Protection of the Environment and Biodiversity (PROTEB)

Introduction and Background

Over the past five decades, the population of Jordan has increased significantly as a result of growth and forced migration. This increase has been accompanied by social and economic development that has improved the standard of living and changed consumer habits, leading to a clear escalation in the amount of waste per capita and day. Even though solid waste management has been improving with current collection rates estimated at 90% and 70% in urban and rural areas, the swelling amount of solid waste is one of the pressing environmental problems facing Jordan today. Strategies are needed for a sustainable waste management system, because landfills and dump sides are overfilled and the leachate and runoff are affecting the groundwater and the surface water supplies, leading to environmental and health problems. The quantities of waste increased steadily in the past years and are expected to raise more due to the current situation. With the conflict in Syria, resulting in a massive refugee crisis for Jordan, the challenge became even more intensive. Estimated 80% of Syrian refugees in Jordan settled in towns outside the refugee camps and therefore the pressure for the responsible municipalities to handle the growing waste streams became even more critical. As a result, the majority of the hosting communities mentioned providing adequate services in waste management as their biggest challenge, due to the increased population. 

Recycling has been adopted as an important way of reducing waste and limiting the use of landfills in many countries. It falls within the second highest rank in the hierarchy of integrated waste management. The hierarchy starts with prevention at the top followed by reuse and recycling, treatment, and finally disposal. In Jordan, only a draft policy on municipal waste, that is regulating the objectives of minimizing, reusing, and recycling municipal waste had been developed by the Ministry of Environment. Despite the lack of a supporting legal and institutional framework, there have been some achievements in the sector. Several projects and initiatives have been established during the last few years, but most of these projects concentrate on Greater Amman Municipality and don’t reach out to the rest of the country. Therefore recycling, both formal and informal, is still very limited in Jordan. Still, most of the recycling activities in Jordan are undertaken by the informal sector or by private contractors sorting out recyclables at the end of the waste stream in landfills.

Even though there is widespread public awareness and concern about environmental protection and littering, at the same time there is a lack of knowledge about waste collection and recycling within the society. Even more the gap of regulations and appropriate locations or equipment for recycling leads to the fact that the general public is not highly motivated to participate in recycling programs.


Karak governorate is located 100 Km southwest of the capital Amman. It covers 3494.7 Km2, representing about 3.9 % of the total area of Jordan. The population of Karak governorate is estimated at around 250,000, while the population of the city of Al Karak is about 20,000 (64,850 in the Capital Department). Karak has 6 main districts and 3 counties. According to the Department of Statistics Poverty and income report (2010), the poverty level in Karak governorate is 17.1%, which is substantially higher than the national poverty threshold. Additionally, the negative impact of the Syrian crisis has worsened the weaknesses of the poor, increased the pressure on public finances, and therefore weakened the availability of municipal services. A recent assessment reveals that solid waste management issues rank first among the most affected municipalities.

Besides the overwhelming situation, the decision to start in Karak with the implementation of the recycling station is attributable to the fact that DVV International has good associations and experiences in cooperation with local community organizations on the ground. That point is essential for the achievement of the project as it will only succeed with a strong outreach to the local communities. In addition, the JOHUD Community Centre in Karak is already a partner organization of the PROTEB Program, and other GIZ Programs in the waste sector are planned for the future together with the municipality of Karak. These relations result in synergies that might be helpful for the success and sustainability of our assignment. The project area will cover selected districts of the city, which will be defined in an assessment together with the local partners.

Project Goal, Results, and work plan

The specific project goal

One new recycling station is implemented and functional; resulting in behavioral change in regards to environmental protection in addition to new income generation possibilities which will offer alternatives and benefits for the population in Karak.

The results

1. Cooperation with the municipality, civil society organizations, and governmental bodies;

To implement the project successfully and to make it sustainable a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by all partners at the beginning of the project. The content of the MoU was discussed and agreed upon during a stakeholder workshop where all partners agree on their roles, responsibilities, and resource contribution during the time of the project. Also, general procedures during the project were defined, e.g. regular team meetings, knowledge-management structures, reporting / information mechanisms, and monitoring of the project's progress. By defining all roles, responsibilities, and contributions the MoU will, apart from its legal necessity, strengthen the commitment of the partners and their ownership of the project. It also included regulations for the use and maintenance of the recycling station.

In addition, the project partners formed a coordination team that will be responsible for the decision-making and steering of the project during its implementation.

2. A recycling station, including respective marketing concepts is established;

To achieve this result the project steering committee identified a suitable location for the construction of the Recycling Center. In addition, a pilot area was selected where intensified awareness-raising campaigns and pieces of training have been made, a focus on an area that includes individual households as well as private businesses (e.g. shops and restaurants) and public institutions. This contributed to the full degree of capacity utilization of the Recycling station due to the amount of garbage produced in the pilot area. However, the Recycling Station became usable for everyone, and also recyclable waste from other areas in Karak will be sorted.

After defining the above-mentioned points the necessary equipment was purchased for the construction of the Recycling Center and the process of staff recruitment and training started. To guarantee proper implementation, set up, and training of the recycling station and its operating staff the project was supported by expert consultants in the field.

3. The local community participates in recycling waste reduction activities;

The most important part of the successful implementation of the project was the active participation of the local target community. Without their commitment, the recycling project cannot be successfully implemented. Achieving participation in the local community happened by involving them in the project from the beginning through workshops, training, and awareness campaigns in regard to recycling. In addition to information about the project and recycling and waste management in general, participants had been presented with an alternative for a collection system that gave incentives and met their expectations in order to participate. Also, local businesses, informal waste collectors, and public institutions in the pilot area had been approached through awareness campaigns, training, and the identification of needs and requirements in order to reach participation. 

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