Last Sunday, representatives from US investment firm 3i Energy met with the Egyptian Minister of Environment.
Subject of their discussions were a possible waste-to-biodiesel project to be implemented in the governorate of Fayoum.
The talks touched on the objectives behind the collaboration as well as on specifics regarding the technology employed to convert waste into biofuel, hydrogen and paraffin, products which are of use in various industries.
Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad confirmed that the project underscores a new municipal waste management strategy initiated by her and signed off on by the Al-Sisi government in 2020.
With a view to improving the recycling of industrial waste, the new law prohibits the burning of waste in open air as well as its dumping in rivers. It also stipulates that actors engaging in non-hazardous waste management activities need to acquire a license prior to operating or be subject to financial penalties or prison sentences upon violation. The law also provides for the closure of illegal landfills throughout the country within 2 years.
Till 2016, the legal situation with regards to solid waste management in Egypt was unclear as there was no specific national law addressing waste collection and treatment, the legal framework on the subject having been cobbled together from various sections of legislation. This aggravated existing inefficiency in waste management, contributing to the dumping without recovery of 80% of generated municipal solid waste in Egypt in 2016.
According to Fouad, the new municipal waste strategy consists of three stages.
The first will see the establishment of landfills, intermediate stations and appropriate recycling mechanisms.
The second stage concerns the operation of these sites, detailing the preparation of operating contracts for collection operations, transportation, street cleaning, landfills and intermediate stations.
The third stage focuses on efforts on an institutional level, ranging from the introduction of regulatory laws to raising societal awareness around solid waste management through the involvement of private sector and civil society elements.
3i Energy’s project is set to raise levels of cleanliness in Fayoum as well as create green financing measures that will benefit local communities.