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Construction and demolition waste management in Saudi Arabia: Current practice and roadmap for sustainable management

Blaisi, Nawaf I.
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.221 pp. 167-175
climate, construction industry, infrastructure, interviews, inventories, issues and policy, landfills, laws and regulations, population growth, recycled materials, recycling, stakeholders, surveys, wastes, Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's (KSA) population growth has demanded that the country expand its housing and infrastructure inventory inevitably resulting in an accumulation of construction and demolition waste (C&D) that has the potential for the promotion of environmentally sound waste management practices. Prior to implementing best practices in the region, there is an impending need to first understand C&D generation in the KSA. This study investigated the current challenges for managing C&D debris in the Eastern Province region in Saudi Arabia. Likewise, it provided a roadmap and solution to manage C&D debris in relation to existing legislations and generation of C&D debris. A review of existing regulations governing C&D was conducted through the use of interviews held with relevant governmental and technical officials, over 200 surveys were administered to academic, governmental and industrial stakeholders. Data was collected from a landfill to help quantify the amount of C&D flowing through the Kingdom's Eastern Province and construction sites were observed to better understand how waste generators were disposing of C&D. Based on assessment of C&D waste generation, regulation and management policies, major issues were revealed that included: (i) lack of institution collaboration (academic, governmental and private sectors), (ii) immature strategic policies for effective C&D management and recycling, (iii) limited coordination among C&D regulators and generators, (iv) lack of motives, awareness and incentives to manage C&D, (v) lacking enforceable law for debris generators (vi) improper infrastructure for disposal of landfills and absence of treatment facilities and (vii) no suitable plan of sustainable management of landfills. C&D management can be effectively grouped by considering three major factors, mainly: (i) economic, (ii) regulatory, and (iii) technical factors. The key points include “promoting C&D waste recycling”, “encouraging adoption of recycled materials to construction industry”, “enforcing regulations to prohibit illegal dumping”, and “landfill disposal and recycling fees for debris generators”. Several other factors are also proposed and discussed within the framework of this research. Finally, potential avenues by which environmentally sound construction and demolition waste management practices can be imported for use within Saudi Arabia's unique geographical and cultural climate were introduced as a roadmap containing alternative solutions for C&D management.