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Cairo, July 1, 2008- The World Bank signed its first greenhouse gas emission reductions purchase agreement in Egypt for a municipal solid waste composting project. The Cairo Southern Zone Composting Project will avoid the generation of greenhouse gases caused by landfill, such as methane, which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Under the agreement, project developer Egyptian Company for Solid Waste Utilization (ECARU) will sell 325,480 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emission reductions to the Carbon Fund for Europe, which is managed by the World Bank.
ECARU, which is involved in a number of similar composting projects in Egypt, Libya and Malaysia, manages a composting and sorting facility on the outskirts of Cairo. The facility will feature waste sorting for recovery of recyclables and aerobic composting of organic waste, reducing the amount of methane and other greenhouses gases caused by landfill. The facility is expected to receive about 1100 tons of daily municipal waste, which would otherwise go to a landfill.
"The ECARU project is the first large-scale composting project that will use municipal solid waste in which the Bank has entered into an emission reductions purchase agreement and is a prototype of what could be done in other countries,” said Lasse Ringius, Senior Environmental Specialist and Operations Team Leader for CDM Operations in the World Bank’s carbon finance operations. "There are about 280 cities in developing countries with a population of one million or more. The residents of these and other large cities discard significant quantities of waste with a high percentage of organics that can be composted. Organic wastes will emit methane if discarded in a landfill. The potential for composting projects like this one in Cairo is enormous."
The project is expected to start in late 2008. Generated compost for sale to agricultural and horticultural buyers will follow within 90 days of the start of operations.
"As an organic waste recycling project, the Cairo Southern Zone Composting Project will provide societal, economical and environmental benefits and result in a positive impact on global climate,” said Dr. Hisham Sherif, President of ECARU. "With its approval in Egypt and with the emission reductions purchase agreement signed, the project is now on its way to being registered as a Clean Development Mechanism project."
Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) industrialized countries can purchase greenhouse gas emission reductions from developing countries to help meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.
Landfill gas is the fourth largest contributor to non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions. Composting of organic waste rather than disposal in a landfill can make an important contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding methane generation.