Proper disposal of olive waste needs to be found

2 olive (2) new
(Photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Authorities are working on finding a "sustainable" solution for olive mill wastewater (OMWW), generated in the process of extracting oil from olives.اضافة اعلان

Currently, olive presses get rid of OMWW by using tankers to take it to three dumpsites across Jordan for the lack of treatment facilities.
This year, landfills were loaded beyond their capacity and presses run the risk of having to stop operations, according to Mohammad Shamali, head of the Joint Service Council of Irbid.

Taiseer Najdawi, deputy president of the Jordanian Association of Olive Producers and Owners of Presses, said that olive presses face this issue every year, especially the northern region, which has 70 per cent of the presses in the country.

Najdawi said that the government increased the pond capacity at dumpsites, solving the issue for this year, and called on concerned ministries to take advantage of OMWW, known locally as zeebar, which is produced in large amounts in Jordan and which could be a good investment.

Agriculture, water and irrigation, and environment and municipal affaires ministries, and research centers, will work together to find a solution to this issue, Secretary General of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs Hussein Mheidat said on Sunday.

“All these bodies will look into experience of other countries in dealing with OMWW and decide the kind of treatment suitable for Jordan,” Mheidat told Jordan News.

In other countries, OMWW is used for several purposes, including to produce cosmetics and soaps or recycling it to be used as irrigation water, Mheidat said.

Aref Abu Younis, manager of an olive press, said that trucks take the liquid from presses to landfills under a GPS tracking system to ensure that they do not dispose of it at non-designated places, which would have serious environmental effects.

OMWW contains chemicals that affect the soil and has an undesirable odour, according to Younis.

Jordan is one of the top producers of olives and olive oil globally, producing around 170,000 tonnes of olives and 22,000 tonnes of oil.
According to official numbers, the Kingdom has 22 million olive trees.

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