Irbid Municipality in Jordan, presented by Mayor Nabil Kofahi and the Solid Waste Management staff, extended a warm welcome to Mayor Mohammad Khalil and Dr Fatima from Akkar al Atika Municipality in Lebanon. The purpose of the visit was to facilitate knowledge exchange and foster collaboration in the solid waste management field as part of Med4Waste Mentoring scheme activities, which aims to promote effective waste management practices by forging partnerships among Mediterranean cities.

The visit kicked off with a productive meeting at Irbid Municipality, MedCities member, during which Dr Fatima provided an insightful overview of Akkar Municipality’s current status regarding solid waste management, including international support projects. Following this, Engineer Reham Al-Jammal, from Irbid Municipality staff, presented an in-depth analysis of the municipality’s solid waste management infrastructure and its ongoing efforts in the Med-InA project. The Med-InA project focused on enhancing waste management systems and promoting environmental sustainability in the region.

A significant highlight of the visit was a high-level meeting between Mayor Mohammad Khalil of Akkar and Mayor Nabil Kofahi of Irbid. The mayors engaged in fruitful discussions regarding the challenges faced by Akkar in delivering services with limited governmental funds and Irbid’s strategies for adapting to lower-than-cost-recovery waste fees. The conversation also revolved around the waste fee collection systems implemented by both municipalities. Irbid’s fee is collected through the electricity bill and professional licenses, while Akkar currently relies on voluntary payments by residents to bridge the substantial gap between government funding and the cost of waste management.

Throughout the two-day study tour, the visiting group participated in a series of site visits and interactive discussions. One of the key areas of interest for Akkar Municipality was learning from Irbid’s experience in Sorting at Source Initiatives. The team had the opportunity to visit Bokharia Souq, a commercial market where packaging waste is efficiently sorted and collected by dedicated workers. Additionally, the wholesale vegetable market showcased how organic materials are sourced for the compost facility.

Akkar Municipality also expressed a keen interest in Irbid’s waste facilities. The tour included visits to Togbol Transfer Station and Truck City Transfer Station, both operated by Irbid Municipality. The delegation was impressed by the Compost and Sorting Station operated through a cash-for-work modality. The station currently handles a satisfactory daily input quantity. The final stop of the visit was the Akaider landfill, which receives approximately 1400 tons of waste daily. The visit was an opportunity for Akkar to share their experience with a private contractor operating the permitted landfill, which holds a monopoly on its operation. In contrast, Irbid Municipality’s landfill operated by the Irbid Joint Service Council, a class B municipality that accepts waste from most of the municipalities in north of Jordan.

Despite the differences in size and population, Akkar Municipality, represented by its mayor, discovered several transferable methods and success stories. They were particularly intrigued by the presence of sorting workers in the market and the practice of linking waste fees to the electrical utility bill instead of housing fees, which are not paid monthly, unlike the electricity bill. Both municipalities expressed a shared commitment to fostering ongoing collaboration between Irbid and Akkar.

The Med4Waste mentoring scheme aims to assist six Mediterranean cities in developing sustainable and efficient waste management systems that serve the environment and their communities. This mentoring scheme, led by MedCities, is implemented in Lebanon, Jordan, and Tunisia. Additionally, the scheme aims to establish twinning partnerships between each city and a local authority already involved in one of the capitalised projects by Med4Waste, such as the Med-InA project, which is funded by the ENI CBC Med programme. Purpose of the visit was to facilitate knowledge exchange and foster collaboration in the field of solid waste management, as part of Med4Waste Mentoring scheme activities. This initiative aimed to promote effective waste management practices by forging partnerships among Mediterranean cities.

The visit concluded successfully, with Irbid and Akkar municipalities gaining valuable insights and establishing a strong foundation for future cooperation in the field of solid waste management. Through initiatives like these, Mediterranean cities are poised to create sustainable and efficient waste management systems that will benefit the environment and the communities they serve.

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