For the past two weeks, UTA has been the center of a potential global innovation for safer and more efficient waste management.
Civil engineering professor Sahadat Hossain created the Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability in 2015. The institute coordinates efforts to reform waste management systems both locally and around the globe.
Hossain’s interest in forming a group to tackle waste disposal issues head-on started with his work with the City of Denton and the International Solid Waste Association during the past decade.
Hossain’s waste management system is based off of bioreactor landfills, which differ from traditional landfills. In traditional landfills, the majority of waste is kept dry, while in bioreactor landfills, water is used on the waste, which makes all the trash decompose at a quicker rate.
“If we bring people from different countries, they come here, get the training, they go back and try to implement it in their countries,” Hossain said.
This year started off for Hossain with the Third Annual International Solid Waste Association-Solid Waste Institute for Sustainability Winter School, where waste management professionals from 23 different countries have come to Arlington to network and learn from Hossain and his research. During the past three years, representatives from 60 countries have participated.
Adi Lifshitz, the landfill coordinator for the Ministry of Environmental Protection of Israel, said she was excited to learn how to deal with the difficulties that come with waste management from a new perspective.
“There’s a really nice group of people here, both to learn together from all around the world and the teachers they’re bringing to lecture,” she said. “They really want to help, you can hear it.”
Saif Al Masroori, the head of the Internal Audit Department of Oman Be’ah, an Oman-based waste management company, was interested in how different areas deal with waste management issues.
“It differs from place to place. If you compare Oman to Texas, the weather is totally different, the topography and ground are different from there to here,” he said.
Hossain’s advocacy for bioreactor landfills has impacted local communities as well. The City of Denton started planning the construction of one in 2016, but Hossain said the plans have been put on hold.
He said interest in bioreactor landfills has spiked in the past two to three years.
Hossain’s current project is building a bioreactor landfill in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. He is also negotiating with India, Tanzania, Bangladesh and Colombia to implement his systems.