Solid waste management in Saudi Arabia: A review

Muzammil Anjum, Rashid Miandad, Muhammad Waqas, Ijaz Ahmad Tarar, Ziad Alafif, Asad Siraj Aburiazaiza, Mohamed Abou Barakat, Tasneem Akhtar

Abstract


The problem of municipal solid waste management (MSW) is substantial in Saudi Arabia. MSW contains two major components i.e. organic waste and plastics. The organic waste is generated due to extensive utilization of food stuff while the massive use of disposables is the main source of plastic waste specially during the visits of thousand pilgrims every year. In the current scenario, the solid waste is managed by conventional waste dumping process which are causing significant impacts on environmental such as GHG emission, leachate production and soil contamination etc. The problems associated with uncontrolled dumping can be avoided by shifting towards waste to energy approach, as it can provide both environmental as well as economical sustainability.  The present review is focused on the current status of waste disposal system in KSA with respect to their environmental effects. This case study is based on our personal survey to Makkah waste dumping site.  Based on the overall current situation and types of solid waste production in KSA, the waste treatment methods such as anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis have been suggested. The anaerobic digestion could be used for treatment of organic fraction of municipal solid waste where the methane produced during the process can be used as fuel, either after up-gradation or converted to the liquid fuels.  On the other hand pyrolysis is highly suitable for treatment of plastic waste because these are non-biodegradable and pyrolysis of plastics can result in production of variety of value added products such as fuel oil, char and gases. Keeping in view these aspects of anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis, there is high feasibility to use these technologies in KSA making the waste management practices highly effective and eco-friendly. 


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