Jeremy Byatt, Vice President of Bee’ah, was the keynote speaker of the occasion
On the 26th April 2010, EEG hosted its 4th community lecture for 2011 at the Emarat Atrium, Dubai at 7.30pm. As always, the event was free and open for anybody to attend providing the community with an interesting and stimulating evening. The keynote speaker for the occasion was the highly esteemed Vice President of Bee’ah, Mr. Jeremy Byatt, who leads the development of Bee’ah’s Advisory Services and overseas the development of Bee’ah’s research activities.
The Community Lecture series hosted by Emirates Environmental Group aims to increase awareness amongst the community on current and relevant topics related to the environment. This latest event was titled "Waste Management in the UAE – Case Study of Bee’ah", which provided attendees an eye-opening insight into the extent and issues of waste management in the UAE and in particular, in Sharjah.
Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson of EEG opened the lecture by offering a warm welcoming note to all the familiar and new faces that had attended. She mentioned some of EEG’s highlights from the past month, which included the ever-popular Inter-School Public Speaking Competition, where exceptional and passionate students showcased their thoughts on specially selected environmental topics. Before handing over to Mr. Jeremy Byatt, Mrs. Al Marashi aptly spoke about EEG’s upcoming Can Collection Drive. The drive is a colossal community event aimed to encourage everybody to contribute towards sustainable waste management through recycling aluminium cans and bringing them to certain ‘stations’ dotted around the UAE.
Mrs. Al Marashi continued to stress the importance of recycling and explained how the large majority of material entering landfills could actually be recycled. Waste management is a growing problem, especially as population levels increase as they have done by 600% in Sharjah since 1980. Relying on landfills is not a sustainable solution and efforts to minimise the amounts of waste produced need to be maximised. After this fitting reminder of the importance of recycling, the evening was handed over to the keynote speaker, Mr. Jeremy Byatt.
Mr. Byatt holds an MA in International Affairs, specialising in environmental economics from Carleton University in Canada in addition to many other relevant qualifications. His experience and expertise offered EEG members and attendees of the community lecture a rare opportunity to hear an expert’s opinion of the waste industry in the UAE.
Bee’ah, the Sharjah Environment Company, was introduced followed by Mr. Byatt speaking about how today’s economy follows the linear approach (or cradle to grave option) where materials are sourced from the planet, utilised and discarded. The need for change has never been so pressing, and it was mentioned how we need to shift away from the wasteful and out of date linear model.
Mr. Byatt’s captivating presentation continued with a selection of shocking and thought provoking photos of the landfill at Sharjah many years ago. It was stressed how creating waste is not only inefficient but also causes significant health issues for humans and a suit of environmental issues for nature.
A deeper insight into Bee’ahs operations, aims and objectives was shared with the audience and challenges associated with managing such a company were discussed. Mr. Byatt proudly spoke about how Bee’ah owns and manages the world’s 3rd largest material recovery facility and how this is contributing to sustainable waste management in the UAE by breaking the old linear economic model. The recovery plant separates and repackages materials so that they can be fed back into the ‘resource loop’ and used again, a sustainable concept commonly termed "cradle to cradle".
Attendees from all paths of life left with inspired minds and a little bit more educated about what happens to their waste after it leaves their homes. The pressing need for recycling and waste reduction was clearly emphasised and participants appeared eager to contribute to the solutions.
The evening ended with Mrs. Al Marashi thanking Mr. Byatt for coming to participate in EEG’s Community Lecture programme and awarded him a crystal of appreciation. She also thanked the Emarat Atrium for providing the venue and Abela for their delicious catering services.