The Middle East’s first solar-powered boats set sail in Sharjah last month, each able to extract up 500 pounds of floating debris from the city’s lagoons. This new fleet joins the existing “green machines” used by Bee’ah, a leading Middle East waste management company.
This is a fantastic development that could be copied by other dirty waterfronts – but when will we weary of constant cleanup and instead nip plastic pollution at its source?
The boats are currently floating along the Corniche of Sharjah’s Al Khaled Lagoon where they are closely monitored by Tandeef, the waste collection and city beautification division of Bee’ah.
Bee’ah, in public/private partnership with the emirate, is steadily investing in waste infrastructure projects that enable Sharjah to benefit from its “waste resources”, converting trash to cash which is channeled into increasingly ambitious recycling programs. They employ pioneering “zero emission” mobile equipment such as waste compacters, automated sweepers and street vacuums.
“Our fleet of electric-powered vehicles has proven to be highly cost effective and easy-to-maintain,” Khaled Al Huraimel, Bee’ah’s Group CEO, told Design MENA. “At Tandeef, we strive to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions stemming from our company’s equipment and vehicles.”
In 2012, Tandeef inaugurated the emirate’s first residential recycling program and this year began recycling cars. Bee’ah aims to transform Sharjah into the “Environmental Capital of the Middle East” and make it the first Arab city ever to divert 100% of its waste from landfills.
Great stuff, but how about banning plastic bags and finding an eco-alternative to plastic bottles? The best way to divert trash from landfills is to not generate it in the first place.
Image of trash in a Sharjah waterway from Shutterstock