Sharjah, UAE is closing and redeveloping its major landfill as it nears zero-waste goal

Sharjah is the third largest and third most populous city in the United Arab Emirates, forming part of the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. It is located along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula, and is the capital of the Emirate of Sharjah.

Each person in the UAE generates around 2.5 kilograms of waste per day: over 900kg per year. This is 400kg more than the annual waste generated by the citizens of France or Italy. As a result, the city of Sharjah plans to reach a “zero waste to landfill” goal by 2020. This means that their primary landfill, in the Al Saj’ah district, will soon be rendered obsolete. What to do with that vast property?

Now, London-based architects Foster + Partners is set to redevelop Sharjah’s principal landfill site for Bee’ah, the Middle East’s leading environmental energy and waste management company.

The site is situated on a plot adjacent to Bee’ah’s headquarters, and will be transformed to reflect the company’s vision of a world where clean energy is generated sustainably and utilized both sparingly and efficiently by employing innovative technology.

Giles Robinson, Senior Partner at Foster + Partners explained how the tie-up with Bee’ah was something of a meeting of minds: “It is with a sense of excitement and anticipation that we are entering into a partnership agreement with Bee’ah as we have been deeply impressed by their vision to go far beyond what might be considered the standard transformation of a landfill site. We believe that this vision, as interpreted though our masterplan, represents a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate just what can be achieved at sites like this which feature in every industrialised nation on the planet. The project will also serve to further showcase Bee’ah’s waste management centre as a place where innovation, environmental best practice and good design take centre stage.”

The reuse of the site is an illustration of how Bee’ah has adopted and is implementing the model of a circular economy. Through this model Sharjah’s resources are retained by the community via waste diversion, reclamation, and recycling, creating both jobs and materials from which society directly benefits.

The landfill in Al Saj’ah.
Image courtesy of Bee’ah.

His Excellency Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of Bee’ah highlighted the significance of the project. “The masterplan which will be developed by Foster + Partners will come to fruition as a direct result of Sharjah vigorously pursuing its target of becoming the first city in the Middle East to send zero waste to landfill. We are proud of the part we are playing in the creation of a sustainable and circular economy in Sharjah that has resource efficiency and environmental responsibility at its heart.

Through strategic partnerships with some of the world’s most innovative, creative and forward-thinking companies such as Foster + Partners we are confident that we can apply this approach elsewhere, bringing sustainable development in new markets and promoting a circular economy in communities that are ready and willing to commit to resource recovery. In this way, we will play a substantial role, regionally and globally, in accelerating the pace of change as we move towards a more sustainable future,” he continued.

Bee’ah was established in 2007 to tackle the region’s environmental challenges in accordance with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, around sustainable development.

In the intervening ten years, the company has grown rapidly to establish itself as a leader in regional environmental management.

Photo of Al Saja’ah landfill via Gulf News.

See Bee’ah website.

See Foster + Partners website.

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