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Abu Dhabi has told local companies they would have to pay tax for waste disposal services within a plan to be enforced very soon with the aim of easing the financial burden on the government and cutting waste dumping.

The plan, dubbed Nadhafa (cleanliness), launched recently will involve a fee of US$61 per tonne of waste produced by public and private establishments operating in the oil-rich emirate.

"The plan is the first of its kind to be enforced in Abu Dhabi," said Hamad Al-amiri, director of the Waste Disposal Centre at the Municipality.

"It is designed to cut the quantity of waste produced in the emirate, ease the financial burden of waste disposal and ensure safe treatment and disposal of waste to avert any damage to the environment," he told reporters.

His figures showed waste disposal costs government coffers in excess of US$408mn a year at a rate of US$136 per tonne. He said the Abu Dhabi executive council (cabinet) had approved a fee of US$61 per each tonne or around 45 per cent of the actual costs.

"The fees will be calculated according to the waste production by each establishment depending on its size and activity...around 4,500 establishments with different activities and sizes have been classified," he said.

He said fees would affect all public and private institutions covering trade, industry, farming, construction and other activities in Abu Dhabi, Al-Ain and the remaining parts of the emirate with a population of nearly 1.8 million.

"The plan has set a maximum fee of US$13,623 and a minimum US$61 per year," he said, adding that an estimated four million tonnes of waste is produced in Abu Dhabi emirate every year, an average of 13,000 tonnes a day."

"This means per capita waste production is around 1.8 kg a day, which is very high compared with the global output rate."