC), while the Dubai Municipality also started private public partnerships for the operation of a C&D recycling facility (completed in 2010), a materials recovery facility (operational since 2006), a tyre recycling facility and a waste oil recycling facility. In terms of disposal, the municipality operates 5 different landfills, 3 of which are used for municipal solid waste, one is dedicated for construction and demolition waste while hazardous waste is treated and disposed at the Jebel Ali hazardous waste treatment facility. The biggest landfill in Dubai is located in Al Qusais which is also a landfill gas flaring facility capable of producing12 MW of electricity. Further to this, Dubai recently introduced waste disposal charges in 2018 applicable to commercial organizations, factories, private and public institutions as well as residential communities belonging to developers that are not served by Dubai Municipality.

Waste management in Sharjah is run by a municipal waste management company called Bee’ah, established in 2007 as a private public partnership. Bee’ah has been very ambitious in setting up high diversion targets from landfills since its inception, with recently declaring a target of zero waste by 2021. Bee’ah collects over3 million tonnes of waste annually, 76% of which is diverted from landfills. Bee’ah operates a waste management complex which houses a number of recycling facilities catering for paper, plastic, tyres, rubber, metal, C&D waste and industrial liquid waste. It also operates a materials recovery facility sorting and separating recyclables from municipal solid waste through mechanical and manual processes. Sharjah’s waste to energy plant is currently under construction, aiming to generate close to 30 MW of energy fed directly into the Sharjah electricity grid by burning up to 37.5 tonnes of rubbish every hour and should be operational by 2021. Bee’ah also operates Al Saj’ah landfill, which is the only fully engineered landfill in the region.

With ambitious federal targets to enhance the overall infrastructure in the UAE, and comprehensive solidwaste management schemes on an Emirate level, the future of waste management in the UAE lookspromising despite projected increasing populations.

As presented in this article, while the different waste disposal methods contribute to GHG emissions, landfilling of waste is considered the major contributor to the emissions of the waste management sector, and this was no exception to the UAE. There is a significant potential for improvement in the waste management sector in the UAE, with a high percentage of the generated waste being dumped in landfills, any initiative, policy reform and on ground projects to divert waste from landfills can have a considerable effect on the GHG emissions of this sector. While agendas and policies are set towards this target, setting concrete action plans and ensuring its implementation is equally important and essential for achieving such progressive objectives.

Nivine Issa

Partner and Global Environmental Director, Dubai

Nivine is AESG’s Partner and Global Director of Environment. Nivine joined AESG in 2014 and has a combined sustainability and environmental sciences background with experience working on a wide range of projects across the region.

Nivine’s expertise lies in environmental impact assessment and waste management design studies and she currently manages a multidisciplinary team of ecologists, environmental engineers, certified environmental auditors, GIS planners and environmental modelling experts. Nivine has also worked on a number of strategic consulting and government advisory projects through her work with the United Nations Development Program.

Nivine is also a published author in scholarly journals on topics relating to climate change, oil spills, sustainability and flood risk assessments.


AEA Technology. (2001). Waste Management Options and Climate Change. Luxembourg: European Commission.

Christensen, T. E. (2009). C balance, carbon dioxide emissions and global warming potentials in LCA modelling of waste. Waste Management and Research.

Frost & Sullivan, M. R. (2016, August 10th ). Frost & Sullivan. Retrieved from

IPCC. (2001). Good Practice Guidance and Uncertainty Management in National Greenhouse Gas Inventories. IPCC.

IPCC. (2014). Fifth Assessment report. IPCC.

Jean Bogner, R. P. (2008). Mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions from waste: conclusions andstrategies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth AssessmentReport. Working Group III (Mitigation). SAGE Journals.

Lattemann S., Höpner T. (2008). Environmental impact and impact assessment of seawater desalination. Elsevier Desalination 220 (2008) , 1-15.

Manfredi, S. D. (2009). Landfilling of waste: Accounting of greenhouse gases and global warmingcontributions. ResearchGate.

Richard J. Millar, J. S. (2017). Emission budgets and pathways consistent with limiting warming to 1.5 °C. Nature.

Statistics Center. (2016). Waste Statistics. Abu Dhabi: Statistics Center.

World Bank . (2018, September). World Bank Group. Retrieved from World Bank Group: