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Waste Trade Run by Unknown People in Bahrain

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Bahrain loses one and a half million dinars daily due to the lack of a mechanism for recycling domestic, consumer waste and other types of waste, at a rate of at least 560 million dinars per year. All of this money goes into the accounts of companies that carry out clandestine recycling. These are not mere words, but an official statement made by the head of the municipal council in the southern governorate, Badr Al-Tamimi, in 2020 to Al-Bilad newspaper.

For years, the proposal made by municipal councils to establish a state company to recycle and benefit from waste has been stalled. The reason is that this proposal would shift a hidden trade that generates millions from private pockets into the state's pockets.

Even today, waste in Bahrain remains uncontrolled. On July 9, 2016, the former Minister of Works said at the time that the new Spanish cleaning company had removed during the first eight days of its work about 8,000 tons of garbage, equivalent to one thousand tons per day, according to statistics mentioned in the statement of the Northern Municipal Council.

The head of the Supreme Council for Environment, Mohammed bin Mubarak bin Daina, said in a previous statistic in 2019 that the volume of household waste in Bahrain amounts to about 5,500 tons per day.

It is to note that the cost of one ton is approximately 365 dinars, and thus in one day Bahrain wastes about one and a half million dinars from recycling waste, i.e. approximately 560 million dinars per year.

Of course, it should be noted that wastes have benefits and a large global market, as waste is now used to produce energy and in recycling, while the projects in Bahrain are weak and not commensurate with this trade that can be benefited from. This government negligence has only one justification: leaving a large part of the waste to be used by senior officials.

Waste in Bahrain is divided into four main sections; plastic of all kinds represents 53%, followed by paper waste in second place with 30%, then fabrics and organic materials at 20%, followed by cork at 15%.

80% of the total waste produced in Bahrain can be recycled daily, but investment in this field is almost non-existent, nonetheless, there are companies that come without licenses, do not pay fees, and nothing is known about them. They collect garbage, place containers for sorting garbage, re-export them, and recycle them abroad for an amount of money which Bahrain doesn't benefit from.

A few years ago, Bahrain agreed with the "Kneem" French company to establish a waste recycling plant, but the government canceled the project, prompting the French company to file a complaint against the government of Bahrain at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, demanding that the government pays 180 million euros as compensation, however, the French company lost the lawsuit.

Citizens can simply observe migrant workers collecting everything daily in cities, villages and residential areas; groups that collect glass from garbage containers, groups that collect cartons, and others that collect wood, iron and aluminum, while others specialize in collecting electronic devices or their residues, so where do all these materials go? For whom are they collecting these wastes? For whom are they sold? Perhaps that dump at Buri holds a clear answer.

A video posted by a Bahraini citizen on social media revealed the existence of a random and unsafe garbage dump in Buri, a residential area, which portends great dangers.

Without even knowing, this citizen gave a hint and highlighted the existence of a huge undeclared trade practiced by expatriate Asian nationals with sheikhs from the ruling family by establishing a trade of "recycling and waste management."

The dump in Buri is run by Asian workers, and the land belongs to the cousins of the King of Bahrain, this land was owned by the uncle of King Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa who died in 2009 and the land went to his heirs. No one in Bahrain can hold them accountable as landlords, noting that one of them, Hashim bin Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa, is married to one of the king's daughters.

This dump reveals the inability and failure of the municipality of the northern region, which is run by Lamia Al-Fadala, and the lack of rule of law, as well as complaints about bribes received by inspectors, whether from the Ministry of Municipalities or the Ministry of Industry and Trade, to pass such serious violations.

Waste in Bahrain is a very huge sector, for instance, demolition and construction waste alone is equivalent to 646,000 tons per year, so one wondees how much do these sheikhs earn and how much do the Asian nationals who work for them earn too?

Arabic Version