KUWAIT: According to a local Arabic daily, Kuwait will export 100,000 tons of used tyres that are currently stored in different areas including Rehaya and Mina Abdullah to Pakistan. This will be done by a local private company after getting approval from the authorities in charge including the Environment Public Authority and Customs Department. The shipment will leave Kuwait by sea from Mina Abdullah.

This decision to send the used tyres is an alternative solution to get rid of these tyres instead of building a factory for treating and recycling them. There has been much discussion about storing used tyres in large quantities after repeated fires in Rehaya. Tyre recycling can be a profitable industry and an investment if done with modern technology. “Any project should be build on certain pillars to be feasible. To build a recycling factory for treating the used tyres, we will need to have huge quantities of these tyres on a regular basis. Building such a factory is very expensive and has capital and operational costs, and has to operate for a certain period to cover expenses and make profits,” economic analyst Hajaj Bu Khadour told Kuwait Times. “Although the present quantity of used tyres is huge, it was collected over many years and not in a year. So we can’t expect the factory to work only for three or four months a year. In this case, the production cost will be very high. So the quantity should be suitable and adequate to cover this cost.

There should be a regular supply of material to achieve economic feasibility,” he added. “For these reasons, the export of these used tyres is better than building a factory. Although we have a great number of vehicles in Kuwait, our consumption of tyres is not enough to operate a factory. Pakistan is a huge country with a population of over 180 million people, so definitely their consumption and use of tyres will be greater than ours, so exporting used tyres is the best solution to solve the problem of this waste,” he explained. Bu Khadour blamed the Municipality for not taking this role. “As a result of bad administration and corruption, the Municipality left this transaction to a company from the private sector and is also paying for this. They instead could save these expenses for storing food supplies or other projects, and turn the expenses for waste treatment into income for the state budget. As long as this idea exists, the government is able to execute it,” he concluded. Chairman of Green Line Environment Group Khalid Al-Hajiri described the export of used tyres as the wrong solution. “This waste has great economic value if it is recycled correctly.

In general, recycling waste can turn Kuwait into an exporting country for raw material at least if not other products that can be manufactured from the waste. It’s a wrong decision as there are strict international laws for transporting this waste. Also, these importing countries can refuse to import this waste at any time in the future,” he pointed out. According to him, the intended quantity to be exported – 100,000 tons – presents a part only. “The available quantity of used tyres in Kuwait is much bigger than what will be exported, so we need a clear strategy and plan to recycle the waste and produce useful material out of it, as well as preserve the environment,” Hajiri noted, adding bureaucracy in various public authorities is responsible for failing all environment projects. “I blame the Environment Public Authority, Public Authority for Industry, and the Kuwait Municipality for their negligence. In Kuwait we have the most expensive cleaning contracts that reached $1 billion a year if calculated per square meter. Yet the companies executing this do not provide basic services such as separating waste and others. Corruption is behind these problems,” he stated 

By Nawara Fattahova

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