Amman – Today, key allies, representatives from the Government of Jordan, donor agencies, international and local non-governmental organizations, as well as civil society groups gathered for the release of an unprecedented, country-wide report on public perceptions and behaviors regarding solid waste management, commissioned by Oxfam and produced by IPSOS research. “Country Wide Recycling in Jordan” sheds new light on perceptions about litter, waste, and recycling in Jordan and paves the way for meaningful initiatives moving forward toward a more sustainable solid waste future in the country. Solid waste is any unwanted waste or litter that is discarded or thrown away.
“It’s critical to ensure we raise awareness about environmental sustainability with local communities,” said Eng. Omar Arabiyat, Director of Environmental Studies and Awareness in the Greater Amman Municipality. “Environmental sustainability, ensuring we’re reducing our environmental footprints, reusing and recycling as much as we can help ensure we do our part in ensuring sustainable development and ensures we’re doing our part for the current as well as future generations.”
The report underscores that the lack of environmental consciousness in Jordan is due primarily to the public’s preoccupation with the challenging socio-economic conditions. With most people focused on making ends meet, prioritizing environmental sustainability falls far behind. The very few who do re-use or recycle appear to do so largely for economic reasons rather than environmental ones. Additionally, where minimal levels of environmental awareness and drive did exist, report findings reveal that efforts are quickly dampened by the lack of information, resources, infrastructure, and services in Jordan’s solid waste sector.
“Our quarterly Jordanian Consumer Sentiment Index study continuously shows that people are overwhelmed by the financial pressures they face, pushing environmental issues lower on their list of concerns,” said Saif Nimry, General Manager, Ipsos Jordan & Iraq. “Environmental initiatives show economical promise through creating jobs and decreasing reliance on importing raw materials. That said, one of the key challenges lies in improving environmental awareness and clearing the wide misconception between reuse and recycling in the country.”
The report is just one of a series of initiatives Oxfam in Jordan is embarking on as part of a larger Beitak Beitak campaign reminding people that their environment is their home. The initiatives aim to increase levels of environmental literacy across the country, raise awareness with a specific target on young people, and begin expanding on successful pilot projects that address some of the socio-economic challenges by creating dignified jobs in the sector while meeting solid waste demands. Chief among these initiatives is a first-of-its-kind website that helps connect visitors across the country with litter and recycling information as well as local, nearby resources, facilities, and services. Oxfam chose an online platform after report findings indicated over 50 percent of the Jordanian public relies on the internet for general information.
“We are hopeful that the report’s findings, as well as the respective initiatives we’ve launched in conjunction, provide a launchpad from which creative and meaningful solutions amongst dedicated and committed allies and partners can be born,” said Nickie Monga, Oxfam Country Director (Jordan). “As the global climate crisis continues to threaten livelihoods across the world, the report reveals recommendations that, if undertaken, can help turn Jordan into a model of environmental transformation contact in the region. One that raises awareness, creates dignified jobs in the green sector and creates a greener, cleaner Jordan.”
Despite being home to ancient cities, breathtaking sandstone canyons, and spectacular world wonders, Jordan produces over two million tons of solid waste every year – equivalent to approximately 4,000 Boeing 747 planes. Less than ten percent of it is recycled, meaning, the increasing accumulation of waste threatens not only these beautiful landscapes but the country’s communities, public spaces, and the agricultural sector the country relies on. More so, doing so with a sense of urgency while there’s still time is key to stopping this trend.
Oxfam is thankful to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GiZ), who’s generous funding made this initiative possible.