Forget the overflowing waste containers where you dump domestic waste every day even as flies swarm, cats feast, and dogs roam around it... Bury the memories of walking past dumpsters holding your nose tightly to escape the unpleasant odour… Muscat Municipality will soon install state-of-the-art underground waste bins with an aim to give the city a clean look.
Overground waste bins will become a thing of the past with the introduction of new units, which consist of a receiver drum and container. Refuse has to be deposited in the receiver unit at the street level. It goes straight into container encased in metal frame and sunk inside a concrete sleeve. The garbage collection cars will empty the containers everyday using hydraulic lifts.
The civic body officials have decided to pilot the project in Muttrah Business District (MBD) and Central Banking District (CBD), two busy localities in the capital region, in June this year before extending it to other areas. The company, which won the tender, has already conducted a field survey. The installation will begin after obtaining permission for re-laying utility cables (electricity, water and telecom).
"MBD and CBD will look cleaner with the introduction of underground waste collection bins," says Ahmed Noori Al Raisi, Deputy Director of Environmental Health, Directorate of Health Affairs, Muscat Municipality.
"The two locations have plenty of business establishments, restaurants and supermarkets. Those are the most happening places in the capital. The locations are ideal to launch the grand project."
Cities in many developed countries have switched to the underground system, considered to be the most-efficient waste management method. "It is successfully implemented in many cities around the world. I am sure that it will work well in Muscat too," Ahmed sounds optimistic.
The new system, according to health officials, works in perfect harmony with the environment. Waste spillage never happens as the refuse goes directly into the underground container. As a result, stench does not emanate even if the organic waste begins to decompose. Unlike the overground containers, the clean receiver unit will not act as a breeding ground for pests.
Another major advantage is that children, adults and even people with physical disabilities can easily run the units. "It is easy to operate the dumping bins. Users have to open the drum and put refuse directly into the properly covered, elevated receiver drums. They should not worry about the capacity as each unit consists of four containers," says an official of the company, which executes the project for the municipality.
The first phase focuses on replacing all the overground bins with the new bins, while the second phase look into the recycling aspect. "We will go into the crucial second phase after installing the units all over Muscat. The quantity of recyclable waste will definitely increase in the second phase," he adds.
Meanwhile, the municipality has intensified its drive to do away with waste bins from public places. Officials claim that the campaign, which began in Azaiba and Mawaleh in December 2012, has gained further momentum with the active participation of residents. "The project to get rid of public waste bins began in Azaiba and Mawaleh in December 2012 by distributing trash bins in 500 households. They have been asked to keep the 120-litre properly-covered, green bins inside their homes, and take it out of their homes before 5 a.m. everyday. The plan worked well, and by the end of 2013 the number of houses covered rose to 3,000. We aim to add 2,500 more homes by the end of 2014," informs Ahmed Al Raisi.
The residents' enthusiasm to co-operate with the initiative was evident from the beginning. "Our neighbourhood looks clean and tidy by 6 am, as the municipality trucks collect the waste from our premises early in the morning," a Mawaleh resident told Hi Weekly.
Officials organise extensive awareness progr